La La How The Life Goes On

Betwixt and BeTween

Posted on: August 22, 2012

I knew it would happen someday. I just didn’t prep myself for it happening at 8 years old. Sweet Bambina, my little girl, has spent the summer metamorphosing into the body and being of an older kid. The term “tween” has been used to describe this stage of life: not a kid, not a teenager. A tweenager. As semi-horrified as I am to see it happen at 8 years old, I know it is right on time for her. She has always been behind her friends in, shall we say, sophistication and worldliness. This has been by design on our part and by personality on hers. So it has been inevitable for a good year now, and here we are.

She is moody as all hell. Eating like it’s going out of style. Sleeping 13 hours. Totally embarrassed by being put on the spot. Awkward. Horrified by the idea of speaking with adults. Physically standoffish with anyone over the age of 10, but super huggy and giggly with her friends. Will no longer wear anything not sold at Justice or maybe JC Penney. Deems many dress styles “babyish” and therefore wildly unacceptable. Now concerned with her friends’ opinions. And did I mention giggly and huggy. Just not with us in the light of day. We get the drama. In spades. It’s new territory for us, and we are muddling our way through it while we gain our sea legs with the new normal of this new girl.

These changes are hard on her too. She is really trapped between two worlds.She needs hugs and love and understanding more than ever, as evidenced by her bedtime ritual remaining much the same as it was when she was 5. Hugs, love and quiet chitchat about what’s on her mind. At the same time. she desperately wants to be rid of us, our rules, and any reminder that she is not entirely independent and capable as an individual. I remember this time well–although I was 12 when it happened. But I remember it. Loving my mom, wanting to sit on her lap when no one was looking, but simultaneously hating her for the fact that I still needed her. It’s the stage of life (besides the teenage years) when your job as a parent is primarily to show extra love to someone behaving rather unlovably.

It’s true that she is often as confused as we are. The other night she wondered aloud whether she could switch her pediatrician to a girl. “But I love Dr. SoandSo and I really trust him and feel comfortable with him, but I think I might need to start seeing a girl because, you know, she won’t be a boy…” I told her that she doesn’t have to decide today. She can keep seeing the lovely Dr. SoandSo until she feels like she can’t. Then we can talk to him about it.

She will not listen to our old fan favorite, Dan Zanes. It’s all Payphone and Call Me Maybe and One Direction. “Mama, Dan Zanes is nice and all, but I’m just kind of over him.” *sniff!* She told me the other night in confidence (so this means I didn’t write this and you don’t know this) that she has a crush….wait for it…on a boy. All of her crushes till now have been girls. So this was momentous. So it’s obvious that changes are afoot, underway and inexorable in our home until she goes to college. It’s a sweet time, a confusing time, a challenging time; and one I want to navigate compassionately, deftly, and lovingly. I think there is a special and important aspect to raising a confident, content and well-adjusted daughter, and these are the days where I’ll have to “man up” and really walk my talk. 

Wish us luck. Just don’t do it in front of her. Or by speaking to her. Or looking at her. Or having her look at you. That would be SOOOOO embarrassing!

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1 Response to "Betwixt and BeTween"

I fear this will come all to soon with E!

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