I was talking on the phone the other night to a new friend and we were discussing our girls. I mentioned that Sweetie was just about 8 1/2.
"Oh, wow" I said out loud as I scanned the calender. "She really is almost 8 1/2."
Monday will be that "big day."
The person I was talking with noted that her daughter is just about Sweetie's same age, as she will turn 9 in early November.
But the way my new friend qualified her statement, saying her daughter was "8 going on 18," what with eye rolls and concern about popularity and general attitude ... well, it just made me consider Sweetie.
Sweetie, for all her drama and smarts and confidence is, for all intents and purposes, still just my little 8 1/2 year old girl.
She still wants to cuddle with me or her Daddy on the couch each day as we settle into or out of our days watching TV in the living room.
She still wants to be read to every night at bedtime. Or, if bedtime is running later than usual, she claims she can't fall asleep without at least hearing a poem (Daddy and I each have a particular poem we recite to her when bedtime comes around quickly.)
She still loves to give us "hugs, kisses, noses & poses" as we send her off to sleep.
Sweetie still cannot imagine a day when - like teens and preteens she sees on T.V. - she thinks she will feel any differently about Daddy and I than she does now. Thinking your parents are weird or uncool? Pshaw! She just doesn't get that... yet.
She still doesn't allow her life to revolve around friends and status and popularity. She's just as happy to play on her own as she is to have friends around to imagine and roam with.
Boys - as anything more than potential friends, plain and simple - are nowhere near being on her radar yet. Hmmmm... well, perhaps they're approaching the radar, but still far off. She has shyly/cutely told me before when a particular boy in her class told her he loved her. And - when I've picked on her about her new "boy" friend from the Boys and Girls Club - she too adamantly told me that they were JUST FRIENDS! (and, to me, the more adamant you get about something, the more it hides the real situation. I'm just sayin'...)
She still wears her princess helmet every time she heads outside to ride her bike on our not-really-that-busy-or-dangerous cul-de-sac road. We don't need to remind her. She never forgets. Not one consideration that she may not look terribly "cool" in the helmet. Not connecting any thoughts of seeing other kids in the neighborhood riding their bikes sans helmets. She just knows the rules of safe riding and obeys.
She also doesn't fight us on where she can ride her bike. For now, we just want her to stay on our rode. And, for now, that's fine enough for her.
We limit her T.V. watching to not include any silly pre-teen/teenage Disney shows like Hannah Montana or Wizards of Waverly Place (is Hannah Montana even still airing? Whatever...) She used to watch them. But when Hubby and I finally called an end to those days, she did not fight it. She's too young to be watching shows specifically aimed at kids who are dating and driving and getting into all sorts of messes.
At 8 1/2 years old, she is not yet taking care of her own baths or showers. This, I wish I could change. I tried to get her used to taking showers. It lasted 2 or 3 instances, until the novelty wore off. But something has to change. I'm getting too old and sore to bend down and wash her hair in the tub. (She does wash herself - except for hair - in the tub. So there's that...)
She doesn't care a hoot about clothing and fashion in general. She begrudgingly gets herself dressed on the weekend, picking out her own clothes. But most of the time I automatically set out her clothes for her, lest I hear her grumble and whine that she doesn't know what to wear. That, I think, is actually a pretty easily changeable situation. It's summertime now. You're 8 1/2 now. Get yourself dressed already or stay naked.
At any rate. What I'm saying... I'm pretty happy with the rate at which Sweetie is growing up. For the most part, not any faster than she's naturally aging each year. And that's just the way I like it.
Too many kids are growing up way too fast these days. And of course Sweetie is/has been exposed to some pretty mature concepts via the media or friends or whatnot. But, at least for now, she is happy and comfortable enough with these ideas to realize that "that's grownup stuff" and to leave it all alone.
Happy (almost) 8 1/2 year old birthday, Sweetie. I can't wait to enjoy the summer with you, spending some time with my little girl!