ARTICLE

The blooming tweenager!
by Claire’s blog

I find it just the most amusing pastime to go to the mall on a busy Saturday morning,
perhaps not on payday (that’s just torture), and strategically position myself
in a quiet corner of a coffee shop to watch the world go by while sipping on my tall
cappuccino.

I quietly observe the kind of relational dynamics at play between the members
of passing groups. “Are they married? Friends? Whose kids are those? WHAT IS SHE WEARING?” It is super entertaining to see what people are like when they think no one is watching. I put facetious words in their mouths as I pretend to dub the spat between the seeming daughter and possible motherin-law. Or I play out a cringy romantic Korean drama between the young love birds who fail to keep their passion a secret. Oh, how judgy I become in those delicious moments as I give makeovers with my eyes and cruelly scrutinize general fashion sense.

AA couple of months back my regular excursion to the mall took an interesting turn. I was fascinaingly observing a mom and daughter who had entered the scene. My judgy instinct to criticize kicked in and I said to myself, “Look at that selfish mother, dressed to the nines, yet her child looks like she is wearing clothes passed down from the much-older cousin who must have lived outside in a paper bag!” The malicious thought I entertained for a few
moments became the precursor to the cold realisation that my judgy intrigue is not only mine. All of us judge each other, all the time, and always by the cover first.

Frankly, that well-dressed mother with a scratty child is currently me!

The nasty reflection of my own life began. They say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” but this is an incredibly inaccurate statement when considering the frightful challenge of dressing a tweenager… actually, “Hell hath no fury like a tweenager who wants to wear what she wants to wear but you won’t let her!” And this is possibly because it may threaten her co-existence with normal society. Quickly gone are the days of pretty bows and
matching outfits, a “true” reflection of an excellent mother. No, my lovely tweenaged princess slouches around in her father’s tracksuit pants, her hair matted scraped back into somewhat of a bird’s-nest-come-bushel on the mound of her head. Her racer-back top has been borrowed from a little friend half her size, so her voluptuous boobs ooze from her armpits. Long legs, knobbly knees and oversized feet emphasise her disproportion. I offer to buy her new (fitting) clothes but even those she chooses are either under- or over-sized… never the right size! I offer to help wash and brush the hair, like I used to, but she is adamant that she doesn’t need my help and that she can manage her hair on her own. Only problem is she is so moody that she lacks the patience to brush the hair that hasn’t been brushed for days, without breaking it. A wind-swept bushel on the mound of her head. In desperation I take her off to the hairdresser and whoop, there it is! She says

“How come you look so lovely, mom, but your daughter’s hair is in such bad shape? Come let me show you how to brush her hair!” “What? Like the way I have done it for all the years before she turned 12?”

Suddenly, my intense scrutiny of this gorgeous mom turns into an over-whelming need to hug her and tell her its ok, and that I totally understand!

 

No, wait. I think I’m the one who needs the hug! She’s got on with life, unperturbed by the demon dragging in her wake. Maybe that’s what I
should do! Just be free!

My disturbing reflection of my life with my tweenager turns to my teenage daughter of 15. How did I forget? So lovely and graceful. Her hair and her body are her pride and dressing to the nines is her forte. I am reminded that this too will pass, that moody, badly dressed tweenagers are
just women in the making.

It wasn’t more than a few months from my enlightening moment in the quiet coffee shop corner that a graceful, almost 13 year old princess came through the door. Hair silky and smooth, matching clothes and her perfume filled the room.

I see why this stage took me by surprise even though I had been through it with my older daughter; it’s because it is a brief stage of budding before the blooming.

Perhaps we can celebrate the budding too! Needless to say, no more judging of
well-dressed mothers of scratty-looking children takes place on my stalking excursions to the mall!
Although I can’t help giggling about it!

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