By: Shannon Ralph
A couple of months ago, I published an article entitled 20 Reasons My Daughter Isn’t Speaking to Me. Since that time, in true tween fashion, my nine-year-old daughter has continued her embittered vow of silence. Okay, lets’ be honest. The silence part isn’t so bad. It’s a nice break from the eye-popping, ear-splitting, door-slamming, come-outta-nowhere-to-knock-your-tired-mommy-ass-to-the-floor tirade that usually precedes the silence.
As I have alluded to before in other articles, my daughter is quite strong-willed (to say the very least). As you can imagine, a strong-willed daughter and a trying-really-hard-but-failing-epically-on-most-days mom don’t always mix. We occasionally butt heads (perhaps because, like me, my daughter can be a real butthead). As with all parent/child relationships, however, the good far outweighs the bad. I adore my daughter. She is everything I once hoped my future daughter would be. I truly worship the ground that little tyrant walks on. But when trapped in the moment, faced with a little girl oozing venomous hostility, the bad seems nearly insurmountable.
So what is a well-meaning parent to do?
Logic dictates that overt hostility should be met with swift sanctions. But logic really has no place in parenthood, as we all know. Through nine years of trial and error, I have discovered that the best response is often no response at all. In the moment—deep in the throes of warfare—the best way to minimize casualties and avoid future post-traumatic stress disorder treatment is often to simply bite your tongue and walk away.
That is not to say that I can’t vent about it afterwards. (My poor embattled wife plays referee to me and my mini-me more often than she cares to admit, I am sure.) Or later laugh hysterically at my daughter’s complete and total lack of sound and sane reasoning. Or better yet, get my sweet, sweet, revenge by sharing my battle scars with all of you. In this forum. On the internet where everything lives forever and she can read it one day in the heat of battle with her own boundary-testing, venom-spewing, psychoneurotic nine-year-old daughter.
Therefore, in the interest of sweet revenge (and to negate sky-rocketing therapy costs), I present to you 20 (More) Reasons My Daughter Isn’t Speaking to Me:
- She spent the entire day on Super Bowl Sunday excitedly making signs and posters and streamers to decorate our house for the big game. Then, like a barbarian, I had the gall to actually watch the Super Bowl.
- I correctly defined “defected” for her when she was reading an article about a Cuban defector for school. She did not like the sound of the word.
- I spelled the word “straight” for her (again, correctly). It looked weird.
- I asked if she needed help rinsing her hair in the shower (because she always needs help rinsing her hair). Unbeknownst to me, that was the equivalent of calling her an incompetent, amateurish, teet-suckling, diaper-wearing, sissy crybaby. Obviously—and righteously so—she was offended.
- I pointed out—when she said she is “almost a teenager” and should be allowed to stay up until 11pm on a school night—that four years from now does not qualify as “almost” because…math.
- I took piano lessons as a child instead of violin lessons, so was unable to help her play her violin when she didn’t practice for an entire week and forgot everything from her previous week’s lesson. I blame my mother and her complete disregard for my musical education.
- I surprised my daughter with a new pair of sporty leggings that she had been begging me to buy for her. I did not, however, buy the matching shirt that she had not asked for, and that I was unaware existed.
- After she rolled her eyes at me 3,698 times in one day, I—in a moment of profound weakness of character—rolled my eyes at her…once.
- I ordered her two new bathing suits for an upcoming vacation. She wants a reason to wear them now. In February. In Minnesota.
- I attended her first violin recital. And I maliciously told her she did a good job.
- I had the unadulterated arrogance to watch the Grammy Awards show despite my daughter’s protests. Then I did not stay up to watch the entire Grammy’s telecast.
- I casually called her “honey.” Obviously, out of spite.
- The towel I handed her did not work.
- The book she was reading in bed would not stay open on its own. Clearly, I sabotaged it.
- I bought her candy to include with her Valentine’s Day cards for her class because she explicitly said she would like to include candy with her Valentine’s Day cards for her class. In the meantime, she changed her mind. She did NOT want candy and could not believe I was so insensitive as to buy it. In related news, I have about 60 small boxes of mystery-flavored Nerds if anyone develops a sudden craving.
- I called her twin brother “baby.” He loves sweet terms of endearment, but she found it derogatory and rude and felt a sudden, and unprecedented, need to come to his defense. For the record, he is NOT a baby. He is “almost a teenager” and should start acting like one, dammit!
- I told her older brother to take a shower because he smelled like funky feet. He sniffed his armpits, farted, laughed, and heartily agreed with me. She, however, was offended. Her brother does smell, but how dare I point it out to him. He should be able to manage his own bodily odors without my assistance, thank you very much. He is a teenager and should start acting like one, dammit!
- I used my credit card to purchase an online pair of aviator sunglasses she had been saving her money to buy. When they arrived, they were a tad too large for her cherub-like features. One Size Fits All is a devious lie (perpetrated by me, of course) to rob young girls of their hard-earned money! What kind of mother am I? How could I have possibly allowed her to waste her money on a grievous lie?!? (Maybe your cherubic face is the lie, you little psycho Nazi! Size and body image is a very real issue with which all women grapple. I understand her disappointment and commiserate with her pain, though I have encouraged her to express her feelings in a way that is a tad less unhinged schizoid bitch more productive.)
- I ran out of maple syrup (because she ate it all). Clearly, a good mom would have a tapped maple tree ready and waiting in her back yard.
- I bought a cup of coffee. With my own money. Blatantly. Willfully. Without her permission.