A recent Saturday morning at 7:30, Smartmom woke to the sound of someone walking up and down the hallway.
“It’s a burglar,” Smartmom said aloud to her sleeping husband. “Omigod. Someone has broken into the apartment and he’s walking up and down the hall.”
Smartmom was too tired to get out of bed, even if burglars were, theoretically, making off with the family’s iBooks and cameras.
But instead of jumping up, she shook Hepcat awake.
“There’s a burglar in the house,” she said.
“Maybe it’s Teen Spirit,” Hepcat said.
“Teen Spirt,” Smartmom screamed. “Is that you?”
No answer. It was pretty unlikely anyway as he’d come home close to 3 am, and unless he wasn’t feeling well there was little chance he’d be up and around so early in the morning.
“Maybe it’s the Oh So Feisty One,” Hepcat said sleepily.
“OSFO!” Smartmom yelled. “OSFO!”
No answer and then:
“Yeah?” OSFO sounded irritable.
“Are you awake?” Smartmom said.
“Yup. I’m going out.”
OSFO was awake? That was a shock. She rarely gets up so early on a weekend morning. And almost never goes out at that time.
The adrenaline kicked in, and Smartmom was out of bed faster than a speeding mother. She stood in front of the bathroom door and listened to the sounds of OSFO blow-drying her hair.
“You’re going out?” “Yeah I’m meeting up with Kate. She just got back from her vacation.
Smartmom was smarting. Suspicion pulsed through her veins. Why would OSFO meeting up with Kate at 7:30 in morning? And why was she getting so dolled up?
When OSFO came out of the bathroom, Smartmom could smell the grapefruity body mist she’d bought her for her birthday.
It all seemed VERY STRANGE. What was her daughter up to?
“Are you really meeting up with Kate?” Smartmom asked firmly.
“Yes!” OSFO sounded simultaneously annoyed and insulted that Smartmom didn’t believe her.
“Really?” Smartmom tried again. To that OSFO slammed her bedroom door.
Smartmom didn’t know what to do. Was her daughter telling the truth or pulling a fast one? In a quandary, she went back to bed and told Hepcat.
“Huh? Meeting up with Kate? Now?” Hepcat sounded hazy. Clearly, he sounded suspicious, too, but not enough to get up and put his foot down. Then Smartmom heard OSFO walk to the front door.
“See you later. Bye,” OSFO said. Slam.
Smartmom ran to the front window. If OSFO is really going to Kate’s house, she’d walk towards Sixth Avenue. If she’s lying, and is on her way to an illicit rendezvous in Prospect Park or elsewhere, she’ll walk the other way. If that was the case, Smartmom decided she’d follow her little girl.
Smartmom, ready to be a maternal James Bond, waited for OSFO to walk through the front gate of their apartment building’s yard. She waited. And waited. And waited.
Then she heard the girls talking. She couldn’t see them from the window but she could tell that they were sitting on the front stoop.
OSFO really was meeting up with Kate. But what were they doing? Maybe they were plotting some illicit activity.
Smartmom ran to the intercom in the kitchen and pressed the listen button, which enables her to eavesdrop on conversations in the front yard.
“How was your vacation?” she heard OSFO say to Kate.
“Great,” Kate told her.
Smartmom felt very Harriet the Spy as she listened to their mumbled conversation, which was, truth be told, pretty boring.
Relieved, Smartmom got back into bed tired from her morning stint as a maternal detective. Then the front door opened.
“Hello,” she heard a low voice say.
Omigod, thought Smartmom. It’s another burglar or maybe OSFO. But why is she disguising her voice?
“Someone’s here,” Smartmom said to sleepy Hepcat, who just rolled over feigning sleep.
“Who’s there?” Smartmom shouted out.
“It’s me,” Diaper Diva responded. “I used my key to get in. I have to pick up my computer that I left here yesterday. I brought coffee.”
So, it was Diaper Diva. Not a burglar or OSFO disguising her voice at 8 am. A cup of coffee sounded great.
“Do you know what OSFO and Kate are doing downstairs?” Diaper Diva asked Smartmom.
Smartmom braced for the latest in adolescent girl misbehavior.
“They’re playing with their American Girl dolls. They’ve got about 8 of them lined up. They’re brushing and cutting their hair. Putting them in clothing.”
Smartmom was shocked. OSFO hadn’t played with her American Girl dolls in years. They still lived on a high shelf in her bedroom posing in their finery, but they weren’t high on the list of preferred activities for OSFO and her 13-year-old friends.
Smartmom ran to the window, pulled up the screen and saw for herself. OSFO and Kate were running a make-shift beauty salon for their American Girl dolls in the front yard.
There was Felicity, Josephina, Molly, Kim and all the others. Smartmom remembered how much those dolls used to mean to OSFO. She thought back to their many pilgrimages to the Manhattan store. Ah, how young OSFO was then (Smartmom was not younger). Ah, how OSFO (and Smartmom) loved playing with those dolls.
Smartmom didn’t know what to think. At this age, girls straddle childhood and adulthood. One minute you think they’re lost to social networking, Sephora and seventh-grade socializing, the next minute they’re clinging to their childhood imagination and brushing the hair of a beloved doll.
The whole thing gave Smartmom a bittersweet feeling. Maybe the demands of adolescence were sometimes just too much and it was a relief to return to playing with dolls.
What a complicated time of life. Even that early in the morning.