Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Growing Up


The Child has been a little, shall we say, volatile lately. I know it's because of her impending birthday. The other night she told The Neighbor that she still wanted to be a kid.

"You'll still be a kid," she replied. "I'm still a kid at heart. So is your mom. Your dad is still a big kid".

I added that I'd felt the same way and that one of my biggest concerns about turning 13 was that I was afraid my mom would come and take away my stuffed cat, Algie, with whom I still slept.

"So I can still sleep with Lovey*"?

"Hey, I slept with Algie until your dad came along!"

She was relieved, but the worries persist. So yesterday, after school, we sat down for a snack, a few rounds of mancala and a little chat.

"How are you feeling about turning 13?"

She wiggled her hand in that motion that means "so-so".

"Anything in particular making you concerned?"

"Well, it's a lot more responsibility," she said.

"I suppose. What sort of responsibilities are you thinking about?"

"Like having more chores".

I had to wait a beat. I was expecting something big, something to do with periods or boys or even making decisions about stuff like smoking and drugs.

"So let me get this straight. You're worried about turning 13 because you think you're going to have to do more stuff around the house?"

She nodded.

"Well, if it helps, I don't have any plans to wake you up on Friday morning and give you a list of stuff to do. In fact, I'm pretty happy with the fact that lately you are very willing to help when you're asked. As long as you keep pitching in like that and keep your room clean, I don't see any need to give you more to do".

She breathed a sigh of relief.

"Anything about turning 13 that you're excited about".

"Well, it's one year closer to cool stuff".

"Such as?"

"Being able to drive, having my own house. Oh, nothing personal, Mom. But you know. And it's a year closer to being a mom".

"You're right about that. 13 is a lot closer to a lot of really great stuff. But you know, honey, the good part about getting older is that it doesn't happen all at once. You have time to adjust. It's not like you'll turn 13 and bam! you have to be grownup. And you know, when you were little and took your first steps, papa and I didn't say, 'Ok, you can walk now. We're done carrying you'. For what it's worth, we're still here for you".

She smiled. I think she feels a little better.

* A stuffed unicorn.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Jon opined...

I still keep a yellow rubber ducky on my bathtub. You'll see.

January 23, 2007 9:57 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Cool!

January 23, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Dana opined...

Lovely.
The Child is lucky to have a mother who is fun enough to be a child at heart and wise enough to know when to sit down and have a little chat.

January 23, 2007 10:06 AM  
Blogger jp opined...

That was a con to avoid more chores. The Child had a plan.

January 23, 2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Kendall opined...

I still have a teddy bear my mother gave me when I was 6. It probably means more to me now that it did all those years ago.

I don't sleep with him anymore because he is now so old he may fall apart.

Sweet story, the child is lucky to have a mom she can talk to!

January 23, 2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Dana, so far I'm just lucky that she's still willing to chat!

JP: She's one of The Five.

Kendall: I'm so telling her about your bear and Jon's ducky. That way she'll know I'm not just making this stuff up.

January 23, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger Renee opined...

The Child is so mature and yet so sincere and childlike too...that's a great mix.
I too, would still be sleeping with my "lovey" but William chose it as his own (already broken in for him!) and so I had to cut the cord.

January 23, 2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Renee, one of the things I'm grateful for is that she turns out not to be in as much a hurry to grow all the way up as I'd feared. I'm not ready, so I'm glad she's not.

January 23, 2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger greeny opined...

"Sniff, sniff" Tears and smiles here.

January 23, 2007 11:30 AM  
Blogger gina opined...

You must be the world's best mom. You seem to be so patient, and always have the perfect thing to say. I guess I just have too much Italian in me. I tend to speak before I think in emotional situations, and the outcome is not always the one I want. You are my role model. Too bad I don't have any 13 year-old kids at home anymore to benefit from my new found expertise.

January 23, 2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger gina opined...

And oh yeah, Youngest Son, now almost 21, has his "George", a really cool little gorilla that he took everywhere with him. George's hair is all matted, and his leathery face is all cracked, but he is still Youngest Son's favorite "lovey", and he still has a place of honor on the headboard in YS's bedroom at home.

January 23, 2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Here's a hankie, Greeny.

Um, Gina, the reason I "seem so patient" is that I only report when I did something more or less right. Trust me. Patience, not so much.

January 23, 2007 1:06 PM  
Blogger Grish opined...

Hey stuffed animals are cool and comforting. She could keep one forever and wouldn't be any worse for it.

January 23, 2007 4:11 PM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

I still have a monkey and a giraffe from 1986.

And I'm Iwanski, for Christ's sake!

January 23, 2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Grish, I agree. Plus there's the possibility of handing it down. My Algie cat that I slept with started out as my dad's. (Which my grandma made to send with him when he went to college).

Iwanski, oh great Iwanski, I love that you have stuffed animals.

January 24, 2007 7:05 AM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

They're not stuffed animals. Little toy animals nonetheless.

January 24, 2007 2:54 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Nuts. Stuffed animals would be way cooler. But I guess toys are toys.

January 24, 2007 2:58 PM  

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