Monday, August 31, 2009

Estrogen Overload

The brain cloud is clearing, the fuzziness that settled in and made the past week or so rather, well... filled with blonde moments... is finally subsiding, and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. That sigh will be complete tomorrow when I hand in my promotion and tenure materials. Thank God. I feel really good about them, too. So much so, I'm done talking about it for awhile.

No, what is really fascinating me right now is estrogen. Estrogen, and all those fun hormones that run amuck in puberty stricken young women. Namely, my oldest - DD1.

Bless her heart - she is teary eyed at the drop of a hat. Her anxiety level is easy to kick in. And nothing is fair. Particularly how she has to do everything because she is the oldest. These days it seems like she is in a constant stage of PMS, and perhaps that is the best way to describe it.

I have to admit I've enjoyed this age way more than I thought I would. I secretly dreaded middle school with her, and I have good reason for that - middle school is hell. We survived her first year, and while I'm not really sure what this year has in store, I've decided I could either fret about it or laugh about it. So far, laughing is winning.

Watching her is amazing, though. She is torn between doing the things she wants to do and the things she thinks she is supposed to do. Last week we went to a local playground after dinner and she ran around like a kid - it was great watching her. Earlier that day we went shopping and she bought things that fit a certain image that she is trying to create. Such a dichotomy of wants and needs, yet both fascinating and fun to be a part of.

So, Sunday, when I was in the midst of the insanity that is tenure and promotion, I let the kids know that I would need to go to the office for awhile. They were fine with staying home and being couch potatoes. Prior to my leaving, we folded clothes and I had the kids put their clothes away. For some reason, this prompted a hissy fit on DD1's part about her sister being in her space, clothes that aren't hers, how her clothes don't fit right, etc. I was in my fog, so I don't remember much about it other than being mildly irritated with her. She made some comment about how her room was driving her nuts, so she disappeared for awhile. A little bit of time passed. I talked with DD2 as I got ready to go, and then walked back towards DD1's room to let her know I was leaving, making what I thought was sufficient noise and saying something to her as I approached.

I walked into her room, and she was behind the closet door throwing things around. As she crumpled up bags that were in her closet, she emerged from the closet and proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs "WHAT?????", then she jumped - I assume she thought I was her sister - and started into a loud, hysterical, crying mantra of "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!...." I did not respond verbally, but I know the look on my face was one of shock combined with the visual equivalent of "What the hell do you think you are you doing?"

It was one of those times I didn't have to say anything. What would I say, anyway? She knew she had majorly overstepped, and she was getting hysterical because of it. I may have been in that fog, but there are times that the best consequence is no discipline, so I left the room for a moment and got her some tissue, and when I returned I asked her if she needed to sit in my lap for a bit. She curled into a fetal position, sat in my lap and just bawled, continuing to apologize. She was clearly punishing herself more than I ever would for the incident. I couldn't help but think this is similar to the relationship between God and us - we majorly overstep, and we realize it, and God welcomes us into His arms, loving us despite our mistakes.

She finally calmed down, and I left the kids at home for a few hours while I was at the office. Later that night we talked about earlier in the day, and while she was still apologizing, she was also half laughing/half crying about it.

I wouldn't trade places with her for all the money in the world. I have determined there is a reason puberty happens when it does; unconditional love has set in, otherwise it would be too easy to kill the kids. Still, getting to watch her grow up, and knowing a lot of what she has in store - both the positive and the negative - well, it's pretty cool. I will be happy when the hormonal surges become a little more predictable, though.

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