When everything changes

There’s a milestone in your daughter’s life that no one tells you about.

It slams you around third term of year 7 and has nothing to do with menarche.

I have no idea why it happens in third term, but all my mum friends agree that’s when girls change, quite dramatically.

A lot happens in that first year of high school. Your daughter suddenly becomes tall and sassy and independent.

When the youngest was in year 6 it seemed inconceivable that she’d be going to high school the following year. She was so little, just a baby.

But, within a few weeks of starting high school, she was all over it. It seemed inconceivable that she’d been in primary school the year before.

She was still my baby though. She’d be pressed against my side whenever we left the house. We were two peas in a pod. I can remember it verging on claustrophobic at times. People told me to enjoy it because it wouldn’t last.

I was a fool, I didn’t listen. It’s a bit like how you never know it’s the last time your child will hold your hand.

That little hand, nestled in yours … oh, I miss that!

You’ll also never know it’s the last time they won’t be embarrassed to be seen with you at the shops.

Over the past month or two, the youngest has found it increasingly shame-inducing to be seen with her mother.

At home, she’ll happily cuddle up with me in bed to watch the latest episode of The Bachelor, but outside those four walls, we’re strangers to each other.

This week, we had to wait until an hour after school before going to Woolies for supplies for today’s Medieval Day celebrations … to lessen the chances of other high schoolers being there and seeing us together.

Yesterday, I had to sign the youngest into school late because we’d been to the dermatologist to collect a whole new, expensive wad of prescriptions.

The youngest was mortified and walked five metres ahead of me so no one would know we’re related.

I’m not really loving being persona non grata. Though it’s waaaaaay worse to be the dad at this age.

When I told my ex the youngest needed to have two moles scraped to “stop the irritation” he replied “You mean she’ll no longer be irritated? That would be a change.”

The youngest is constantly irritated with her father. I feel a bit sorry for him.

I also feel sorry for myself because it’s a little lonely to have to pretend I don’t have a daughter when we’re in public.

I know it will turn around. Give it five or so years and we’ll be public buddies again. We have too much in common to not get along.

And so the witching years begin.

Song of the day: Police “Don’t stand so close to me”

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6 thoughts on “When everything changes

  1. Yes, sad. My daughter changed in July of year 7 exactly as you describe. Now at just 16 I’m ‘weird’ and slightly embarrassing. She still needs me though, and knows it. And this is from a girl who’s incredibly good – never slammed a door, said ‘I hate you.’ I’m advising all parents of younger children, ‘enjoy them thinking you’re wonderful.’ They smile, and you can see them thinking: that won’t happen to me.

  2. 18 year old is back to loving Mum, grabbing my hand in public, happy to be seen with me. I have always relished embarrassing my kids (in a good way), but it’s nice to have her laugh again when I do it instead of acting like I’ve committed a heinous crime. Hold on. All things change, including this.

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