I no longer have a tween in my family. Last month’s birthday celebrations (and I do not advise having children born only three days apart, it makes for a very hectic week every year) meant that not only has the teen turned sweet sixteen, but the tween is no more! We now have a household of three females, 13 years, 16 years and 45 years – you can smell the hormones from four streets away. Seriously, you do NOT want to be anywhere near our place when there is a full moon.
The tween-that-was is a slightly reluctant teenager. She has always enjoyed the role of being the youngest and is quite vocal about not wanting to grow up. Mainly, I suspect, because with growing up comes more responsibility, more chores, less opportunity to lie around the place saying ‘but I’m only…(insert age here)’ when asked to do something.
So, where turning 13 is usually much anticipated and celebrated, in our house it has been the elephant in the room, no mention to made, strictly verboten. We have also been issued with rules. We are not allowed to:-
- Tell her she is a stroppy teenager every time she gets in a bad mood.
- Look exasperated and say ‘for goodness sake you are nearly 14 years old’ whenever she forgets her lunch box /PE kit/ own name. This much hated tradition of rounding up to the next age usually begins the day after the last birthday.
- Remind her repeatedly of the things that her older sister did or didn’t do when she was a new teenager.
- Get cross and tell her to wash up/tidy her room/put her shoes away because she is ‘not a little girl any more’.
I am doing my best to follow these instructions but the plain truth is that I am now fighting a solo battle against two teens who have me surrounded in a pincer movement of angst, frustration and growing up-ness. So, to pass the time and lighten the atmos I am indulging in regular games of Teen Bingo. A game for 1-100 players but only fully appreciated by parents who are currently navigating the post-child, pre-adult minefield. If that is you then stay strong, I feel your pain. Keep your bingo card in the cutlery draw or the bottom of your bag (or, for some real fun, on the fridge door where the teens can see it – that will really make them mad!), I guarantee you will be shouting ‘House!’ before you know it.