My baby. My first baby. That little girl who used to hold my finger and say hup, hup, hup as she toddled along. The adorable pipsqueak who used to bang sticks together and loudly sing "This old man." The little girl who loved rainbow prints and everything purple.
My silly, funny, charming kid says she's not a kid anymore now that she's almost eleven.
She says she doesn't even love purple anymore -- she doesn't want to be in a rut.
She's become quiet and serious and moody. She sometimes even disapproves of silliness, which is a big problem if you're my kid. Silly is what I do! I am the queen of "make yourself look like an idiot at the grocery store to make your toddler happy" kind of stuff. I am not serious or grown up. I'm not ready for this. :)
The other day we were having a deep conversation about sibling rivalry and I said something about all of the kids competing for resources in the family, both tangible and not. That led to a discussion of what tangible meant (oh yeah, that's what I do too, make everything a teachable moment!) and a list of intangible resources the kids might want. "Like mama time" I said.
"Oh," she replied, "I don't need mama time any more."
I gasped and told her she'd ripped my heart out and she could now view it on the floor. I think I put my hand to my forehead and made a small weeping sound too, but it was all wasted. She rolled her eyes at me.
She doesn't need mama time anymore? Sob.
She took it back, but I know in a way it's true. She's such a different person than she was even 6 months ago. She's changing and I have to embrace that and stand back when needed and find new ways to spend time with her when she needs that.
I'm sure we'll form a wonderful new relationship in this older, more mature phase of her life. I already love what a young woman she's becoming and I know she'll be a fantastic teenager.
So yes, I'll stop being quite so silly in public. I'll help her shop for training bras and feed her new interest in fashion. I'll take her out for dessert for mama time instead of running through the sprinkler with her. I'll give her space and fall in love with this new version of herself that she's creating.
Just the same, I told her not to rush this growing up business. I plan to tempt her all summer with water balloons, sheet painting, rain dancing and other irresistible childhood goodies. Resistance is futile.
She'll always be my little girl.