It's very confusing, living with teenagers.
My 16-year-old daughter went out the other day with five holes (complete with ladders) in her black tights. I said nothing. If I put on a pair of tights and there's a hole in them, I take them off and put them in the bin. But she doesn't (even though she's got new ones in the drawer). Why? I have no idea.
Last weekend, my 18-year-old son said he was going out.
'Where?' I said.
'I don't know,' he said.
I waited for more information. None came. I tried to trace some anxiety in his expression. But he didn't seem to mind that he didn't know where he was supposed to be going. Why? I have no idea.
It gets worse. My daughter was furious recently when I emptied her bin. Imagine. I emptied her bin.
'It's private!' she said.
'It's rubbish,' I said, bewildered.
'It is still,' she said icily, 'private.'
Every so often, parents have to negotiate this fog of extreme mystification - mostly because our teenagers' schools ask us to.
'I had an email from your form tutor,' I said to my son, 'saying you weren't at school yesterday.'
He frowned. 'But I was,' he said.
I struggled on, feeling I had to get the bottom of this somehow.
'So why does he think you weren't?' I said.
There's a pause. My son thinks about this. 'I don't know,' he says.
My daughter's school wants to know her A-level choices next week. I don't dare ask her. I don't think I've got the strength.