Okay, so maybe waving the bra around the kitchen was a little over the top.
But carrying an umbrella?
Each day I manage to unwittingly contribute an action or a comment which triggers my teen’s latest and favourite mantra.
“Don’t mum, it’s embarrassing!”
The bra incident was a reflex action when I found the undergarment sopping wet in the laundry. Knowing she only has to wear an item of clothing for five minutes before she renders it dirty, I did what any mother would do.
I walked into the kitchen brandishing it, asking if it was dirty, or just wet, from the water pistol fights she’d been having with the neighbours.
It was as if I’d walked into the room naked with a cherry on top.
The neighbourhood kids, three younger girls, and her opponents in the water pistol game, froze. My teen opened her mouth like a floundering goldfish, no sound coming out.
“What?” I asked holding the bra aloft.
“I just want to know if it needs a wash.”
That’s when the giggles started. You know, the stifled giggles of little girls who find something either outrageously funny, or extremely awkward.
One of them, Sas, broke the silence.
“If my mum had done that,” she declared, “I would never speak to her again.” And Sas is three years younger than the teen. Clearly, her embarrassment radar is very finely tuned.
The teen nodded in affirmation, glaring at me with a “We’ll talk about this later” look.
It appears I didn’t get the `Never Talk About Bras In Public In Front Of Your 13-year-old Daughter’ memo. Just as I never received the `It’s No Longer Cool To Carry An Umbrella’ note.
The offending accessory is a little mauve, fold-up number which lives in the boot of the car ready for emergencies. It’s proved a very handy little thing, but is now apparently an insult to all things fashionably decent.
“Oh no, don’t take that, it’s embarrassing,” the teen gasped when I grabbed it the other day to walk around the dog park. “You look so dysfunctional.”
Dysfunctional? My sparky little umbrella, which she chose I may add, now shrieks that I’m dysfunctional. As does my natty little nylon backpack which I’ve had for years. In fact, I remember her begging me for one exactly the same to add to her backpack collection of assorted colours, shapes and sizes.
But I also remember her as a tweenie, when she thought everything I did and said was marvelous. As a tween, she became a little more sceptical, but certainly never employed any sort of censorship, except for dancing in public – I was not so much as allowed to tap a toe. Now, as a teen, it’s a whole different ball game, with the goalposts moved every day.
What she used to think was hilarious, she now finds embarrassing. What she used to think of as normal is now dysfunctional, while quirky behaviour she previously thought of as cute, is now certifiable.
Embarrassing, dysfunctional and certifiable … phew! Good to know I’m right on track and a totally normal mother of a teenage girl.