Sunday, 3 February 2008

A teenage cover-up

New Year's resolutions are not supposed to last Beyond January. So it is almost without guilt that I admit to breaking my no shouting resolution. It happened sometime not long after I posted last. I don't remember what triggered it, but odds are it was the teenager's refusal to get out of the house on time in the morning or stealing something else of mine without asking.

But I now feel differently about yelling. After my self imposed ban I realise I am a better Mum if I don't screech and wail like Britney Spears being forced to wait in line at Starbucks. My own mother has always told me that you lose the battle when you shout. Much as it pains me she is probably right. Again.

Also I have realised that there are times when yelling is entirely justified. Take for example the steamer of a row we have this week. The Teenager is going out to the cinema with friends on Saturday night. I trust her that 'cinema' is not a euphemism for 'trying to get into a nightclub' or 'buying WKD to drink in the local park'.

She comes into the bathroom while I am soaking in the bath-to get approval on her outfit. Lets put asides for now the fact that she rather gouge out her own eyeballs than let me come in the when she is naked in the bathroom.

''Gorgeous!'' I say, at the chiffon, sleeveless shirt and skinny jeans combo.

And then-echoing my own Mother for not the first time of late- I add

''As long as you wear a coat.''
''I have a cardigan.''
''A cardigan is not a coat.''
''For God's sake.''
''Just wear a coat.''
'I'll put it on, but then as soon as I get out of the door I'll take it off again.''
''Fine. Just wear it.''
''You're pathetic.''

Pathetic? Pathetic? I slosh out of the bath, wrap a towel around me and march straight to her room and demand my jewellery and handbag back that she is wearing, telling her she can steal the accessories of someone less 'pathetic'. She pleads an apology, but it is only to save the jewellery, so I stand firm.

Then, all but five minutes later she mutters that she is going and I rush out to the landing hallway and I see the coat slung over her arm. I give her the Spanish Inquisition about how she is getting from cinema to sleepover and who is going and what film they are going to see and what time it starts. At one point she stamps her foot in frustation so I extend the questioning for longer. When I finally finish she runs down the stairs and then slams the front door so hard the whole house vibrates.

I belt downstairs after her- furious. I open the door and aware that I cannot rush into the street in a towel-stand at the door and scream in manner of a fishwife;


The teenager then mooches back in and mutters something about what ever happened to my New Year resolution not to shout.

I ground her. There are tears. I do not shout again. There are more tears. I take her to my parent's house, we drive in silence the whole way there. I didn't shout. I won the battle.

But I am under no illusions about winning the war.