Waiting for the Mother Ship

NEWS FLASH … Alien beings are invading homes across America, inhabiting the bodies of innocent children and turning them into strange, unrecognizable creatures. something that looks kind of like my kid but has a lot more makeup and way more attitude. Frankly, it’s terrifying. It happened at my house and it could happen at yours.

Some may blame this sudden mutation on raging adolescent hormones. Others point a finger at MTV, but I know it’s the plot of an alien race, intent on taking over the world, or at least creating chaos in my home. I want to believe.

Like the poster of Tom Cruise that suddenly appeared tacked to her bedroom wall, the signs are everywhere. I find lotions, glosses, shadows and powders littering the bathroom vanity. I’m sure that underneath the pink blush and strawberry lip gloss there lurks a little gray being.

Since the alien came to our house, everything has changed. I don’t even know what to cook for dinner. My human daughter used to love macaroni and cheese, but the alien only eats organic produce. Or was that last week? Tuesday she was a vegan, Wednesday she was on the South Beach Diet, and on Thursday she ate an entire pint of coffee fudge ice cream.

My Earth daughter used to think that I was pretty cool, but my outer space teen is embarrassed by everything that I do or say – especially in public. She even refuses to get out of the car if I wear my flowered capri pants and Girl Scout socks to the supermarket. I think she’s worried that my behavior might call attention to her planet’s plot for global dominion.

Instead, she waits in the car and fiddles with the radio. I know she’s not listening to rock and roll. She’s trying to pick up signals from outside the solar system. My alien child rarely plays outside. Instead, she spends time in the house talking on her cell phone, sending text messages and typing on my computer using a language that I cannot decipher. The three letter words – brb, lol and gtg – that appear repeatedly in her communications must be some kind of interplanetary code. I think she’s trying to contact the mother ship.

It’s also clear, from her impressive command of sophisticated electronics, that she comes from a highly advanced civilization. In fact, she is often baffled by our primitive suburban Earth culture. Dirty dishes that have to be loaded into the dishwasher, garbage that needs to be taken out of the kitchen and emptied into trash barrels and laundry that needs to be folded and put into drawers are concepts that are far too mundane for her vastly superior brain. Yet, because most of what she has gleaned about the human race comes from reading Teen People magazine and watching The O.C., she remains unclear on the concept that real Earth life requires real Earth money that can only be earned by having a real Earth job or by babysitting your real Earth brother.

Clothes are also extremely important to my teenage alien. She needs lots of really cute tops and low-cut jeans in order to effectively communicate with others of her kind. Even though her bedroom floor is carpeted with $40 T-shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch, she still complains that she has nothing to wear and that I must drive her to the mall. Now! This is where she meets other extraterrestrials to participate in pre-mating rituals and consume Orange Julius. The fate of the galaxy depends on it. The aliens know that they can bring Earth’s economy to a standstill by spending lots of money at the Food Court and Sephora, which in their language means “Why pay $5 of my parents’ money for lip gloss when I can pay $22?”

Since my daughter turned into an alien, we have had a lot of trouble communicating. I call it “War of the Words.” It’s obvious that the nuances of Earth English simply evade the space creatures. Just yesterday, I asked “Do you want waffles for breakfast?” and she growled “Leave me alone!” and slammed her bedroom door. Maybe I should send a text message.

Although living with a teenage alien is scary, I take comfort in knowing that other parents have daughters who are also exhibiting this strange behavior. One thing is for sure. We are not alone. Just a few weeks ago, my charming adolescent daughter disappeared and was replaced by something new and strange. We are not alone.

Carol Band looks to the heavens – for UFOs and for guidance. Write to her at Check out our complete archive of Carol’s Household Word columns.