Saturday, January 20, 2007

(Nearly) Teen-age Drama Queen: Act, um, I've Lost Count...

The Child, being 12, is still working out the whole "priorities" thing. Yesterday morning she explained to me her "game plan".

"When I get home from school I'm going to do my homework and then practise, practise, practise my speech".

This was a good plan as she has a speech tournament today and was not super majorly prepared. This isn't entirely her fault; the disruptions of illness and snow meant she'd missed some speech club meetings. But she's still supposed to be practising on her own time and really only began in earnest this week.

Whatever, right? I am officially at the place of backing off and allowing her to sink or swim. I can nag but a) she is only going to hear that Charlie Brown "wha wha" voice and 2) she just has to start stepping up. Mama isn't going to follow along and clean up her messes forever. I figure that if she's not fully prepared and doesn't do as well as she could, well, that's how she's going to learn that you can't phone in these things.

Right. So I get her from school and turns out she has no homework. Excellent. More time to practise. We get home and lo, a phone call comes from a friend. To come over and watch a movie.

"What about your speech?"

"Well, AM and I practised twice today already. And I'll just run over for a while and then I can work on it".

"But you're making dinner".

"I know," (and that was not uttered in a benign fashion. It was a teenage "I know", full of drawn out vowels, rolling eyes and a tone of "could my mother be more annoying?"). "Mom, I will still have plenty of time".

I had two choices. I could have put my foot down, made her stay home and forced her to practise her speech. Never mind that doing so would have meant eating up valuable practise time with the inevitable shouting/door slamming/crockery heaving/invective slinging of a child denied her fun. So I opted for Door Number 2.

"Fine, go. I think it's an unwise choice but if you really think you can be prepared then go. Be home by 6:30".

Which she was. (I was having Friday night wine and deep conversation with The Neighbor but The Spouse was monitoring the situation). And she started the pizza dough. And then she sat down. To play computer games.

We have our pizza, we watch our movie and it's bed-time. It's also 11pm. And she realizes, with tears, that she's left the book, containing her speech, at her friend's house.

Would you like to know who is responsible for this?

Dad, for making her start the pizza dough, me for not typing out the selection earlier in the week. Dad, for telling her she shouldn't have taken the book out of the house in the first place, me for suggesting that had she practised when she got home like she'd went on and on. You know who wasn't responsible for any of this? Her.

Poor little pawn of fate.

I think she cried herself to sleep.

I got up at frakking 6:30 this morning (freaking out The Spouse who thought for one bleary moment that his alarm had failed to go off). I needed some time to myself before the potential drama of the morning ensued. I woke her at 7. She was going to try and call the neighbors in hopes someone would be up that early on a Saturday morning. If she could retrieve her book, fine. If not, she was going to have to forfeit and deal with the consequences.

She got her book, she's at the tournament and all is well. Or at least quiet.

According to Article 6, Section i of the "Worst Mother in the World Handbook" I need to ask her what she's learned from this experience. Where did I put that body armor?

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Blogger Evangeline opined...

I shouldn't laugh. I know I shouldn't laugh, and yet, here it is. The laughter. Great waves of it.

January 20, 2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

I will regret this someday when my own hell-raisers are here, but I will join Evangeline.

Tee hee.


Chortle chortle.

It'll be ok, Lorraine. You guys are doing a great job and the kid will be a wonderful adult in just a few years.

You tiara ia approved.

January 20, 2007 11:05 AM  
Blogger barista brat opined...

i'm giving you a virtual cappuccinno for being such a good mom.

January 20, 2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger JessnBekahsmom opined...

Okay, no laughing here. I will tell you that when I was in like, 5th grade, I had a speech contest. HAD I learned the speech on time, I would have a) not gotten suspended from school so I could learn my speech and b) have earned better than the honorable mention award that I earned since I only memorized it the day of the contest. Maybe I would have gotten first or second place. Alas, I got fourth place, the honorable mention. This is one of those things that haunts you for the rest of your life. Like you say, hopefully she will learn from this experience and do things differently the next time. Good luck with that. I continued to go on doing reports and papers the night before, staying up until 2am, or worse, turning it in late and getting a dropped grade of B, instead of the A I would have received for it on time. I did make it through, however, to deal with more important things in life, like holding my daughter's hair back for her while she puked in the toilet. Isn't life grand?

January 20, 2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Eva, Laugh away. I find it mildly amusing myself. Now.

Iwanski, Hereby reserving the right to laugh my ass off when it's your turn. And thanks.

Brat, Yum, just want I needed. And I like how you spelled out WMITW in foam.

J&Bmom, I hear that. The Neighbor and I were just discussing this very thing last night, before all the drama ensued. I too was a "night before" kind of student. It is, apparently, genetic. Hopefully she will learn from this and save herself at least one or two future headaches.

January 20, 2007 11:41 AM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Yer a good Mom Charlie Brown!

January 20, 2007 12:49 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Wha wha wha. BTW, Sling, you're presence is required behind the bar at "Here's the 80s". You need to come up with a cocktail for the weekend theme.

January 20, 2007 12:57 PM  
Blogger Grish opined...

Hmm, sounds like my own motivated self at that age. Good parental patience there..

January 20, 2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Patience? Oh, you misunderstand, my friend.

But you turned out ok. That gives me hope.

January 20, 2007 5:34 PM  
Blogger Legal Alien opined...

Two words:

Military. Academy.

January 21, 2007 5:49 AM  
Blogger greeny opined...

What are you talking about? You've done exactly what you should do! You are doing GREAT!

January 21, 2007 6:05 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

LA: 12 words: Convent. Of. The. Sisters. Of. Our. Lady. Of. Perpetual. Frowning. And. Scorning.

Thanks know I need all the encouragement I can get from moms who've already been through this patch!

January 21, 2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

Personally, I think it's cool that you're allowing The Child to learn from her own mistakes. My parents tried desperately to prevent those mistakes from ever happening, and it was only after I left that protective bubble that life slapped me upside the head a few times ... and good.

And even if her ego is bruised occasionally, just think ... you have readers all over the country who actively refer to her as "The Child" -- capitalized and everything. "The Child," as tho' she's the only one. THE Child. What other kid has that, I ask you?

January 22, 2007 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anne opined...

Good for people to know.

November 10, 2008 5:47 AM  

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