I’ve definitely found my match in the form of a nine-year-old. She’s all sassy and competitive and persistent and up early and determined and relentless and god I love her. And well, I guess I’m kind of the same. Minus the sassy and god people want to kill me most of the time. Hey, it’s my blog. I can characterize myself any way I want.
But man, parenting is one tough show. I remember thinking how unbelievably hard it was at that newborn stage. Kid wouldn’t stop crying. Make that screaming. Screaming like someone was out to get her. Every. Single. Waking. Minute. Of. The. Day. Not to mention the nights. They told me six months would be the turning point. That the screaming would stop. Except they were wrong. It didn’t. Sleeping through the night didn’t occur until age three. And then age three introduced new and more exciting challenges. Challenges like biting. And talking back (or fresh, if you’re stuck in the 80s). And not going to bed. And waking up at 5 am. Even on Saturday. And those are challenges I still embrace.
But now *poof* I’m in the tween stage???!!! WTF??? And because I’m relentless and persistent and competitive I don’t exactly play fair when it comes to discipline. Like I call her out on *everything* because I can’t stand to see her get away with stuff I get away with.
When she fights with her sister it SUCKS. REALLY sucks. Because she can be mean and ruthless and selfish and inconsiderate and man that’s hard to watch. Because, okay, fine, so can I. There, I said it.
So we’ve kind of been getting on each other’s nerves lately. You know, those mother/daughter relationships can get tense, right? So I’m on her case about pretty much everything and then she calls me out about being on her case which pisses me off even more so I get on her case even more and say things that I’d never thought I’d say like “You’re lucky you have a bed to sleep in!” and “Kids in Africa wish they had what was on your plate!” and “xxx’s daughter not only makes her bed in the morning but she’s nice to her sister and she brings in the groceries…without being asked!!” That always gets her juices going…like how in the world I know that ‘xxx’s daughter’ does all those things. I don’t.
But everyone has to grow up, right? Even mommies sometimes. And so today I decided that we’d have a little shopping and lunch trip, just the two of us. Just because. No sisters; no distractions. She specifically requested that our trip be a “phone free trip” to which I obliged. Yeah, I guess I do spend a little too much time looking at that thing. Nothing a little retail therapy can’t fix, right? I tried not to be judgmental when she picked out inappropriate outfits that showed waaayyy too much skin. Or the heels (when did they start making stilettos for nine-year-olds? Thanks a LOT, Miley) and instead carefully suggested some other items. She actually liked many some of my suggestions. Even tried them on! We cracked up in the dressing room when she looked ridiculous. Like two old pals. Pals that I hope one day we’ll become when I’ve earned the right to be her friend.
I know it sounds so trivial but it was probably the best day I’ve had in months. Seriously. She opened up and told me things she hasn’t told me in a while. We discussed school and friends, boys and sports, summer plans, camp, fears and then more boys.
But the best part was in our driveway, taking out the bags when she said to me: “Mom, I’m really going to try harder to be sweeter to my sister and to do more stuff on my own. Will you try not to be so tough on me?” And I said: “Yes, I really will.”
Then she gave me a hug. Something she doesn’t always do.
“Thanks for a great day mom. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Man, that’s a good day.
Boston Market Creamed Spinach. Unreal atop nachos. Don’t tell anyone.