A few months ago, I spent more than a little time complaining about DD1 and her descent into teenage moodiness. We struggled through a lack of interest in school and poor performance in relationship to her academic abilities. A black cloud seemed permanently affixed above her head and had the rest of us wondering what on earth had happened to our girl with the sunny personality.
But, just as suddenly as it came on, all that angst seems to have lifted. DD1 loves being a freshman. Ironically, her attitude toward her school work improved dramatically this year, in direct proportion to how much higher the overall expectations are. She’s actually willingly speaking to me and even at times asking for advice and study tips. I asked her what she thought the difference was between this year and last, and she said, “Well, all my teachers really know their subject matter, and I’m interested in my classes. We do stuff every day that helps me learn.” What makes me crazy as a district employee is that that description didn’t fit her classes last year.
And did I mention that even her eye makeup technique improved over the summer? After months of my gritting my teeth and trying not to make a huge deal over the heavy black liner that made her look vaguely Goth and definitely tacky, suddenly she’s looking wonderfully natural. I don’t know where all of this came from, but I’ll take it and enjoy it while it lasts!
And I need to revel in DD1’s transformation because DD2 has morphed from the agreeable, generally happy child she was last year right on into a hormonal preteen who seems to be continuously dissatisfied with life in general and her parents specifically. Today for instance, she was annoyed because my schedule for taking her to church youth group did not fit precisely with the timeframe she had imagined.
The good news is that I learned a few things along the way with DD1. I avoided the argument and lecturing that likely would have resulted if we’d had the same conversation a year ago. Instead, I calmly pointed out that I was going out of my way to get her to an event she wanted to attend and that her attitude was not making it more likely I’d want to do the same in the future. And amazingly, that seemed to work, at least for now.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I spaced my children so that I’d have two (and even sometimes three) teenagers in the house at the same time. DD2 is not even thirteen, and it’s already seeming like poor planning on my part. Fortunately, we haven’t had to deal with both of them going through a difficult phase at the same time. When that time comes, I may just have to run away from home!