Yesterday I took Queen Teen to Mervyn's for a little back-to-school shopping. At first she was cheerful and silly, giggling at the stuffed puppies and feeling proud of herself every time she navigated around an obstacle in the aisles. And then, without warning or provocation, her face set in a determined frown and her eyes focused downward. Nothing I did or said made any difference.
"Look at this cute shirt! It's even red, your favorite. Do you like it?"
"I don't know," Queen Teen responded without looking at the shirt.
I held it under her nose. "It feels soft. Would you like to wear it to school?"
"I don't know."
"Maybe I should just buy you uniforms again. You looked cute in your school uniform."
"I don't know."
"Really? You don't know. Then I SHOULD buy a uniform because then you won't have to decide what to wear at all. Yep, I think a blue uniform would be good."
She scowled at me. Well, at least she made eye contact for a moment.
We managed to buy a pair of pants and two shirts, then went to the register to pay. Queen Teen barely cracked a smile when one of her friends from elementary school stopped to say hi. They're both going to the same Jr High this year and she was shopping for school clothes with her mom too.
"Did you have fun this summer?" Queen Teen's friend asked.
Queen Teen looked at her for a moment then stared at her feet again. She shrugged.
I said, "She's just getting over a cold, so she may be feeling tired."
"I had a cold too. No fun," her friend replied. Then she dashed off to catch up with her mom. My daughter didn't notice she was gone.
Great! She has maybe two real friends and she ignores them when they say hello. Wonderful! She'll be sitting by herself every lunch for sure!
The woman at the register asked me, "Is she feeling okay?"
I shrugged. "Who knows. She's 13."
"Ah.... I see." The woman gave me a knowing smiled and nodded. "I know all about 13."
Every time I tell someone that I get the same response; that completely understanding, 13 is rough you poor thing hang in there it will get better in a few years I'm so glad it's not me, smile. Even people who don't have children give me that look because we ALL know what 13 is like: morose, temperamental, and bitter. Saying "she's 13" is like saying "she has a head ache," or "she has a tummy ache." Of course, we all say, nodding with a sympathetic smile. She'll get over it in maybe... three or five years. Poor dear.
When I told my hubby what happened he asked, "What set her off?"
"She's just 13."
He sighed. "How long does that go on?"