"I feel like I live alone".
Last night, I catered a gig. It was work. Badly paid. But work. I got home at midnight and, as usual, went into my daughter's bedroom. I saw her sleeping form, the soft pale skin, her little head of tumbled blonde hair, the slender hands ...I kissed her, breathing in her still child-like smell. I love her I thought. This is all that counts. I must spend more time with her. And more importantly, be present when I'm with her. Because even when I'm home, I'm not. My mind is elsewhere or I'm on the computer. Or I'm worrying. Or thinking. Or planning.
She asks me questions nowadays, interesting questions...
"Explain proportional representation."
We go through it. At first sight it looks like a good idea.
"Der" she announces, in her teenage way "of course it's better. Der. Why don't we just do it?"
And then I explain further. That with PR you also get the BNP...and the Greens and lots of little parties. They then have to form coalitions to be able to wield any power. So you end up with a big messy compromising party anyway.
Then, switching subjects rapidly she asks:
"Can I have my tongue pierced?"I look at her. I feel stupidly anxious. I don't want her to have her tongue pierced. I want her to have brown long hair again, untouched by hair dye. I want to see her in her ballet outfit again. I want her to curl up in my arms at night. I want her to think I am the bestest most important fantastic loveable human being in the world again. Like she used to. I want to be called 'mummy' rather than 'muuuuum' or when she's annoyed, 'mother'.
I say lightly, a little cruelly: "If you let your hair go back to it's natural colour, you can have your tongue pierced."
It was a joke. I then attempt a weak excuse like:
"Isn't it dangerous? Can't you get an infection?"And even more weakly, grasping at straws...
"What if you get in a fight? They could, like, rip your tongue out".
"You said that about my pierced ears mum. And I've never been in a fight".
This morning she was leaving for school.
"Right Saturday afternoon my mate and I are dying my hair brown."
I'm still only half awake.
"Is it a good idea to keep dying it?" I ask gently "it will end up frizzy".
"Well I'm doing what you said."I look non-plussed.
"I'm dying my hair brown so I can have my tongue pierced".
I gasp. "What? That was a joke".
Her expression changes. She mutters something. It sounds like 'bitch'.
"What did you say?"I'm thinking I've got to put a stop to this. The disrespectful way she talks to me.
"You are TOTALLY evil. Oh my god you are a LIAR. You said I could have my tongue pierced. LIAR"
"It was a joke. You knew it was a joke!"
She slams out of the front door, cursing, upset. She's got GSCE tests today. I'm worried. I don't want her to be upset. I'm also thinking, why do I want to control her appearance? You are only young once. Let her experiment.