The hood has spoken. . .
A NEW-FOUND contempt for all non- adolescents has, of late, made it difficult to work out exactly what the Wolverine is thinking.
You find this unsettling, used as you are to getting detailed reports on the A-Z of absolutely everything -- from lengthy accounts on her role as self-appointed mediator between warring friends to diatribes on the perceived lack of respect accorded to her by family members.
Of late, however, communication has declined to little more than a grim silence occasionally punctuated by sneers or eye rolls to emphasise her enormous disdain.
One morning, as she sits picking at her Weetabix and scowling at you from under the hood of her sweatshirt, you connect the dots. The hoodie is the key.
Once the hood is up, your 16-year-old does not wish to be addressed. She has decided that there's no point in trying to strike up an intelligent conversation with you.
Not only -- the raised hood implies -- are you ignorant, stupid and pathetically old-fashioned, but you never listen either.
The crucial things about life fly right over your empty little head, things like: your daughter's urgent need to wear full make-up to classes, the genuine importance of sending and receiving texts at the table and the absolute necessity for her to walk endlessly up and down main street after school with her friends instead of coming straight home in the car with Dad. And as for Dad.
Dad! He hasn't a clue. About anything.
A wicked glance at a small brother contentedly picking his nose communicates the pointlessness of trying to explain such cosmic unhappiness to such a witless crew.
So, as long as that hood stands, don't bother to attempt small talk, argue with her about her attitude or request that she compare her life to that of African famine victims.
You jump, startled, as the hood is flung back and your daughter's golden head and cross, beautiful face is suddenly revealed.
Do you know what she learned to do yesterday as part of her Transition Year programme?
Hand massage. Hand massage! How ridiculous is that! Then, just as suddenly, and without waiting for your reply, the hood once more falls back over her face.
Everybody sits, dumbstruck.
Impressed, you silently decide that tomorrow you will go out and purchase yourself a hoodie and then maybe someone will listen to you for a change.