They have turned from carefree kids who stayed up late, slept in and endlessly discussed how bored they were:
to sullen teens who already resent me. They don't appreciate me asking them (in the nicest possible way) "how do you think you're going to get a scholarship with a B on a math test? Dad and I are going to be lucky if we get Alpo to eat when we retire, and you think we're paying for your college?"
"Yes, angel, I do - thank you."
"OK," she'd say as she shut the door, came and sat on the edge of the bathrub and laughed as she looked at me with adoring eyes. Because in those days, privacy meant US.
After 6th grade it got REALLY hard - you know that show "Are You Smarter than a Sixth Grader?" Well, I'm not when it comes to math and science. Or history. I learned that stuff on cave walls and haven't had to put it to use much. They've learned not to ask questions though: enough "are you seriously asking me that question? What is WRONG with you?" puts them off their game. It's not mommy anymore; it's mom or mama. Too often words go unspoken, such as when I ask them personal questions.
"How was your day?"
"Fine." ("Bitch, why are you asking me that?")