Standing in the kitchen, munching on some sourdough toast spread with Brittany salted butter and Marmite XO, she looks at her mobile phone and says
"Only one happy birthday text."
"Shall I send you one then?" I reply wryly.
She rolls her eyes "Popularity is measured by how many happy birthday texts you get, how many pages of happy birthdays on Facebook. None of my friends have texted."
"Maybe because you will be seeing them face to face in an hour and they can say it verbally?" I suggest.
"You need happy birthdays in at least two ways...." she explains.
" Two platforms?" I venture.
"Yeah." Her phone beeps "Oh, got another one. Clearly this person doesn't know me very well, they can't even spell my name right." She ponders "It must be this boy I know that's dyslexic" She replies to his text...." Ah no, it's his friend " She laughs slightly "I'll tell him to stop stalking me"
She looks down at her phone "Another one. From Grandma. I'm going to look such a loser"
She's wearing incredibly high heels. I've been worrying about how she dresses recently. Men have been following her home. My teen says that happens to all her friends, not just her and it doesn't make any difference what she wears, men still harrass her in the street. But what can you do? You can't lock up your daughter.
"Are you taking flats?" I ask
"God you sound like a granny" she retorts "no offence. Anyway, stop worrying mum, look at me! High necked top, long trousers, every inch covered"She caught me googling 'serial killers' and 'paedophiles' the other night.
"So what are you going to do today?" I ask "now you are 16"
"Fuck loads of guys, leave home" she whips back. "No, actually 16 is rubbish. You can't do anything. I can't even vote. I think the voting age should be brought down and they should do more politics in school. "
An election is coming up and she can't participate.
The teen "You adults can't imagine how frustrating it is not to be able to buy anything you like, go anywhere you like, clubs, pubs..."
She stops and nods, eyes shining "18 is the big one. That's when everything will change. I'm going to go crazy then"