What is it with 10-year-old girls these days, or is it just mine?
'Er Mum, why are you trying so hard to be a teenager? You're 41!!! You are going to put a coat on aren't you?'
'Oh sorry Lily Bea', I scream (in my head of course, you don't think I'm stupid enough to answer HER back). 'Granddad has just called and asked for his 1990s catchphrase!'
I maintain faux-brave eye contact but my internal protestations have no effect; she breathes in deeply, raises her ever-present, judgmental eyebrow (I've secretly named her Roger Moore) and saunters off to get dressed for Girl's Brigade.
Maybe it's not her. Maybe it is me? See! She's got me questioning myself. Was the skirt too short, the shirt too tight? Have my maturing years made me lose sight of the good taste barometer?
I know what you're thinking here...mutton dressed as lamb. Another sad 40 something clinging to the halcyon days of Mad Dog 20/20 and the heady laser lights of her local nightclub (which incidentally, won Discotheque of the year TWICE in the late 80s). But honestly, in my eyes I'm channeling Kate Moss as opposed to Katie Price (before she too began channeling Le Mosse).
I like my daughter...No, really; I do, but the last few years I've noticed a very pious butterfly emerge from the chrysalis of the adoring caterpillar. The excited oooh ahhhhs of 'they're so shiny mummy, I love the sparkles on your shoes, can I wear, can I wear?' being replaced by the afore mentioned raised eyebrow and questions like 'is that my luminous scrunchy? You do know that they're for kids right; and teenagers maybe...but not women, and definitely not mums of YOUR age.' Like she has any idea I'm wearing it with an ironic insouciance that would make Carrie Bradshaw proud.
Now don't get me wrong, she is the best daughter a girl (ok, woman) could ask for. But maybe she could do with being a little less opinionated. A touch less scathing maybe.
I recently showed her some clips of Ab Fab but I don't think she saw any distinction from real life and started referring to herself as 'poor Saffy'.
When we go out for dinner; me, her, him indoors and the 14-year-old boy, she's got the lines down pat.
'Another glass of wine Mum?' I look up to Roger watching my every move. 'Have you thought about trying elderflower water, Grace's mum has it, she NEVER drinks alcohol'?
When we have friends round for dinner...'Cards Against Humanity!!!' she cries. 'You're playing that again. I do not know what has gotten into you and Daddy' (yes Daddy, 'cos he's still, er, well he's still Daddy, obviously)!
I do have my 14-year-old ally. Or I did until recently at his end of season football awards. Suspicions rose when he actually walked into the bedroom to chat of his own free will. He sat on the bed while I busied around in my bathrobe getting ready.
'Alright Mum,' he says in his recently acquired man voice. 'Er do you mind not wearing high heels, or anything too tight tonight? Or anything see-through or those clashing patterns that only you seem to wear. It's just a football do yeah?'
We both know that it is not a question and is merely a statement of facts, which I will undoubtedly adhere to.
'Thanks Mum. Oh and I definitely wouldn't bother with that bright red lipstick. In fact, probably no need to worry about make-up at all. See ya.'
WTF happened to my kids? Is this now the face of rebellion? A perfect school report, football trophies and a healthy dose of disdain?
But I'm cool I cry! Not like my folks were with their glam rock, German Pilsner and swinging parties with car keys in the '70s ashtray (I don't think this is actually true, but after watching Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline in the Ice Storm, I have reimagined my childhood years).
I look at the evidence and realization dawns. It's the same embarrassing shit isn't it, just a different generation.
I have become my Mum. Or to my daughter, her Mum; and Mum's just aren't cool. And therein lies the absolute.
I just never thought it would happen to me.
Lily Bea aged 10
Mums and their ways...
If there's one thing a mum shouldn't be doing, it's pretending to be my older sister, what can I say, it is the story of my life! Well maybe my mum hasn't been this extreme but I wouldn't say she's been completely sane all the way through either... nothing mind blowing, midlife crisis crazy, yet still bonkers enough!
I suppose, in a way, I'm quite proud of my mum. She doesn't care what other people think about what she does or how she looks, and I guess she is entitled to have an opinion on how she dresses, at the end of the day and should it really matter how we look? Shouldn't we be allowed to dress like we're twenty years younger than our actual age?!?!
Of course, I'm probably not going to stop asking her to "put a coat on" or "stop showing her bra" because really, I'm only trying to protect her. So I've decided, if she feels good in something, then I'll complain a little, but let her wear it.
And if she thinks she's cool, who am I to argue ; )Suggest a correction