"UM...you aren't gonna wear that to my game, are you?'
First sentence uttered to me by my daughter today.
She is starting to be sort of a lollygagger when it comes to getting um...HER ASS out of bed on the weekends. (And on the week days I have had to threaten to put ice cubes in the bed with her to get her up for school more than once...this irritates the HELL out of me since if she's late for school, I'm late for work...)
But, I've noticed that she has been easily sleeping until just before noon almost every Saturday and Sunday. And her light is usually the last one off at night. Often, we fall asleep to that slim sliver of light under her door. She is either watching late night television in her room or working/playing on her computer. Once, I woke up after 2 a.m. and the light was still on her room. I went in to check, thinking that she had fallen asleep reading or something, but no. She was sitting crosslegged, tap-tapping on her computer, visiting with her new friend, Cecily. Probably talking about boys. This is also new. The talking about boys thing. Not with ME, of course. She rarely, if ever, talks to me about boys. I only know this because I am a terrible eavesdropper. And because when we were out walking Socks together, we ran into our neighbor and he asked her where she was thinking about going to high school next year.
"Weeeeeelllll," she said, slowly, "I am leaning towards Peace Academy, but I'll miss the boys. I mean the um...aspect that they add to the learning process."
Huh? She'd never mentioned that to me. Not once. After we said our goodbyes, I asked her about that and, typically, she clammed right up tighter than a lid on a just purchased jar of jam.
So, I suppose it isn't odd that she is sleeping in since she's getting to bed late every weekend night. So far, she isn't asking to stay out late. Her curfew is 10:00 and since she's still too young to drive and is dependent on me or someone's parent, she has never missed it.
"Have you smelled beer on her breath yet?" my friend, Harriet asked me once. I was shocked. It would be like her asking me if I smelled semen or pussy on her breath. NO! Are you freakin' KIDDING me?
Harriet had sighed. "I kid you not, they start exploring around her age and it just gets worse until they hit 16 and then they just get better at hiding it."
Harriet is the parent of 5. Two of her kids she inherited from her sister who died a few years ago and their father went AWOL. The eldest is a junior in high school. A girl. Then a boy who is a sophomore. She has a son who is a freshman too. So...THREE high schoolers. And, her next child, a daughter, is a 7th grader. And then there is her little accident, a boy who is nearly four now. She is still reeling from finding a condom in her oldest child's purse one day when she was trolling to see if she was sneaking cigarettes. She was understandably shocked. This girl is incredibly shy and very, very quiet. She has one best friend and as far as she knows, has never had a boyfriend or anything close to one, never even been asked on a date. She is an A student and plays the cello. Seldom, if ever comes out on the weekends. Finding condoms in her purse was like finding the makings for a bomb or something akin to that. She actually called me at work over that, was so freaked out that we had to meet for drinks the next night to figure out a strategy system on how she could work a question about condoms into a conversation with her daughter. She ended up just asking her and was told that she was keeping them for a friend.
So, she is the one whom I will call if Liv ever comes stumbling in the house drunk. Ever. I just can't imagine it. Ever. But, like I said, it isn't as if I am her confidant any more. I'm not. That place is now reserved for her friends. For Cecily, Lilli, Sadie, Molly, and Aaron, who I am almost positive is gay. Actually, I would bet our mortgage on it. Any 8th grade boy who knows every song by One Direction is suspect, I think, don't you? Bing once made the mistake of asking Liv if she and Aaron ever talked about his homosexuality and Liv responded hotly that he wasn't gay, that he had a crush on someone. A girl.
We figured out too late that it was actually the GIRL who had a crush on HIM. Liv. So, not sure if she is still crushing on him or has faced the music about him yet.
So, in addition to sleeping the sleep of the dead until noon on the weekends, Liv is also looking at my clothing choices with a jaundiced eye.
She seldom approves of my picks. My chanel suits that I wear to work are too "kitschy." One of them is a little snug and she never fails to point out that the suit coat is a bit puckered. ("Excuse me, Edith Head, but I am choosing to be in denial over the fact that I am beginning to have a stomach pooch. So, it PUCKERS. It's only really bad when I SIT DOWN, for god sakes!")
She doesn't like my collection of cashmere sweaters. Calls them the Tammy collection.
