|The pout because I didn't buy that key chain.|
But she's not even 7! And the tween years are supposedly 10-13. Her first grade year has brought changes, as I've mentioned before. She's more poised but also has adopted the language and sometimes nonchalance of the other kids in the schoolyard. Along with the newly acquired marbles and Pokemon cards she's been trading, there's more assurance in her walk and her talk. As in, she knows better!
In her eyes I can be the worst mom in the world if she doesn't get something from the bakery every day after school (and she doesn't). Or she complains I'm not helping her clean up her toys (though I did help even though I didn't get them all out). At other moments she is way too candid. Take for example a few of these gems she's spat out lately:
As she watches me brush my teeth: "Mom, when you get old do your teeth turn yellow?"
The day after my haircut.: "I liked your hair better when it was longer."
Talking with other moms of kids in this age group, I think it's pretty common to have these growing pains. One mom said her child had been pretty attitude-y and the girl told her one day that she and the other kindergarteners had been pretending to be teenagers during recess. Another mom said her son can get pretty angry over small things at home. So I know I'm not alone. But there is the question of how to deal with it.
I find myself saying quite often, "attitude!" Or I say simply, "don't talk to me that way." But I think there has to be a subtler way that makes her realize she's gone too far. Maybe doing as my friend Jessica does and getting quiet when her kids are not polite and waiting for them to ask in a better way. Or I should flat out say she's hurt my feelings by her words.
The other morning before the school gates opened I was observing the 9 and 10-year olds. The girls were wearing stylish sandals, small heels and kid-sized trench coats. Their hair was crimped or perfectly tied up. They were color-coordinated and fashionable. I looked downright frumpy compared to them. These are kids who will either go to middle school next year or know they will be at the top of the elementary school pecking order come autumn.
My daughter, for the moment, doesn't care if her socks don't match or if she is wearing pink and red and purple in the same outfit. She'd generally rather wear cheetah leggings than a dress. But she's growing up, and heaven knows I can't just put a book on her head and keep her little.
Maybe she's worried about second grade herself, as she has told me a few times. Or maybe she already feels that she'll be higher on the school ladder when the "little" first graders come next fall. In the meantime I know she's still a kid who wants to set up her Playmobil and pretend to be a Dalmatian on the couch.
And I know she's a good kid beneath the occasional sighs and eye-rolls. Like the other day when I took her to the pool to practice dunking her head under water she was holding my hand and said, "I love you, mommy. More than the blue sky and the sun." I held her hand tighter and promised to hold on to that sweet moment. I know there will be more of them. At least until she's 13.