Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Greetings from Tween-land

I don't know what the exact age range of the new age classification is--I think between 9 or 10 and 12--but Amanda is living there.


I have some evidence:

  • She is soaking in Disney tween fare as much as she can. As little as six months ago, she was content with watching the Smurfs on Boomerang, and of course PBS fare such as Cyberchase and Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. She still enjoys those shows, but if The Suite Life is on, or her real favorite Phineas and Ferb, she will definitely be watching that. In fact, she who has had no interest in tween pop culture even told me, "I have an actress I like. Her name is Ashley Tisdale." For some reason, the High School Musical fanfare has blown right past her, though. She thinks it's "weird and dumb."
  • This morning I woke her up for school. She sat up in bed. I gave her some socks at her request, to put on her cold feet before she got up. I came back downstairs. Twenty minutes later, I went back up to check on her, and she was still in bed. "I fell back asleep," she told me. Refusal to get up is definitely a precursor to the teen years.

  • We are having a disagreement over hair issues. She is always wanting to get her hair cut shorter--chin-length--and I'm always wanting it to be a bit longer than that. Recently I had finally convinced the hair stylists to give her some layers. I don't know why they balk at this. I think it seems high maintenance, but it's not for Amanda's hair. Saturday I told her to put in more layers, and Amanda added, "And I want it shorter." Well the combination of more layers and a stylist who got a little happy with the scissors has netted a result that I am not happy with. Amanda thinks it's fine, and hair grows, so I'm trying to get over it. I realize that this is not the last, nor the most significant, hair issue that we are going to face.
  • But most telling--I now embarrass her. I got to her classroom a little early last week for my once-monthly volunteering session. They were still in art, so I thought I'd write her a note on the first blank page in her planner that she would see that afternoon when she was filling it out. At the bottom of the page I wrote, "I (heart) Amanda." When she got home, it was all scratched out! She said, "That was embarrassing. People would think it was weird if they saw it."

In spite of that, I closed out my Mother's Day (well, the part of my Mother's Day before my children's bedtimes, anyway), snuggled up in my bed watching TV with Amanda. We watched two episodes of Phineas and Ferb (which I think I like as much as she does), laughing at the same things. I don't know all of the words to the theme song like she does, but perhaps that's not too far off.

Of course, once I learn them, I'll have to stifle the urge to sing along. I wouldn't want to embarrass her.

A couple days later when I signed her planner, I turned to the next page and put a little penguin sticker on it that I had found. I made a cartoon bubble which read, "Isn't my mom embarrassing?" When I signed her planner the next day, there was a note next to the cartoon that said, "I (heart) Mom."

I'm glad we can laugh about it, and I do know that the embarrassment that a child can feel over what used to be perfectly normal mom behavior can erupt out of nowhere. I'll have to tread lightly and remember to laugh. Mostly I'll try to remember that she really does still want me around. She was so happy when I was sharing her favorite TV show with her Sunday night. Several times she said, "Mom, I love you." After repeating it one time, she emphasized, "I just can't stop thinking that."

I (heart) Amanda, tweenage behavior and all. In fact, I think I'm sort of getting a kick out of it.

Do you embarrass your kids?


Jen Rouse said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job being sensitive to her changing stage of life. Sitting down to watch her show with her obviously meant a lot. Just this morning my 3-year-old wanted me to watch something with her but I told her I needed to shower. (That is why I let them watch TV, after all. To keep them out of trouble while I shower!) but maybe I need to change my routine sometimes so I can spend a little time doing something she likes to do, along with her.

stephanie said...

The changing emotions of a tween ... my husband and I laugh occasionally at the thought that one day we will have three girls in tweens/teens at the same time and wonder what we have gotten into. Sounds like you are manuevering the waters just fine. :)

Deidre said...

I love it that you didn't give up and still left another note for her! My 6 year old begs me every morning to 'surprise' her with a note in her lunch bag. I know this will not always be the case - which I will abandon with many tears :)

Katrina said...

Aw, this is such a sweet post. I especially love the "I (heart) Mom."

Though Camden is still perfectly happy with Boomerang shows, those little tween characteristics are starting to show up in him as well.

heather said...

Yeah, I think we're entering into that stage, too.
My fish get so embarrassed when I ask them to do tricks for company.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

My girl is 9 1/2, and I'm right there with you. It's a tough age. One minute, we're snuggling & the next, we're arguing. She's already told me I'd embarrass her if I helped her take her science project into school. I was hurt at first, but now I realize that it's perfectly natural, and I take what I can get. I want her to know I'm there for her always.

We haven't watched Phineas & Ferb yet, but she's really into the other Disney shows.

Anonymous said...

Things will just move on from here! With Hannah officially becoming a teen (13) at the end of the month, we are in the throes of it. She gets upset if we ever say no to her great ideas and I can't even come into dance to pay tuition. Things will get rougher but it will pass (some days it feels like it never will). Email me if you need to vent. :)
martha the roommate (I need to get an account!)

Susanne said...

The tween years. Yup, been there, done that twice now. And it was a bit different with each girl. I learned really quick to let hair issues go. We layed the ground rule of no weird, unnatural colors and left it at that. My older girls' hair went up, down, up, down for years depending on her mood. I learned that I had to pick my battles or else everything would become a power struggle. So I let the hair one go in favor of standing my ground with such things as piercings. Sounds like you are pretty on top of what is going on with her and that's great. I love how you diffused with the penguin sticker. You're a good mom.

Anonymous said...

Hi Seester.

It's me and Mimi... I've finally have been able to get on the internet with her around. I've been wanting to show her your blog. She is enjoying reading all of your posts. We went back to the archives and read "Remembering Mac." Mimi really enjoyed it. She said you write very well. She seems very proud.

We love you!