Let us turn our attention to the ladies of my crazy little clan, shall we? First up, Girl #1.
Girl #1 is a little spitfire. I say little because she is a full foot shorter than some girls in her class. Lining up by height always results in Girl #1 being first.
But what Girl #1 may lack in height, she more than makes up for with a fiery personality. For example, in my household, you do NOT speak ill of The Biebs. (Justin Bieber for you unfortunate people who have not seen Never Say Never.) Girl #1 adores The Biebs. She wore purple for him on his birthday and was very excited to report that he and Selena Gomez broke up. Her room is currently papered with Bieber paraphernalia and I have a sneaking suspicion that she blows kisses to his posters. (We had NKOTB, today’s girls have The Biebs. The more things change, the more they stay the same.)
Being 11, Girl #1 is quickly entering the Tween Years. No, I will not let her call herself a teenager. I won’t even officially give her Tween status. Go ahead, call us strict – wait until you have an almost-teenager and see how teens (and Tweens) dress nowadays. I have no need for my daughters to bear slogans on their backsides, thank you very much. These years involve a ramping up of conflict between Girl #1 and us, the evil, horrible, you’resounfaireveryoneelsegetstodoit Parents. This will last, as it did with me, until the girl in question is approximately 25. So strap in.
In the mind of a tween, exchanges pretty much go like this:
Meanhorribleparent: (spitting fire) GIRL #1 BAAAAAAAAD!!!! GRAWWWWLLLLL!
Girl #1: (plaiting long blond hair at the top of a tower) Please madam, I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, but I can assure you that it shan’t happen again.
Meanhorribleparent: (raking claws on ground) BAAAAAAAADDDD!!!! STAAAAAIRRRRSSSSS!!!!
Girl #1: (feeding various woodland creatures) Very well, if I must. I accept this punishment and hope that I no longer displease you in the future.
Usually things start small. Talking back, eye roll, you know the drill. We use time-outs, a la Supernanny’s naughty step.
One balmy summer evening, a conflict began. I can’t remember the specifics, but likely the usual Tween stuff. However, when assigned her timeout, Girl #1 got angry. Really angry. As Husband took her to the step, Girl #1 went all Mike Tyson on us. She writhed, she kicked, she squirmed. Yet, as true Supernanny devotees, we stuck firm in our conviction that she serve her time on the naughty step.
As she realized that she needed to do a little bit of hard time, Girl #1 had a bit of a Kelly Bensimon-esque break with reality. Girlfriend snapped. She reached deep into the recesses of her brain and hurled the absolute worst insult she could think of at Husband.
“Get your hands off me, fudge!”
Only she didn’t say (scream) fudge.
She said the queen mother of all curse words for a little pint-sized almost-Tween. The B word. (Wait, what? You thought she said THAT??? Noooooo. Sounds like someone has been watching a little too much A Christmas Story if you ask me.)
As a parent, when something incredibly shocking comes out of your child’s mouth, you have several options. Let’s play along at home, shall we? Choose the answer that best responds to the situation. Imagine your child has just thrown their first curse at you. Do you:
A. Run away clutching a white handkerchief to your bosom shrieking “my baby! My baaaaaaaaby!”
B. Bring your other children into the room to have a Full House inspired talk about appropriate language, complete with tender plinky-plunky musical accompaniment.
C. Immediately turn away from the child so s/he cannot see your mouth twitching with suppressed laughter, regain your composure and talk about how your mother used to wash your mouth out with soap. (Including the details about how she used to use detergent and hook her finger to make sure all the liquid RUBBED INTO THE GUMS.)
D. Curse right back – kid’s gotta know how to take it if she can dish it out, right?
We went with C and still giggle about our little Osbourne to this day. Hey, I’ve said that I’m heartless but never pretended to be mature. Not unrelated, Husband also hasn’t been cursed at or out by the Kiddos in recent memory. Win, win, win.