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  • Writer's pictureTina

I Should Become a Dog Person...

I have concluded that being the parent of a teenage girl is a lot like loving a cat with all your heart and soul. I love cats; I really do. If truth be told, I prefer a cat over a dog. I love all animals, but if asked if I am a cat or dog person, I will answer that I am a cat person. It's a good thing I am a cat person because my now teenage daughter is very cat-like. It's not just that she is lean and sinewy, with incredible reflexes and superpowered balance. It's the whole "cattitude-thing" she has going on. She is snuggling up one minute, and I think, "Aww, I love her so much! Look how adorable!" The next minute, she is hissing at me and ready to scratch my eyes out of my face. Sigh.

Allow me to reflect upon how my beloved baby turned teen is now the equivalent of a temperamental feline. It is not out of the realm of normal for a cat to hide, be antisocial, and ignore one when called. The same can be said for my child. She spends all her time in her room unless it is to be fed. When she is fed, sometimes she eats with relish, and other times she turns up her nose like what is in front of her is the most disgusting thing on the planet. If one is to remove the offensive plate too soon, one is hissed at and even batted away. This, however, is only if one can get a response from her when she is called to dinner. Sometimes, she acknowledges my presence and my voice; other times, she chooses to ignore my very existence. More often than not, I have The Bibbed Wonder call her to dinner. She is less likely to ignore her dad. Sigh.

I was once a teenage girl. I grew up in the eighties and nineties when hair was BIG. I do not recall excessive shedding when I was a teenager. My child, again, is very cat-like in the fact that she sheds constantly. I am forever picking up gobs of hair the size of large rodents from the most obscure places. Yes, the bathroom floor is the most common area of shedding. However, the shower wall, the couch, the coffee table, and my shoes are some of the more popular places I find massive wads of hair. When asked to please not leave wads of hair the size of a rat in the shower/shoe/coffee table, she growls and asks in an exasperated tone what she is to do with said gobs of hair. When I look at her in disbelief, grab the garbage can, and show her the wonders of modern garbage disposal, she flicks her offensive hair over her shoulder and slinks off to hide in her room—growling and hissing the entire time. Sigh.

The Bean is also very cat-like in her quest for affection. Have you ever had a cat that rolls over and engulfs your hand in its claws and mouth when you pet it, biting and scratching you until it draws blood? Yeah, that's what it's like when I hug my kid, play with her hair, or put my arm around her. Most of the time, she jerks away from me and grumbles something about me being cringey. Unless I am engrossed in an activity that requires my undivided attention. When I am occupied with something other than her, she suddenly wants to sit with me, hold my hand, put her head on my lap, or snuggle up. Of course, she knows I'm not going to turn her away. However, I swear it is purposeful and a power thrust. Sigh.

Teenage girls are also prone to napping in soft, warm places, usually right in the center of the action of the house...just like cats. The Bean falls asleep in the best seat in the house and naps for hours so that everyone, including the dogs, tip-toes around her so as not to awaken a moody, angry beast. Like cats, my teenage daughter requires at least forty-six hours of sleep daily. When she awakens from her fortieth hour of slumber, she growls, stretches, and complains she didn't get enough sleep. Remember Grumpy Cat, the adorable squishy-faced feline that viewed the world with sarcasm and wit? Yeah, that accurately portrays my daughter when she wakes up.

Last but not least, my teenage daughter has an affinity for shiny, glittery, and sparkly things. However, like a cat, she also loses interest in said shiny objects faster than one can say, "Meow." I simply can't keep up with what is cool, sick, fire, or slay. Yetis are out, and Stanleys are in. However, Stanleys of a specific color are out. Skinny jeans are out, and flared legs are in. Leggings are in, but sweatpants are out. One cannot wear sneakers to school because "nobody does that, mom!" Coats are out, and hoodies are in. Ponytales are out; half-up is in. Music artists are canceled when we loved their vibe just last week. I can't possibly keep up. I pray Taylor Swift is still cool in October when we go to her concert. I will be upset if I plan a trip to New Orleans to see Tay-Tay, and she is no longer considered cool. Sigh. If I'm being transparent, I can't even keep up with the terminology. Cool, Slay, Sick, Fire, Vibe oh, my favorite, when my fifteen-year-old daughter begins a sentence with, "GIRL..." I am not a girl; I am your mother. I have not been a girl for a very long time. Do not reference me as some random female you find annoying...insert irritated sigh.

I am well aware of the fact that one's beloved canine will sit patiently by the corpse of their dead owner and starve to death before it eats said beloved, deceased owner. However, a cat will eat its devoted and beloved owner once that beloved owner has passed, usually beginning with the devoted deceased owner's face. Yeah, that's my teenage daughter. I'm not even sure I have to be deceased for her to eat my face off. Sigh. Perhaps I should become a dog person...

On this sunny winter's day, stay safe, be smart, love your teenager even if they want to eat your face off, and be patient; teen years don't last forever; hold onto hope that one day they will be human beings again, and keep washing your hands. Parenting a teenager is a dirty business.

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