All Grown Up

Victoria is breaking my heart lately.  She doesn’t mean to.  She’s just developed this awful idea that she’s not little anymore.

          
 

My baby.  My first baby.  That little girl who used to hold my finger and say hup, hup, hup as she toddled along.  The adorable pipsqueak who used to bang sticks together and loudly sing "This old man."  The little girl who loved rainbow prints and everything purple. 

     

     
 

My silly, funny, charming kid says she’s not a kid anymore now that she’s almost eleven. 

She says she doesn’t even love purple anymore — she doesn’t want to be in a rut.

She’s become quiet and serious and moody.  She sometimes even disapproves of silliness, which is a big problem if you’re my kid.   Silly is what I do!  I am the queen of "make yourself look like an idiot at the grocery store to make your toddler happy" kind of stuff.  I am not serious or grown up.  I’m not ready for this.  :)

The other day we were having a deep conversation about sibling rivalry and I said something about all of the kids competing for resources in the family, both tangible and not.  That led to a discussion of what tangible meant (oh yeah, that’s what I do too, make everything a teachable moment!) and a list of intangible resources the kids might want.  "Like mama time" I said.  

"Oh," she replied, "I don’t need mama time any more."

I gasped and told her she’d ripped my heart out and she could now view it on the floor.  I think I put my hand to my forehead and made a small weeping sound too, but it was all wasted.  She rolled her eyes at me.

She doesn’t need mama time anymore?  Sob.

She took it back, but I know in a way it’s true.  She’s such a different person than she was even 6 months ago.  She’s changing and I have to embrace that and stand back when needed and find new ways to spend time with her when she needs that.

I’m sure we’ll form a wonderful new relationship in this older, more mature phase of her life.  I already love what a young woman she’s becoming and I know she’ll be a fantastic teenager.

So yes, I’ll stop being quite so silly in public.  I’ll help her shop for training bras and feed her new interest in fashion.  I’ll take her out for dessert for mama time instead of running through the sprinkler with her.  I’ll give her space and fall in love with this new version of herself that she’s creating.

Just the same, I told her not to rush this growing up business.  I plan to tempt her all summer with water balloons, sheet painting, rain dancing and other irresistible childhood goodies.  Resistance is futile. 

She’ll always be my little girl. 

     

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “All Grown Up

  1. Anonymous

    Daughters
    Yes, it is a bittersweet time you are heading into. Enjoy it! Remember to take a deep breath and hold your tongue once in a while. My daughter is 23, has moved out and is on her own. But she still calls me one of her best friends and she makes sure we have mom/daugher time together! We go out to dinner and she buys her mom her favorite cocktail to try! A daughter is a magical thing, no matter the age!
    Barbara in Stillwater

    http://barbarasblueskies.blogspot.com/

    • Re: Daughters
      That was great to hear! My husband still talks to his mom long distance nearly every day just to chat, too.
      Luckily, I also still have another little girl who is quite happy to be a kid and that helps too! And the boys, who are a long way off from growing up…. When Alex is ten I may well be a basket case though. ;)

  2. Anonymous

    You got it, sista. It’s not really that you have to let go of them. You just have to learn to hang on differently. :o)
    It’s true, the playing does seem to change at about her age. But you would be surprised just how much “kid” stuff they’ll still do even as they move further into teen-hood. Don’t put the sprinkler or squirt guns away just yet. Also? Another bonus is the humor gets even better as they age. I wasn’t expecting that but I don’t think I’ve never laughed so much! Such clever comedy. :o)
    Would it work to just re-name mama time so it sounds less little girl-ish and needy-like without changing the importance of it happening? Reel her back in with Girl Time? Mom and Daughter Time? Maybe YOU could tell her YOU need some Victoria time. :o)
    I’ve felt that ache too with ours and hated seeing signs of each tween’s childhood sliding away. I didn’t want that gone and being replaced with that painful regret about not having done more more more to savor it while it was there in front of me. But you can’t stop time and I’ll be darned if it didn’t go by even faster than all those old folks warned me it would! I guess the good side of realizing that is I’m more motivated to drop everything and find the energy to go to the park, swimming, sledding, biking, etc, when they ask…to fit in more before it really is too late. And I think how great it was that they’ve been given them all that wide open play time these past years to enjoy the kid stuff as much as they could. So much more than most kids so when they do move on, I like to believe it’s because they got their fill. :o)
    Your post made me think of Sandra Dodd’s article on playing. So I dug it up and stole this from it, thinking V might like comparing the 2 ways of thinking/living. One is definitely more sunny than the other! :o)
    ……………
    All my life I was given advice like this:
    Be serious
    Act your age
    Don’t take this lightly.
    Now, though, that I’m involved with unschooling I say to adults and to children alike, take this lightly.
    Play around.
    Play with words, with ideas, with thoughts.
    Play with music.
    Play in the rain.
    Play in the dark.
    Play with your food.
    ………………..
    Homeschooled kids (like yours and mine) don’t really get that constant pressure schooled kids do to act like a grown-up too soon and instantly. Yeah, they feel it some but they’re free to float back and forth between the 2 worlds as they edge their way closer to grown up. And they do (atleast the ones I know). Having younger siblings helps too I’ve noticed. It gives them a free excuse to play and act like a kid and can be disguised as playing for the sake of the younger ones. I still make a point of finding cool toys/silly stuff for them at Christmas and b-days so there’s always a reason to play. :o)
    Luckily, Victoria has you to show her that you’re never too old to play. :o) Tell her it would be very bad to lose that special quality. She’s probably not at risk of losing that anyway, no matter how hard she might try. It would be tough for anyone to totally give up a habit like playfulness after having it modeled to them their whole lives. :o)
    LT

  3. Anonymous

    That’s so sweet…
    That was so sweet to read. My oldest is just going on nine, but I’m starting to feel some forebodings and pangs here and there too…
    Rebecca

  4. Anonymous

    Oh!
    Oh wow…..my daughter is only 4 years (but SOO grown up already) and your story brought tears to my eyes because this will come to her some day…She’s going to school in the fall and so very ready for it, but it’s hard to let her go. I have a 6 week old boy now in my arms for a while, and that makes it easier to cope….what a fabulous family you have and I enjoy everything that you share…thank you.
    K

  5. Anonymous

    Wow, I missed this, because I’m so behind on my reading. I LOVE this post. That’s all I want to say, really- I just LOVE this post.
    Thank you.
    Kit

    http://kitmama.blogspot.com

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