The other night, we took our kids to see Ray Davies, former lead singer of The Kinks. Even before the band took to the stage, my daughter Annie was badgering me for earplugs. In fact, it was Annie who reminded my husband to bring them along.
But that was nothing new for my younger daughter. At 12, Annie is my new mom, the one who flashes me nasty glares if a bad word slips from my mouth. I’ve only said ‘crap’ twice in front of her, too afraid to say anything worse in her presence. She complains if music is too loud, rants about people smoking and lectures me if I drive too fast.
Annie has always been this way. At six, she followed my husband Jeff into the kitchen at a party to see if he was helping himself to a second beer. When he did, she told him, “I think you’ve already had one, Dad.” Okay, who brought Granny Annie to the party?
Annie is also a diehard feminist. When Jeff jokingly whistled at a mannequin in the Victoria’s Secret window, she glared at him and walked faster to get away from him. “Dad, you’re the worst of the day,” she turned and shouted at him.
Annie even knows to eat her vegetables, her favorite food group. When my sister-in-law took Annie and her cousins to the mall and fed them smoothies for lunch, Annie turned to her and asked, “When can I have a real lunch? Maybe some soup?”
Sometimes, it feels as if I’m living with my mother all over again. When she went to a friend’s birthday party recently, Jeff, Samantha and I watched a movie that we knew would have off-color language. We felt like naughty kids getting away with something while mom was out for the night.
Don’t get me wrong. Annie is every bit a kid. She loves video games — Angry Birds is a current favorite — hanging out with her friends and listening to Taylor Swift. She bickers with her sister, hates to do chores and loves to eat candy.
Still, there’s something old in that lovely young soul of hers. Someday I predict she’ll be the college killjoy, the one who goes around her dorm telling the other kids to stop partying, blasting their music or carousing in the hallways after 10 pm.
Until then, I’m enjoying her company, even if it means I have to watch what I say.