Saturday, May 06, 2006

There's Trouble in River City

Oy Vey.

Older Girl's personality has changed radically over the last 10 days. She's gone from being vivacious and effervescent to moody and sullen. Yesterday afternoon, she cried for over an hour. I sat down with her and gave her hug...but she wouldn't open-up to me about what the problem is, and as of today, she still isn't talking.

Two days ago I asked her if she'd started her period yet. She's almost a month late.

Older Girl: No. But I'm not pregnant. I took a pregnancy test.
Jill (shocked): Where'd you get the money for that? When did that happen?
Older Girl: My friend Janie gave it to me. She had a few of them at home. I did it when I was at her house the other day.
Jill: Janie, as in the one who wanted to tell her parents that she was spending the night here when she was actually over at her boyfriend's house.
Older Girl: Yeah.
Older Girl: Everyone does that, you know.
Older Girl: Well it doesn't matter because it didn't happen. And I'm not pregnant. Besides, it wouldn't be your fault if I was because it would have happened in California before I got here.

Older Girl wanted to go with Janie this morning at 7am to get her car registered. Uh, DMVs aren't open on Saturdays at 8am, my dear. I have no idea where she was really going to go. But needless to say, that excursion was kaboshed.

While all of this is going on, I'm also starting to hear stories about homework due dates being cancelled by the teacher. This has happened 3 times. So I plan to meet with Older Girl's counselor at school to check in on her performance status. I'm just not getting a straight answer from her and I cannot trust that three teachers would assign projects and then say, "Oh never mind, they're not due."

I know that I'm gullible, but really now.

This is all taking me back to when my sales reps used to lie about being out in the field making sales calls. My gut told me that they were lying to my face but the only way to prove it was to go out in to the field and track them down. The truth about where one is or what one has done can be very squishy. Although I expected her to stretch the limits a bit, I told her that my one Zero Tolerance issue is lying.

I can't prove that she has lied to me...yet...but it's not looking good. And I am deeply disturbed by the pregnancy test issue, although I can't explain why. It's purely emotional.

I'm grateful for this exposure and lesson in managing (or not) a teenager. It's really opened my eyes to what's in the future for us after we adopt.

I will need to learn to accept betrayal and not grow resentful.
I will need to learn how to gauge behavior better.
I will need to learn how to foster an open discussion atmosphere so that they talk openly with me.
I will need to learn how and when to punish.
I will need to learn to feel more confident in being strict and setting up boundaries.

I have a long way to go before I'm any good at parenting a teenager. In the meantime, I'm concerned about Older Girl and her sudden transformation. It's as though she's emotionally stiff-arming me...and that's not her normal self.

This may require another dose of Botox.