I haven’t been spending much time with my daughter recently. I’ve been busy. One night, when I was going out, I’d been out several nights that week already, she said to me:
“I feel like I live alone”.
“Explain proportional representation.”
“Der” she announces, in her teenage way “of course it’s better. Der. Why don’t we just do it?”
“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.”
“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”.
“Right Saturday afternoon my mate and I are dying my hair brown.”
“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”.
“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!”