Living with a 12-year old is very much like riding a roller coaster in the dark. You have no idea where you're going, when you're going to climb, when you're going to level off and when you're going to plunge.
And forget about seatbelts.
In the past 24 hours TinyTuna has gone from giddy happy to ungodly unpleasant to tired and mopey to extremely even-keeled, thoughtful and (in outstanding Tuna tradition) partly funny with scattered sarcasm and smart-ass.
It started yesterday morning with her new Junior Lifeguard class. There is nothing like a pool (or an ocean) make TinyTuna's day. She came back drippy but bouncing off the walls, all geeked about swimming. She then celebrated by inhaling all of her lunch ... and half of mine.
The afternoon was OK until it was time to leave the office. When her request for yet another beverage purchase was declined by the bank of mom (due to the very logical reasoning that it takes all of 5 minutes to get home and then she could drink whatever she wanted) she went into full Satan mode and walked with great fury ahead of me all the way to the car. I was slightly amused as we approached the parking lot because she didn't know where I had parked the car, and I was curious how far her rage would take her across before she realized she didn't know which way to go.
The snit continued after dinner as we ran a quick errand to buy some curtains. As we were standing in line she found a display case full of makeup kits that were packaged like tiny old fashioned suitcases or hatboxes.
"Will you buy me one of these?" She asked.
"Nope," I answered. "You don't wear makeup."
"But..." She stammered. "They're so pretty. PLEASE?"
"No." I answered again. "I'm not buying anything today. Besides, You. Don't. Wear. Makeup."
On and on and around and around it went, and I was in NO mood to have the makeup argument. Not accepting my very logical reasoning that she was too young to wear makeup and I wasn't going to buy it, she turned to me in unholy rage and spewed, "I AM NOT YOUNG! I AM A PRE-ADULT!!!"
At which point, I broke every caring, loving, gentle parenting rule there is, and laughed out loud.
And then I said "No" yet again. And laughed some more.
She came home and spent some quality time laying on her bed with her own personal storm cloud over her own little head. And then...she got up, cleaned her room, returned to a rather pleasant young lady and apologized.
This morning, she was back to her well-behaved, acting far beyond her years self again. While we drove to work we talked about opera. She was quite intrigued with the story of Tosca, and figured out the ending before I was halfway through explaining the second act (No WAY was he going to let them go. If the bad guy says there won't be any bullets ... FOR SURE there is going to be bullets). Then she went so far as to compliment me on my clothes and asked why I was so dressed up. I gave the stock because it was clean answer. She looked me over, cocked an eyebrow, and said with a bit of an evil grin, "OK. We can go with that...if that's you want."
Twelve. Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.