Wednesday, January 13, 2010

That's Just the Way It Is

The last hour is an hour full of tweenager angst. Aubrey has been in a delightful, snuggly, happy, outgoing mood all morning. When requested to get dressed for her art class she put on her old, almost outgrown, grossly stained tae-kwon-do uniform. I informed her she couldn't wear that in public and she needed to change.

Raised voices, tears, angst, and slamming doors followed. All from her. Though I feel that I contributed to the drama by not articulating my viewpoint very well. This is good though. I'm being called out of my automatic responses and really trying to know why I'm saying some things.

Why is it so important that my children wear unstained clothes and clean clothes and that they themselves are clean? Aubrey really wants to know. And "because it's gross" isn't cutting it for her.

And the irritating thing is I just can't seem to find an answer to satisfy her. Or myself really. I'm unsure how to put it into words. It has something to do with self-confidence and self-respect; I know that. And how you are judged by others. Unfortunately that is in there, too.

I think it is that particular point that set off the escalating trauma for Aubrey today. That I mentioned what others would think of her. Then there was something about her not caring about that (so I said I would have to then) and something about life lessons and learning to mind my own business and another slammed door. I didn't follow what she was saying because see was doing the melodramatic voice warble thing at the time. I don't think she was telling me to mind my own business, but maybe she was.

After the door slammed, Robert came out of his room and quietly called from the top of the stairs, "I think you should leave her alone now, Mom." Very wise. I wanted to keep talking -- trying to convince her of my point (whatever it was), but Robert was right. I needed to stop talking now and let her feel, process and decide on her own whatever was going to do.

She's changed into other clothes and is now politely and compassionately playing with Robert (which is rare these days). Even throughout the "fight" if you want to call it that, she emerged from her room two or three times to calmly try to articulate her thoughts and feelings. I was impressed. I hope that all our disagreements are handled this way, with open communication despite distressed feelings and snarky side comments. (By her, of course.) *snort*

I think some upcoming sewing projects will be some cool, loose-fitting clothes for both the kids. And they can pick out their own fabric.

I don't mind the color, style or type of clothing they wear (as long as it is weather-appropriate); nor do I mind what hairstyle, hair color or body piercings or tatoos they want or get. I believe it is important to express whatever you are feeling this way, or express who you are this way. But you've gotta be clean, dude. And I don't know why. That's just the way it is.

You know, I personally know two homeless people (that I know of) that I see on a regular basis and hang out with them. They are funny and intelligent and artistic. And clean. One's kinda kick back in his clothing style (more of what I might wear while lounging about on a Sunday, or to clean the garage, say) and has wild Afro-curly hair with a full beard; and one's got about one outfit. I've seen him wear a couple different shirts, but always the same pants, boots and coat. But neither of them smell, look dirty or have dirty looking or smelling clothes. They take more pride in their appearance than my children.

And that's what bothers me. But I don't know why. That's just the way it is.

1 comment:

HappyOrganist said...

oh I don't envy you. We have short ones right now. I've heard about teenagers - and I get along pretty well with the ones I've met so far - but they haven't been my own.

So far as 'why clean clothes' goes - I can't speak for your situation, but for us the main reason is so that our kids don't get taken away from us. =)