Mums in business

The tone of tween attitude


When our middle girl was 2 she was given her first set of ‘he heels’ (high heels), tiara and clip on earrings from her grandmother.

She clip clopped around everywhere in those he heels, a fashion addiction only rivaled by her long hair which took the form of a jumper, towel or blankie over her head. Whatever gave the effect.

One of the first demonstrations of her strong will was not long after the first he heels turned up (not that I’m blaming the he heels). She didn’t like to sleep much and one night I had enough. I told her to stay up all night and have a big party.

With glee she ran to the loungeroom and grabbed a toybox twice as big as her. I heard her clopping back towards her room (where I was pretending to sleep because that’s what ‘good girls’ do), the weight of the toy box swung her balance down the hallway from one wall to the other crashing the toy box into the rented paintwork as she went. Somehow she managed to criss-cross across the hall in a sideways, slightly going forward logic until she reached the room and happily played until she fell asleep face first in the toybox.

The second memory I have of her utter determination was shown on the day I refused to buy her pink Dora socks with frills on top. She stood in the aisles of Best and Less and held her breath until she went blue and passed out.

I shook as I carried her home, bracing myself for the rest of our lives together.

Nine years on you’d think I would be used to the struggle of wills. But I’m still not used to it.

Anyway, lately she’s discovered she can control the world with her language, or more to the point with the tone of her voice.

The words I used tonight have been bubbling in me for some time now. Words that I’ve heard on many a movie, words that I’ve always thought formed the definition of ‘over the hill and intolerant’. But tonight they slipped out, I said to her:

“don’t use that tone with me”

It worked immediately.

She changed her voice to a saccharine sweet, breathy movie star style gush equipped with appropriate dialogue “how about I speak like this then” “you said I couldn’t speak in that tone anymore”.

Ahh, the girl is sharp.

I’ve given up on bracing myself now, I’m just clinging on as the wild ride rushes me through the pre-teen years grinning when I can, crying if I need and exhuming the ball of frustration that wedges deep in my gut as the need arises.

She still loves her he heels, in fact thanks to regular op shopping the ratio of her shoes to mine is 10:1. The burden of school shoes gets in the way to a large extent but as soon as the school bus drops her back home she kicks them off and returns to her natural habitat sliding the he heels back on.

If this is the making of a strong woman, I’m happy to be one of the guides.

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