Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Attitude adjustment

We never went through the terrible twos with my daughter, since we adopted her when she was four-and-a-half. She was an eager-to-please sweetie through most of her childhood. But now we've hit the Painful Preteens, and at age 11, she's starting to enjoy eye-rolling, sarcasm, and sloth. Dislikes: Doing what Mama and Papa say, taking showers, making beds, brushing teeth. And speaking of teeth, getting her to do these simple tasks is like pulling them.

It doesn't help that, on top of all this, she can now lay claim to PMS. It also doesn't help that I know that none of this is going to get any better as she heads into her Terrible Teens. If she's delayed in cognitive ability, in language, in social and emotional development, why oh why can't she be delayed in attitude development, too?

Another thing that doesn't help in all this is our new paranoia about terrorism. It's added yet another "Do what I say and don't make me explain" level to my interactions with my daughter, and she's not taking it. She wants to know why she can't ride her bike in the high school parking lot like I promised; I don't want to tell her that there's a strange car parked in an odd spot and I'm afraid it might explode. I don't want her to have to think about exploding cars, or anthrax, or airplanes falling out of the sky. I just want her to do what I say. And that, of course, is anathema to your average Painful Preteen.

In the end, she still does do it. She's still, way down under there somewhere, my eager-to-please girl. I just wish she was a little quicker and quieter about it.

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