Firstborn has become a bit of a diva. The household vibe used to be dominated by The Small(er) One - who kind people described as 'determined' - but since she turned into a reasonable human being recently (almost overnight, we are still reeling in shock and, truth be told, slightly suspicious), the mantle has been taken on with astonishing verve by Firstborn.
Clothing is a whole new battlefield as Firstborn refuses to wear anything except one of two pairs of increasingly ratty-looking shorts and a few tired-looking blue or brown t-shirts; how I long for a return of the good old days, when the colour pink reigned and Firstborn modelled her look on that of Dolly Parton. But the lack of sartorial elegance is the least of my worries.
The suggestion that homework needs to be completed (or indeed, anything that doesn't involve playing or watching cartoons) is invariably met with an upward eye-roll and a bellowed: "Oh, Mummy!", followed by slammed doors, bitter tears and the inevitable accusation that I'm trying to ruin her life.
The Small(er) One is now a source of constant annoyance to Firstborn. Whereas Firstborn would previously ignore or cajole the Small(er) One when she was being a pest, she now resorts to violence, screaming, name-calling or teasing. It inevitably ends with tears and bad temper all round (myself included).
Being taken for a vaccination shot at the doctor's yesterday - Firstborn kicked and bit Alpha in an attempt to escape the hated needle, screamed the place down and had to be physically restrained. The doctor said something about a phobia but Mean Ol' Mummy suspects may have been a case of amateur dramatics gone wild.
It's quite perplexing. Firstborn was always my well-behaved tender-hearted child, the one who could be relied upon to be reasonable and who wanted to please those around her (and especially me). Even her toddler tantrum days were short-lived and fairly easy to defuse. I expected jealousy when the Small(er) One arrived but Firstborn loved her at first sight. Every school report I have ever received has described her as polite, caring, a delight to have in class and always well behaved.
Well, Firstborn may still be fairly well-behaved at school (thank God for small mercies) but she seems to have found an outlet for her darker side elsewhere...
Can someone please reassure me that the pre-teen diva strops are merely a blip and not something that I am going to have to battle with every day from now until Firstborn comes of age?