I knew it was coming. I mean, my daughter is going to be 12 in less than two weeks, and she's been in middle school since August. It isn't as if I woke up one morning and she was suddenly a pre-teen. Well, okay, it was kind of like that, but that morning wasn't this week.
This week, though, I got my first taste of that phase of pre-teen angst that all parents want to believe we're somehow magically going to avoid.
For the past two years, I've been working and commuting very long hours and my daughter hasn't been thrilled about it. On the weekends, since we've had to little time together, we've generally tried to do fun things and relax if I didn't have to work. Now that I'm working from home, though, things are changing a little bit. I'm asking awkward questions like "Is your homework done?" and "Why is there a string cheese wrapper on the living room floor?" And she's not taking it well.
The other night, I told her that I was disappointed by all the conflict, that I'd really been looking forward to being home with her more and we needed to figure out how to get past this right away.
She said, in all apparent sincerity, "Well...you could be less annoying."
The hardest thing about parenting is having the discipline not to laugh out loud when your kid says something that you REALLY CAN'T SANCTION, but that is...well...outrageously funny. I couldn't really continue the conversation right then, but a couple of hours later I asked her to explain in exactly what way I was annoying.
"Well," she said, "you say 'yada yada yada', and then...."
"Wait," I interrupted. "I DON'T say 'yada yada yada'. I need to know some actual things I'm saying that are annoying.
And she threw up her hands and said, "SEE? This is a perfect example!"