Tag Archives: tweens

A Walk in the Moonlight

Tonight was not the easiest of nights.  Daryl and the girls had "media night" for the play they are in.  They have practice every weeknight and tonight they left early in full costume to rehearse act one and meet the press.  As with the rest of June, I was on my own with two little boys (one of whom can drive me to distraction!).

It was a long night.  Alex found the litter box and the scoop and left a trail down the hallway carpet and all the way down the stairs.  He dumped things out.  He wrote on Daddy’s new recliner with blue marker.  He accidentally scratched Jack.  He threw fits.

There are some nights when it takes all you’ve got to make it to bedtime, and tonight was one of those nights.

I got him cleaned up, the recliner cleaned up, the hallway and stairs cleaned up, and got him acting better and asleep.  I even got a bunch of enthusiastic toddler hugs and kisses before he dropped.  The rest of the house was trashed but it was a success in my book.

When the girls came home, we ended up having an impromptu music history lesson when I had Victoria look up "We are the World" on you-tube and talked about how Michael Jackson shaped his generation.  Then I was still wired from the evening and asked Anna if she wanted to go for a walk.

My kids love taking late night walks.  I’m not sure what it is about walking with Mama under the stars, but it has always been a treat to my kids.

Anna was still in her prairie girl costume, bonnet and all.  We held hands and walked around the neighborhood, talking.  I told her how I held her in my lap when she was a baby on the front lawn in the moonlight and made her promises.  She walked me to the magical cornfield and told me to make a wish for the fairies.  She also told me how so-and-so texted her boyfriend at rehearsal about the bench the kids were using.  She said she felt lucky she got to take late night walks with me.  I told her sappy memories and gave her hugs.

When we got back, I asked her to send Victoria out.  I’m glad Victoria is not too old to take late night walks with her mama.  I showed her my bulletproof roses that the neighbor thought were "brambles" and mowed down for years.  They grew in full shade on the north side of the house for years before we moved in and loved them into full bloom.  I told her how our back yard used to be nothing but grass, and how we bought 5 tiny lilac trees and 2 dogwoods to line the back and now they’re twice as tall as we are.  The gardens, the climbing tree, the raspberries, the roses taller than the garage… it’s all new since the house became ours and now it seems like it’s been there forever.

We went walking off down the side streets and I told her how we went walking on a night like this when she was a baby with my friend Jen and her daughter, Lizzie, and how we stopped in the moonlight for me to bend down and talk to her in the stroller.  I was being sappy and adoring her, and Lizzie turned to her mother and said in her most reverent five year-old voice, "That’s love."

I told her again about how many miscarriages I had before we had her, and how Daddy and I used to fight over who got to hold her.  I told her how much we loved her and how proud we’ve been every day of her life.

When we got home, Jack snuggled up in my lap while we watched late night TV and he fell asleep while I stroked his hair.  We never got to the books I meant to read tonight or the art project I kept wanting to do.  I hope the snuggling and the extra orange juice popsicles made up for it a little.

It’s the end of the night now, and it’s miserably hot inside.  We don’t have central air, just a window unit downstairs.  I’m hot and tired and there’s still more mess to clean up in the morning.  Tomorrow, Alex will wake in a fantastic mood and commence trying to drive us all crazy again. 

It was a trying night.  There were messes and tears and mayhem.  There’s no denying it.  But what I’m taking to bed with me tonight is the kisses, the snuggling, walking hand in hand with my daughters and making wishes by magical cornfields.

The rest will still drive me to distraction, but I still think it’s worth it.  🙂

Goodnight all.  Happy Friday!

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More Fun Tween Ideas!

Magical Mama Lonni wrote in to share a billion (okay, very slightly less) more fun things to do with your tween.  She’s raising some really fabulous tweens and teens herself and I love her list.  So here, lifted straight from the comments are her great suggestions….

I like your ideas and it got me wracking my brain. Look out, I feel like a chapter long comment is about to happen. ;o)

Hmmmm, you could…

-go clam shell picking at the river

-go pop can collecting (they aren’t worth much now but it’s a good excuse to go walking together.) You could do trash too of course.

-make cool projects using the sewing machine (bags, water bottle carrier, curtains, pajama pants, funky cloth table napkins or place mats, pillows, clothes for Webkinz, a quilt using t-shirt fronts…)

-build stilts out of lumber (most places will cut your lumber for youso you just have to screw/nail it together once you get home.)

