I thought my four kids had reached the zenith of what therapists call resentful attachment. Maybe I just made that term up, but you know what I mean... But actually I've discovered a more logical and scientific explanation. Aliens landed in our backyard one night and inhabited the kids for what we earthlings call the Teen Years. Little do they know I have cracked their code.
*Eye rolling is clearly a signal to the Mothership and to each other that Kiwi EarthMother is in the room and to halt all Alien communications until she has left. I worked this out because any time I enter the room, I am greeted with an eye roll.
* Any seemingly rational and civilized observation or question on part of Kiwi EarthMother evokes the same look from them. I would describe it as a dizzying cocktail of pity-disgust-amazement - a look only Aliens could conjure.
*Alien No. 1, a 17 year old boy, must not be asked about school, grades, exams or graduation details. To do so is obviously a serious infringement of his Alien customs. It simply will not be countenanced.
*Shrugging is part of their vocabulary and will suffice for an answer on any given subject. I asked Alien No. 2, a 15 year old boy, if he had done anything that day. He shrugged. I repeated the question. Alien No 2 replied: "I said" - and he shrugged.
*Alien No 3, a 14 year old girl, will not be asked about friends, what they say, what she says back to them and why she is wearing that. All of that information is obviously classified on her planet. In addition she appears to have received (incorrect!) information from the Mothership that I am Crazy Kiwi EarthMother who will make a scene and embarrass her and anyone else in the vicinity and as such must be kept in the dark about all of the above.
*Child Four, a boy who is 11 years old, does not seem to have been taken over by the Aliens - yet. Though it appears he has an unusually selective memory. He cannot remember to return his homework to school. And yet the other day I found a photo from when he was at pre-school, eight long years ago. He had red stains around his mouth and on his shirt. He said immediately: "Oh, I remember that popsicle. I remember it exactly!"
But yes, I'm the one that's winning on this, don't you worry about that. Oh ho ho. They are NOT getting the better of the earthling mother. And I am sure they are relaying this to the Mothership as we speak.