Nov 6, 2008

What 12 year old girls don't tell Dad

My almost teenage daughter is struggling at school this year. I know it's a combination of her sudden interest in boys and losing her mother, but it's still frustrating. I ask questions, I follow up, I remind her of various events, but I can't do the work for her. So while I'm reviewing her grades I see that she is failing athletics. Yes, seriously, athletics. Her grade has dropped to a 58 because she won't wear the gym clothes at school. When I asked why, I get "I left them in my locker". So as the wise and astute Dad I think I am I see this as an organization problem. I proceed to fix it by giving her step by step instructions (how ignorant!). If only I could refactor and recode my kids as easily as some C# or VB.

A week or so later, her grandmother quickly finds out that the issue is that she doesn't want to show her legs in gym because of her eczema. Now, that is obviously the real reason but I never would've guessed, and she wasn't going to tell me. So now I remind her to put lotion on her legs each night and she has sweat pants to wear during gym. One failing grade down...three more to go.

Now this is the same girl who rushes home to tell me about cute boys, and all the reasons why she should have a boyfriend. And I listen...a lot, and talk very little (even though my head is spinning!). But for the life of me I don't know why she can speak about all her "crushes" but hides her self esteem issues from me. To me they would go hand in hand. I guess that's why I'm Dad and not Mom. Thank God for a whole set of wonderful sisters (in-law) that can step in for me here. Not to mention the whole host of other family that have been supporting us. Raising kids is the hardest job I'll ever love. Raising a teenage girl is something all together different! Equal but different.

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