-have a campfire in the yard, toast grilled cheese sandwiches and marshmallows on the fire, or just sit around it eating ice cream (just ’cause most people don’t think of that!) and talking. Harmonicas are optional. ;o)

-collect a hoard of video tape cases from a video store (these days they’ll give them away) and set up giant domino paths thru your house. Fun to watch them all fall and see if your design worked!

-wander around a furniture store. The massage chairs and lift chairs are such fun and always give us the giggles. One time we just hung out in their home theater area for an hour or so. No one said a thing to us. :o)

-play around with make-up and hair-dos. Ooooo! Get an updo at a salon then go out for dessert to show off. Someone said you can get this done cheap at the Cosmetology Training school.

-go pretend car shopping, just seeing what different cars are like inside, features, prices, gas mileage (could even test drive a new car).

-nose around in places you don’t normally shop like farm, sporting goods, hardware, home decorating, antiques, plant nursery, or fishing/bait stores. There’s always something new and interesting to find and talk about…yup, *even* at an appliance store.

-go fishing

-rent a paddle boat at the lake (around here it’s only $5/hour)

-take your bikes to the BMX track

-go to a skateboard park

-play mini-golf or get your frustrations out on the driving range (you can buy a golf club for about $1 at the thrift store)

-go on a creative photo shoot, seeing what interesting cars, buildings, signs, people, nature things, shapes, shadows, etc. you can find. Taking weird close-ups and odd angles, etc. Take pics of each other in unusual locations like trains tracks and doorways of old buildings and pics of each other doing every day things that you never think to photograph like pushing a grocery cart, paying for your food at McDonalds, or getting your mail.

-go out for appetizers

-go to a business that sells manufactured homes and ask if they mind if you go look thru all of them (my kids love this!)

-go to a camper dealer and check out their camper inventory (they’ve gotten amazingly nice!)

-go bowling (check at the college because you can usually bowl there cheaper than at the reg. alleys)

-for a few quarters you can play together at the arcade at a bowling alley (who doesn’t like skeet ball and air hockey?)

-try out some new baking ideas. We just bought fondant and a big set of bakers food coloring the other day. There’s a bunch of ways to be creative with fondant and it’s more fun if someone creates with you! Also look up cake pops on Bakerella or Pioneer Woman’s blog.  They’re adorable and a great way to play with food!

Dig around in books like "The Daring Book for Girls", "The Big Book of Girl Stuff", and "How to Be the Best at Everything". There are boy versions of these books too that are really worth looking at also, even for girls. Also those "Would You Rather…" books have some bizarre and hilarious choices and equal a good time together.

You know where I live, but do you know there’s a cheap theater here and you can go to a movie for $3/person? Their movies have just been thru the other theaters so are still pretty fresh. As a special treat now and then it’s kinda fun to go see something on the big screen and this makes it affordable.

Phew, now I’m tired. I hope there’s at least one new idea here you can use sometime. :o)

Um, yeah!  You’re a rock star, Lonni!  Will you be my mother?! 

(Harumph!  Victoria wants to know the same thing– disloyal child!)

Thanks for all the great ideas!  I think the giggling lunatic behind me and I will have some fun with lots of these.   😉

And is it bad that I’m happy to have my giggling lunatic back? 

Happy weekend everybody!

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Fun With Your Tween!

Yesterday I wrote about Victoria changing as she nears 11.  I loved reading the comments it generated, here and in emails.  It seems I’m not alone!

I did a little research to see what to expect the next couple of years and found a good article here that talked about typical changes and why they occur.  I’m a little more likely to let some things slide after reading it.  

Here’s a snip… 

Perhaps most significantly, the brain undergoes a major transformation that reduces a child’s ability to control her behavior and makes it harder for her to "read" both emotions and social situations. It’s not surprising, then, that your child feels strange, wonders who she is, becomes more prone to confusion and exasperation, and starts to "lose it" — even before the actual teenage years arrive.

The article is full of info.  It’s a good read!

But I also thought that I should come up with a new list of fun stuff to do with my unpredictable but still fabulous tween. 

Here’s some ideas I came up with. 

  • Go out for dessert
  • Shop garage sales for cool wardrobe additions
  • Hike, bike or otherwise get outside and exercise
  • Help her redecorate her room
  • Play cards
  • Watch chick flicks
  • Play soccer or shoot hoops
  • Take her to an art exhibit opening
  • Go boating
  • Go to the beach
  • Take more family camping trips
  • Arrange for her to have more fun activities with friends and just be there to yap about it when she comes home.  🙂

What’s on your list?


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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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