Run Down by the Puberty Bus

Momservation: Preteen girls come in like a lamb and go out like a lion.

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As my mother used to say, I’m in deep kimchi (i.e. deep sh**). I probably shouldn’t even be talking to you about this right now and am definitely looking over my shoulder. I’m as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Who am I afraid of?

My hormone raging eleven year-old daughter.

What’s happened to my baby girl? It’s like Poltergeist over here these days. One minute she’s squishing me and telling me, “I love you, Mommy!” and then the next minute she’s crying and stomping off to her room shouting, “You NEVER let me do anything!”

One day she couldn’t care less that she looks like a Goodwill donation and the next she’s wearing her long hair down, with a cute Aeropostle shirt and shorts, flipping her hair and walking almost hunched so her hair will stay falling over the front of her shoulders.

One day she’s a sweet, perpetual ponytail wearing tomboy and then suddenly you cut two inches of her hair off in a reluctant quick trim and she’s screaming at you that you ruined her life.

What is going on here?

I’m guessing I stepped off the curb and got hit by the puberty bus that just picked her up.

I didn’t even realize we were an official stop until the Great Haircutting Incident of July 2012:

Where did this sweet little girl go and how do I get her back?

She didn’t want me to cut her hair. “I’m growing it out,” she said.

“Just a trim. It looks unhealthy and natty even when you brush it. Besides, you always wear it in a ponytail anyway,” I insisted.

“Fine, but just a little bit and none from the front.”

So I proceed to wet her hair, comb it all back and take an inch or so off the bottom in a straight line. As I’m cutting it, I’m trying to kick the hair that’s falling, dispersing it because I know she’s going to think it’s too much.

“Okay, turn around,” I tell her ready to check for evenness and fine tuning. Before I can stop her she does the flip all her hair forward over her shoulder thing she’s being doing recently.

She looks down to assess the trim and we both notice at the same time that her hair is wildly uneven, one side significantly longer than the other thanks to it falling back to is natural side parting.

“Mom! What did you do!” she screams.

“I’m not done. Here, let me just even it out.”

“No! Don’t touch it!” she yells horrified. “I don’t want it any shorter!” She runs off to the bathroom in a dramatic flourish.

I roll my eyes and call after her, hearing as I say it the Mom-just-doesn’t-understand words: “Geez, Whitney. It’s just hair. It’ll grow back!”

When I reach her in the bathroom she is crying, frantically trying to make her hair somehow look even. She glares at me through the mirror.

“Just let me finish, Whitney. I can fix it,” I huff, annoyed she’s acting like I’m a puppy kicker.

“No! Then it’s going to be even shorter! I told you not to cut it! Why did you make me cut it? It’s soooo short,” she moans going for best dramatic actress in a lead role.

“You’re being ridiculous. My God, it’s just hair. You’re acting like I shaved your head.”

“Arggghh!” she yells at me with a look that could kill and stomps out.

In that moment I am mad at her for being mad at me over something so silly in the big scheme of things. But echoing in my ears are my words – that were once my mother’s words – and I’m instantly transported back to a time when I felt the frustration of believing my mother just didn’t understand.

Taking a deep breath and saying a quick prayer for patience for the duration of this ride I go find Whitney – who is at the computer Googling: How long does it take for hair to grow?

Trying to muster sympathy over annoyance I apologize. “I’m sorry, Whitney. I’m sorry I didn’t cut your hair the way you wanted it and I’m sorry you don’t like it.”

Her features soften. The anger drains out of her. She doesn’t say, “Thanks, Mom” but I see it in her eyes and with the ever so slight head bob of appreciative acknowledgement.

My baby girl is back.

Until the 2:20 bus arrives.


    • kellimwheeler says:

      Uh…no. You better start watching before you step off the curb my friend – with your Hellcat your bus is coming…

      Thanks for the support, feigned or otherwise. 😉

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