Thing 1 is Testing Her Limits

February 18, 2013

or as I was going to title this “I Know Why Some Animals Eat Their Young.”

I remember such a dramatic shift in how I perceived my mother between the ages of 12 and 14. It was such a complete change that it has colored my relationship with her to this day and forms the basis of my relationship with my own daughters. Watching T1 grow into a teenager scares me in more ways than one.

Ask the Chief–I was so worried about being hands-off, too tough, not emotionally attached to the girls. Then each of them fights to be able to sit next to me and cuddle. I really don’t have any childhood memories like that. But I do want my children to always see me as strong … because I’m not. Not always.

So we’ve been playing our Nancy Drew computer games. It’s family time and it is focused time, playing hours on end. T1 started playing on her own–first replaying one or two that we had already solved and then finishing up two games we had started but for what ever reason we just never finished. Good for her! She’s getting the logic puzzles down and can move forward without too much frustration.

Yesterday as she’s working on one of the unfinished games she comes to give me status reports. And to rub it in my face.

“I found the right monkey and got the pulley you need.”


“You never did.”


A little later….

“I found the sunken ship.”


“That’s farther than you ever got.”


Still later….

“I got stuck in a cave and you have to call George to open it from the outside. Did you know you can switch between the two?”


“Did you?”

“Not yet.”

“Didn’t you find the walkie-talkies?”

“Yes. I just hadn’t done that yet.”

“Ha! I got farther than you and know how to do that.”

“Back this truck up, missy. You are bordering on bragging and certainly have moved into disrespecting me.”

I laid the hammer down and sent her on her way. I later pulled her aside.

“I know you’re smart. I know I’m smarter in many ways than my mother but you won’t see me disrespecting her. Yes, we tease her and we make fun of her … but I don’t do what you are doing. I know you’re smart. I want to congratulate you on doing a good job in the game but once you start throwing in ‘I’m smarter than you because I got farther than you’ I don’t want to tell you ‘Good job.’ It’s rude and disrespectful. I know how smart you are and I want you to keep learning and trying. And you’re going to be smarter than me one day. But you better be respectful about it. Today you are not.”

I guess this is the equivalent of boys and their fathers beating on their chests and challenging for supremacy, just a lot less physical. I will admit I was tempted to wipe that obnoxious grin off her face though.



  1. I would give my little one a few minutes to get the bragging rights out, tell him how wonderfully smart he was, and then tell him that there’s a responsibility to being so smart and that was he needed to be nice about it cos it was his special gift. It seemed to work cos he’s a very humble guy even now with all of his accolades and awards.

    • I do think my girls are gracious and humble toward others. Thankfully! I think this was a young woman trying to one-up her mother. I think it is natural. Such a hard time and awkward age. I like that whole “responsibility with your special gift” angle and will use that as further conversations occur. 🙂

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