Biologically Speaking…Teens and Pre-Teens

Photo courtesy of Phil Price

Photo courtesy of Phil Price

By Darlene Vanasco

Teenagers.  Pre-teenagers.

Pre-teenage GIRLS.

Sometimes I am not sure I am going to make it through this part of the trip, you know?

My friend, who has kids older than mine, has always said my children would “help” me separate from them. That nature would kick in and help it along, even though I could not imagine even letting them cross the street alone.

The time has come. Daughter is turning into a roller coaster of beauty and horribleness. I do not like her sometimes. No, I do not. I do not wish to be around her and her black pre-teen angst cloud of doom.

Luckily, I am divorced and so I can send her off to her father and get a reprieve from the hormonal onslaught of an almost eleven year-old girl. And in that space I can see the biology of the emerging person that she is kicking in and pushing me away, and I gratefully retreating.

I would not have believed it just two years ago. Back when she did not roll her eyes, and mutter under her breath and think it perfectly ok to comment on my every move.

These things happen for a reason. It is easier to let them go when they are putting out the nasty. The other day we had one of our now somewhat notorious morning interactions.

“Where's my lunch?” she asked. “You never make me lunch.”

“Ummm, sorry? YOU need to make your lunch, remember?” I say, disgusted.

“Ariana's mother makes HER lunch. I am the only one at the table whose mother does not make the lunch.”

“Maybe you should go sit somewhere else.” I say, with a slight snark.

“Mutter mutter unintelligible mutter.” she mutters.

“DO NOT mutter at me. Muttering is not acceptable. If you have something to say, say it!”

(Long pause, complete with squinty-eyed “now-I-will-say-nothing” punishing stare).

Don't get down on her level I am telling myself. Do not, do not.

“What's with the eyeball thing?” I seethe. “Huh? Eyeball rolling, eyeball squinting...eyeball, eyeball! Stop with the eyeball! No more eyeballs!”

(Another long pause, now with new improved EXTRA eyeballing).

“That's it!” I say. “No more eyeball in the house, ever again!” Like somehow this statement will allow me to gain control of her bodily gesturing.

She turns, back to me. I can't see her face. Arms crossed. Pretending to be waiting to leave the house. But I know she is eyeballing.


DarleneDarlene is a teacher-mother-designer-writer who is recently transplanted  to Philadelphia from Brooklyn. Her writings on mothering and growing up  female emerged as a sanity-saving device and productive alternative to crying  on the kitchen floor. She can be found at or you can  read the antidotal stories of insanity, reality and progress on her blog: