My daughter -- my sweet, happy-go-lucky baby girl was possessed.
As frustrating as it is for me, I’m careful not to give her the kookoo-for-cocoa-puffs side-eye, or be dismissive of the venom that might escape her lips because all too often, hormonal blame is the eraser of valid thoughts and feelings.
You know the excuses: “Oh, she’s just PMS-ing" or it’s “That Time of the Month” or "She’s Menopausal" or "She’s Perimenopausal.” Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. It's a diagnosis that negates whatever your complaint is no matter how valid.
Which is even more frustrating, because nine times out of ten you’re having an out-of-body experience even as you’re going off on what or whomever. You hear your own voice and you know you sound like a crazy person, but you also know that what you’re saying is the truth. Just kicked up a hormonal notch or two. Or three.
I’m also doing everything in my power to be patient, because even as she’s a newbie to the monthly hormonal madness, I’ve been in it for a long while with new elements being introduced with each passing year: acne; temperature swings that have me holding my head out the car window like a dog on a joy ride and the slow, sure, steady decline of my metabolism. So I’m reminded that I need to be extra patient with her changes even as I manage the havoc monthly biology wreaks on me.
Like the amplification of minor annoyances like questions. Simple questions. Simple questions from Jamie, in particular.
His questions are ordinary. Routine. They happen every day. All the time. Just like bleeping clockwork. Every day until death us do part or the apocalypse.
But I digress. [deep breath] They're questions like:
“Do we have hot dogs?”(as he’s standing in the kitchen in front of the refrigerator) My blood begins to simmer and I’m thinking Why are you asking me instead of looking? Time slows down and I see him blink once, twice -- wide-eyed like a five-year-old. Then I’m screaming on the inside: PROBLEM-SOLVE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! GRAB THE SHINY LONG THING ON THE BIG WHITE BOX RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, PULL ON IT AND LOOK INSIDE! YOU MAY HAVE TO LOOK UP, OR DOWN OR MAYBE EVEN SIDE TO SIDE, BUT LOOK FOR YOURSELF!!When you're hormonal, another "routine" question feels like an anvil dropping on your toe:
Instead I say: You’ll have to check the fridge, hon.
“Mmmm…smells good. What’re we having? Noodles? Macaroni and cheese? Tuna casserole?” (as he’s looking at his filled dinner plate) Cue internal screaming: JUST EAT IT! ARE YOUR SENSES NOT WORKING?! CAN YOU OPERATE THAT PRONGY-FORKIE THING IN YOUR HAND OR SHOULD I FEED YOU? Over stifled screaming, I eke out: It’s tuna casserole...darling.
“Hey…what’s the weather supposed to be like tomorrow?”Doesn’t matter that my teeth were ground down a little bit in the process, I had contained several potential hormone-driven, valid rants.
Internal screaming is now an internal rage-filled rant: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! IN ADDITION TO WORKING, COOKING, CLEANING, FINDING EVERYONE’S LOST STUFF, NOW I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A BLEEPING METEOROLOGIST?!
After a few deep breaths, I advise: A little chilly so you’ll need to wear your sweatshirt…SWEETHEART.
So in the case of our temporarily possessed girl, I understand. I sympathize with her – even if the object of irritation was me. She heard me tell her to wash her hands three times in a span of ten minutes and she had simply had enough. Hormones are new to her and she hasn’t mastered the art of internal screaming yet; hence the head-spinning, levitating and hissing. It was just the tween version of my hormone-driven internal tantrums.
Hormone-filled, yes. But still valid.