Poor Punkin’ Pie LOST HER SHIT on Saturday night.
Our daughter was having trouble all day – she was edgy and cranky and we couldn’t really figure out why. She didn’t want to talk about it, so we gave her her space and subconsciously chalked it up to hormones (and no, that is not a dismissive or callous thing to say; she’s begun her decent into the hell of puberty and really is suffering a bit of sporadic, hormonally-induced brain damage).
Saturday night, though, she had a full-on, red-alert meltdown. She dissolved into tears (for reasons I could not quite discern) and screamed at me that she was “immature.” When I asked her what in the world made her think that (I, personally, think she’s exactly where an 11-year-old should be on the maturity continuum), she tearfully exclaimed that all her peers “are on Ebay and have pierced ears and wear Hollister shirts and watch t.v.” and that she doesn’t “get to do ANY of that!”
I don’t know if all of her peers have/do these things, but I CAN attest to the fact that Punkin’ doesn’t.
Here’s the thing; I REMEMBER – because I promised myself that I WOULD remember – how awful it was to feel like the ONLY kid in school who didn’t have the cool clothes (in my day, it was designer jeans and white leather Nike low-tops with the red swoosh on the side). Now, Punkin’ isn’t exactly wearing clothes that identify her as an outlier in the group; her outfits are cute and current, but they don’t have the American Eagle logo on the chest or have “HOLLISTER” emblazoned across the front. I DO have a hard time paying 20 bucks for a shirt from a “cool” store, but I’m willing to take the kid shopping to see if we can find something that both meets our attire rules (no rips, no stains, no words, but logos are okay) and makes her feel more like part of the group.
On the other hand, I don’t really want to play into the idea that what someone wears (or owns, or drives, or lives in) matters enough to go out and make a big deal over. I think that Punkin’ gets that – when I asked her if she wanted to be liked just because she wears a certain brand of clothing, she did say “no” – but I still feel conflicted about going out to get her these clothes. I KNOW that, at least in middle school, it DOES matter, but I don’t want to go creating a monster by buying her a couple of shirts with logos on them and essentially condoning the behavior.
I could take her out to get her ears pierced, but I laid down the conditions for ear-piercing a few years ago and, by Goddess, I’m sticking to them. I told the girls that when they prove to me that they can be responsible about taking care of their own bodies – when I don’t have to remind them to brush their teeth or take showers or comb their hair or wear clean clothes – I’ll happily take them to get their ears pierced. I’ve explained that poking holes in one’s ears requires that one care for those holes until they’re properly healed, and that I’m not willing to take on the extra responsibility of nightly alcohol swabbing and earring-twisting if they can’t be bothered to even brush their own teeth on a consistent basis. So far, Punkin’ has not been able to consistently do those things that will earn her pierced ears, and she admitted as much on Saturday night. She conceded that what I require of her is neither unreasonable nor overly difficult, so I pointed out that if she really wants her ears pierced that much, she’ll find a way to live up to the responsibility that the act requires. She wasn’t happy about that – she claims that none of her “friends” had to meet criteria for ear-piercing – butI think she recognizes that, being reasonable and attainable, my requirements aren’t budging.
Sigh. This mindful parenting shit is hard.