They start out so cute and earnest…

I’m not sure whether nine counts as the end of middle childhood, or the beginning of the tween years. For me, I decide day-to-day, depending on how Gracie is acting. She’s sliced pretty even these days – just as likely to play make-believe with her sister as she is to spend hours on iTunes and YouTube or talking on the phone with her friends.

Last night, I went all gooey inside and started oohing and ahhing (to myself – I would have been yelled at for embarrassing her had I demonstrated such mah-baybee’s-growing-up! emotions out loud) over what Gracie chose to do with her ten-minute warning that it was almost time to go back to her dad’s house.

Gracie went and fetched her jewelry box, carried it into my bathroom, turned on alllll the overhead and vanity lights, and then proceeded to primp and preen in the mirror as she took her time selecting just the right pair of earrings. I chuckled to myself from where I was lying on my bed, book abandoned in favor of watching my little girl take some baby steps towards tweendom. She’d hold up one pair against her ears, turn this way and that in the mirror, maybe tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. Then she’d try another pair, another angle in the mirror. It all looked a little cliche and it was certainly a far cry from how I just grab a pair of earrings from the top of my bureau and throw them on as I run out the door, but hey – this was Gracie’s way of figuring out what being a girl means, and what being a bit older, with accessories means. She’s allowed to figure it out however she wants; if she wants my input or my help, I’m very sure she’ll ask for it. Not that I wasn’t going to love on whatever look she finally settled on: if I fill her up with confidence now, maybe there will still be some if she ever finds she’s running low.

Still. It’s weird to think that I have a daughter who’s old enough to be preening in mirrors for something other than make-believe. Yesterday it was an earring change, tomorrow it will be fancy new hairstyles, and before you know it (and probably snuck long before her dad and I have okayed it)…make-up. This is when I start breathing into a paper bag and remembering that Gracie-boo is THANK GOD still only nine. Just nine. Not yet time to worry about make-up and boys and driving licenses. But almost.

Here, too, is when I remind myself that she’s still mostly a tomboy. In fact, I’m pretty sure the reason Gracie went all Operation: Ultra Girly Earring Change was because I had asked her earlier if her ears were bothering her (the earring hole on one ear was mildly irritated last week). She still loves swimming and biking and playing video games with the boys. Gracie loves to get dressed up for special occasions, but her default outfits are shorts and tshirts. She’ll get dressed and call it good enough; her sister is the one who remembers the jewelry and hair bands and all the other layering accessories.

And yet, as last night reminded me, tweenagerhood is looming. Girly-girl tendencies are there, waiting to flash out from inside my Gracie. I’m not too worried about her… but I won’t deny my own mama-freak-out-mode is also there, just waiting to miss how cute and easy Gracie-girl was when she was nine.

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3 Responses to “They start out so cute and earnest…”

  1. Agent Torklepants Says:

    To make yourself feel better about the earlobe primping remind yourself she still thinks her amber earrings are made out of dinosaur blood =0]

  2. Mary Says:

    I can’t even imagine! Boys definitely don’t do that!

  3. Kathy Says:

    It only gets better (or maybe that’s worse). Emma still fluctuates between super girly-girl and that’s good enough. She is more fun every day and cracks me up all the time. Enjoy all the changes that are coming. They aren’t all bad.

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