Let me tell you about my favorite sound in the whole wide world. It goes like this, “MooooooooooOOOOOOOoooommmmmmm!” and it is hysterical.
It’s the sound my daughter makes whenever I am humiliating her beyond words. She can’t do anything to complain besides just kind of MOO my name at me. It’s freaking great.
My favorite sound usually comes along with one of my favorite activities: Torturing the pre-pube. What is a pre-pube, you might ask? Well, I’ll be mighty glad to tell you! My daughter is a pre-pube. I used to call her a teenager, but she was quick to let me know that I was dead wrong on that. She informed me she is only 12 and a half. She is NOT a teenager YET (God, Mom…). Well, I like to round up. I’ve been telling people I’m 35 since I turned 34. I’m stupid like that. I lie about how old I am the wrong way. I figure that if I round up far enough, people will eventually start saying I look good for my age. When you’re not getting compliments, you start to get creative about what you consider to be compliments. Yep. I’m 34 going on 42. Damn right I look good for my age!
Anyway, my 12 year old daughter was chastising me for calling her a teenager. Hey, I thought it was, like, a compliment or something! I thought all little girls wanted to be teenagers so they could… shit, I don’t know… what do teenagers do?
I know what teenagers like me do.
. . . We’re going to pretend that my daughter isn’t going to turn out to be a teenager like I was. (I can hear grandparents all over the world laughing as I’m sure I’m not the first mother to hope this…)
So she tells me not to call her a teenager anymore.
I say, “What do you want me to call you? You’re not making me call you a tween, are you? God, please don’t make me say ‘tween’!”
She agrees that the word tween is awful but I am expressly forbidden from calling her a teenager until she actually and officially is a teenager.
I smile my Alpha dog smile. What do Alpha dogs do in this situation? They pee on the weaker dog or something? I search my vocabulary so I can verbally pee on my daughter.
“Well, I’m not calling you an adolescent because that’s too many syllables. And the word teen has been banished to the tower until your 13th birthday, so… hey, you ARE prepubescent, aren’t you? You know what puberty is, right?”
The look of mortification starts to spread on her face… “Mooommm….”she says, “Call me a preteen! Don’t say puberty! Gross!”
“No, really,” I say. “Pre-Teenager just has so many syllables, you know? I don’t have time for all those syllables! No, you’re prepubescent. You haven’t reached puberty yet because your little girl boobies aren’t quite in yet so you are PRE-puberty. Nothing to be embarrassed about! It’s not gross, it’s natural! You know what Pre is a prefix for, right? It’s like, BEFORE puberty. So you are BEFORE puberty since you haven’t started your period yet, right?”
“Pre-pubescent… pubescent… gosh… that’s a mouth full! I should probably abbreviate that! Gosh, that’s so PERFECT! Pre-Pube! You know, since it’s before you get pubes!”
And there it is. My sound!
I only love it because I can hear her smile in it. I can hear that she knows I only try to embarrass her because I love her and I’m here for her and will always be on team “Pre-Pube.”
She knows I’m ridiculous. She tells me that preteen and prepube have the same amount of syllables. I say, “Shut up, Pre-Pube,” and we laugh. Well, I laugh. She rolls her eyes. (And she wonders why I started calling her a teenager…) And she also smiles because she knows as talented as I am at embarrassing her, I’m even better at embarrassing myself.
But I wasn’t embarrassing myself at the time. I was enjoying precious time with my precious, growing-up-before-my-eyes daughter. My Pre-Pube.
However, once she makes it onto team Pube she might be on her own. 😉