my sweet little girl
This weekend my “baby” turns 11.
I can’t believe it has been 11 years since I became a mom for the first time. Because as cliche as this sounds it seems like just yesterday that she was brought to me late that March night all warm, squishy, and making those wonderful little baby noises.
But she is turning 11 and there is nothing I can do to stop the clock. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that she is turning older and becoming this wonderful pre-teenager but it is very hard to watch sometimes without wincing or covering my eyes. My “baby” is coming in contact with other people’s children, their values, and language every day and sometimes it is everything I can do not to send her to school each day worrying what new things she will learn that aren’t related to academia.
Every generation says the same thing” oh it was much easier to raise a child when my children were small than it is now” and man, that is so true. Even as I was growing up, we didn’t have the likes of cell phones, Facebook/Myspace or texting.
Kids are getting “the movie” a year earlier than when I was going through puberty. Yes, this is the year she gets to see the movie. You know the one…the boys and girls are separated, then they watch the movie about getting…gasp….your periods/”growing up”/etc. and who on earth even knows what the boys watch. Then they all come back together and the boys look at the girls like they have some sort of disease. That movie.
Which made me realize that I would have to have “the talk” with my daughter before she watched “the movie”.
Big heaving sigh.
Then as if God was sending down a message from above, I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about a book for moms and dads of pre-tweens called ” Six Ways To Keep The Little In Your Girl” by Dannah Gresh and I immediately ordered it on Amazon.
It helped me tackle some big questions like:
When do we have the “talk” with our daughter?
When do we discuss her impending period?
How old should she be to “date”?
With the help of this book, I created a”period basket” :
I got the basket at the Target dollar section, the deodorant was a freebie sample I sent away for as were the pads and tampons; I also added a Dove chocolate bar because HELLO chocolate!
I included a note about how this event in her life is special because that is one (of many) things I took away from this book: don’t be negative about your period.
Let me tell you, this was a very hard one.
I am notorious for having awful PMS….migraines, cramps, and don’t get me started on how unbearable I am to even be around…..but since reading this book, I have stopped (okay slowly diminished) complaining about it.
I will be there for support and I filled her in on what to expect but if she hears anything negative about her period, it won’t be coming from me.
Until she’s had it a good month and wants to bitch and moan about it.
Then I am ALL OVER THAT.
So we had “the talk” three weeks ago, I gave her the basket and it went great. No embarrassment on my end or hers, it seemed.
Just honest questions and honest answers.
After she went to bed that night though, I sobbed.
Maybe because I ended the “innocence” that night or maybe because my “baby” is growing up. I don’t know exactly why but what I do know is this, my little girl is growing up and that makes a little part of me a little sad and happy all at once.
So here are some ideas for keeping the little in your girl or boy that we adhere to in our home:
– encourage friendships with other children that have similar values and belief systems.
It is really hard to teach your child that you don’t want them on Facebook in fifth grade if she has friends who have Facebook accounts.
(The same can be said with cell phones too.)
– embrace things that are deemed “too young” for your child’s age group. Don’t make them feel that it is babyish or immature; that they still want to be a kid and that is a good thing.
For example, the free Easter egg hunt in our area ends for kids over age 10.
I think this is silly. (Hey- I would totally do this if they had one for adults, wouldn’t you??)
But my daughter’s friends are having their own and tying it in with a birthday party.
I love that they still want to do these things and I encourage them at every turn.
– encourage pretend play in your kids all the way up until…I don’t know…college??
My daughter and her friends love to play two pretend scenarios:
They are elaborate with everything from menus with specials of the day to teacher lesson plan books. (Let me just tell you that Dollar Tree has great “play school” things from bulletin board materials to teaching tools). We play along (as painful as that can be sometimes) and they love it. I know these days will end soon but I love that they are stretching their creative minds in this manner and who knows, maybe I am working with the next Top Chef or a future high school science teacher.
So there is one more area that is hard for me to contend with. I know it shouldn’t be but it is.
If you know my compulsion with all things symmetrical, clean, and organized you must know how hard it has been to not give too much input when it comes to decorating said daughter’s room.
It is her space to be creative and put things where she wants them not where I think they would look good.
I have been going through this withdrawal of sorts for years but I have to say it is getting easier as she grows older because she is starting to take pride in her room (meaning that the clothes are strewn all over the inside of her closet, not the outside).
But this does not mean that I am not allowed in her room.
Uhh HELL no.
There is this great quote from a guest on Oprah years ago about entering your tween/teen’s bedrooms when they aren’t there that I wish I could remember but essentially, it went along the lines of addressing a parent who said that their son/daughter wouldn’t let them in their room.
They said something to the effect of who pays the rent/mortgage? Does your son/daughter pay said rent/mortgage? If they do, then you should stay out but until then you have every right to be in there.
Hell to the yes.
In honor of Annie’s birthday, here is a fun recipe that she loves:
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning (you know how I feel about these packets but they really work for this recipe)
Mini bags of Doritos
toppings- tomato (diced), lettuce (shredded), cheese (shredded), sour cream
Brown the beef and onion. Then add the packet and follow the instructions on the package.
You can always make this ahead of time then put in the crockpot to keep warm if you were serving these for a party.
Place a serving of beef into an opened mini bag of Doritos.
Add the toppings you like.
These were always served on Rally Day at our church and then you could just take them with you on the way out the door.
Oh and go give your kids a big hug; I think I will too.