Monday, May 3, 2010

New to This

Today marks the start of another "kid week" for my husband and me. My 11-year-old step-son got off the bus from school at just before 3:00 this afternoon, and my husband picked my 13-year-old step-daughter and 16-year-old step-son up from track practice at about 5:30 today.

The minute they walked in the door, I got "the look" from my step-daughter. She walked upstairs to her bedroom without a word, and shut her door. I was in the middle of making dinner, so I just finished with our meal and had her younger brother knock on her door to let her know dinner was ready.

I should have set another place for her attitude. SHEESH, I don't know what got into her today (or this past week), but SHE. IS. CRABBY. She came into the kitchen, took one look at what I was preparing (a new meal for my step-kids, though I've cooked it several times for my husband and myself) and turned her nose up. I asked what was wrong, and she said "I don't like that", referring to what I made for dinner. I explained that it was something new for her and her brothers, and that she had no way of knowing if she liked it or not. She then explained (or should I say "huffed"?) that I "did too" make that dish and that she was "absolutely certain" she'd had it before and she "didn't like it".

If she'd communicated this as a normal, non alien-possessed person, I would have been ok with it. Today her body language, vocal tone, and choice of words all communicated very clearly that SHE. IS. CRABBY.

I understand she's a teenage girl and she's hormonal and emotional, but I truly don't know how to handle these situations yet. As a female, I know what it's like to be crabby, but I just can't deal with the disrespect that goes along with her attitude. After trying to chat with her for a minute, it was clear to me that she just wanted to be rude, so I asked her to please go back up to her bedroom and "try again". I told her to come back down and try to be nice when she greets her family.

She has two opposite personalities, and not much of a range in between. One day she is bubbly, delightful, and a true joy to be around; the next, she is rude, snide, spiteful and a real pain. One day she is talkative and won't let anyone get a word in edgewise, and the next day she barely says a word, even when I ask her a direct question. What gives?

Tonight, I asked her very directly why she was acting the way she was, and I questioned whether she'd had a bad day and wanted to talk about it. She said in a very monotone voice that she "didn't think she was acting any differently" and that "nothing" was wrong.

So I let it go. I do have to say, though, that as a female I tend to let these things get to me. It absolutely sets me on edge.

I take great comfort in knowing this is not a step-mom issue. It's a teenage-girl-in-the-house issue. My husband and I are both dealing with this as new parents, and it's nice to have his company.

Can I please just fast-forward through the next five years until she's a lady? PLEASE???

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