She once asked me if I thought I'd ever dye my hair again. It is graying. I used to dye it. Bing and I made a joint decision to stop with the ruse and neither of us has dyed our hair in over a year. Bing looks really good in in her salt and pepper. I look like I should just give in and walk around with a pointed witch hat on my head.
Liv doesn't like my "Cherries in The Snow" lipstick that I have worn since she was a baby. I love it and think it brightens up my face and makes me look younger. She thinks that I look like I am very unsuccessfully trying to channel Taylor Swift. She has never said so, but I know she is thinking it. She continually points out more sedate choices when we are in department stores together. Shades like soft burgundy and kitten pink. So help me god, I cannot bring myself to even BUY a lipstick with the word kitten in it.
I also like my collection of swirly skirts.
Liv doesn't exactly roll her eyes when I wear them, but she did once retort to me that I had a Stevie Nicks fetish when I commented once that the dress that she was wearing was a little short. Out of the blue, she sort of snorted through her nose and said
Well, at least I don't have a Stevie Nicks fetish and wear gypsy skirts everywhere that are long enough to trip on.
She forfeited a trip to the mall with her friends for that smarty pants remark.
And truthfully, I just shudder when she asks to go to the mall. Because, please. THE MALL? Gag me.
But, she seems to like it fine.
So there I was today all set to go to her basketball game when she came up to me and looked at me in horror. I mean, REAL horror, as if I were in a string bikini or something. (And no...I don't wear one. I am thinking of buying a bathing suit with a little skirt on it for the first time in my life since my thighs are now a little cottage cheesy looking at the top.)
So, yeah...she asked me if I planned on wearing what I had on.
Which was my soft grey sweatpants with a long sleeved man's white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and my blue Ked's sneakers that have a few little spots on them from where I accidentally splashed bleach on them when I was cleaning the toilet a few months ago.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE BIG DEAL?
Okay. I also had a scrunchee in my hair. A sort of print with lady bugs on it.
No makeup except for a small swipe of my Cherries in the Snow lipstick.
For Pete's sakes, what was she expecting? Beyonce?
I told her simply and plainly, that yes...this is what I was wearing. And did she have her coat on? She needed a coat, not that skimpy little sweater.
She sighed, went and got her coat and to her credit, rode all the way to the game without making any comments. I did notice that she hadn't commented on Bing's clothing choice. But, this was probably because she knew it was a lost cause years ago. Bing wears the same thing on the weekends: jeans with a long or short sleeved polo shirt. And sneakers. No makeup. No hair mousse. Nuttin.
When we got to the game, Liv scrambled out of the car as if she were ten minutes late instead of twenty minutes early. She scurried through the gym doors as if she had just came in from her cab or limo. By the time we found seats on the bleachers, she was standing in her gold and blue basketball uniform, taking her turn to do layups with the other girls.
The Liv of even a year ago would have craned her neck to find to me and then waved wildly. The Liv of here and now, pretends that she is an orphan. Just a cool orphan who happened to have or need no parental units.
Bing thinks this is funny and reminds me that she will be back. She's been teaching a long time and has discerned a pattern with kids Liv's age.
At 13, they stop acknowledging you unless they are alone and then it is usually to ask for money or comment on your clothes, hair or whatever is unacceptable. When she hits 16, she'll be back.
She's already back sometimes. When we are alone, especially at night, she'll often tuck up in bed with me for a while to read or have me scratch the inside of her arm, a calming technique that she has adored since she was three.
But, often....she pretty much seems to want to pretend that she lives in the house alone and that Bing and I are just interlopers that she endures.
Sometimes the real Liv comes out, though. Like today, when she made her first basket. She quickly smiled to herself and then glanced out of the corner of her eye to make sure that I saw what she had just done.
I had and was refraining from leaping to my feet and cheering. Instead, I clapped with enthusiasm with the rest of the parents and smiled hugely. She turned and our eyes met.
MAMA I DID IT! DID YOU SEE? DID YOU SEE?
I could read her mind. I will always be able to do that.
Yes, Liv....I saw. I ALWAYS see. You just don't know it like you used to.
And I'm here if you want to read together before bed for a while.
I'll scratch your arm if you like.......always and forever.