Diary of a demented mum: This week: now the Wolverine has abandonment issues. . .
So, you go to the doctor. "Doctor," you say, "lately I feel stressed. I am irritable, irascible, anxious, not sleeping. The myriad vexations of daily life are harrying me to the brink of insanity."
The doctor asks a list of questions and eventually reaches the conclusion that you are probably peri-menopausal; in other words, you are on the edge of menopause, not insanity.
"You have teenagers, don't you," she says, grinning.
Yes, you say grimly.
The doctor explains that the onset of peri-menopause or menopause in a mother can coincide with a child's entry into adolescence.
Sometimes the emotional symptoms can be so similar that people assume it's just the stress of raising teenagers.
But in your case, she says firmly, the onset of adolescence in your family is not the issue -- you're definitely peri-menopausal.
With a hot flash of irritation you realise that the Wolverine has just been absolved of all blame for your problems.
But, you feel like whining, some of it has to be her fault.
Take this morning. Called a solid hour before it was time to leave for school, her irate father reported when he rang you later at work to complain, she hadn't either eaten breakfast or managed to find her shoes by the time the rest of the family was in the car.
"Dial down the drama, Dad," she informed him derisively when he protested.
That, he said, was the final straw. He drove off and left her standing open-mouthed at the front door in her school socks, flawlessly made up, with her hair in some kind of beehive.
"You're kidding," you tell him, shocked.
He's not kidding. She had to find her own way to school.
She may have got a lift from a neighbour.
"Oh well," the doctor says when you tell her, "that showed some initiative on behalf of both your daughter and your husband."
"Don't sweat the small stuff," she adds as you leave her office.
That evening you find flung across your bed the fluffy dressing gown and matching furry slippers recently presented to the Wolverine as a gift.
You call her in and hand them back.
"Keep them," she says coldly, adding that she put them there.
She doesn't want anything from you. Or Dad either. Ever.
In fact she will never again accept as much as a crust of bread from the people who abandoned her on her own doorstep and made her really late for school.
With that, casting one last furious glance over her shoulder, the Wolverine huffs off downstairs to have her dinner.
Health & Living