It’s been an interesting few days at Casa de Katie. We’ve had birthday festivities and church concerts and playdates and all kinds of fun and mayhem going on! (And then there’s been the doom and destruction at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed.) For so many reasons, we are so far behind in celebrating our favorite eleven-year-old! Which would annoy her to no end if she knew – celebrating her is one of her favorite things. So let’s kick out a few more items for our lists, shall we?
Ten Things Gracie-Girl Loves with the Entirety of her Entire Pre-teen Heart:
(And also – has she mentioned a time or 594854 that she’s a pre-teen? Because she is and she can’t believe it. Which would be more believable if she wasn’t mentioning it every 30 seconds. Sheesh.)
1. Being a pre-teen. Oh my heart, how this one makes my breath catch both with laughter and memorization that you, my baby girl, really are growing up! You love to brush your hair in front of the mirror, you have to fix your eyelashes every morning (good lord, some mornings I swear you’re styling each individual one!), make faces, and primp and preen. I find it to be adorable because I know you’re not vain – no way could my girl who could care less if she matches be vain. Nah, you’re doing it because you’re figuring out how this thing goes. Get yours, Gracie; figure out who you are and what you are, even if part of that has to happen in front of the mirror. Stare at your face until you really, really know you that piece of you.
2. Digital entertainment. The amount of time you’d spent in front of YouTube or the DVR or iTunes would be infinite, if I allowed it. Instead, I have to set limits on time spent glued to your iTouch phones when you bring them from your Dad’s, or (try to) patiently explain again why I’m not going to let your sister change the channel on the TV when you have to shower, because TV shows are not that important that everyone’s lives stop, or why…okay, music really is that important at my house. No limits there. Make as many “mix tapes” as you like! And you can’t wait to get a blog or Facebook or Instagram and my mama’s heart lives in fear of all the missteps that rabbit hole could hold. So I’ll be a little grateful that we’re not there quite yet.
3. Shopping for clothes. I’ve long understood that to buy something for Gracie was guaranteed to mean she wouldn’t like it. Now, Gracie doesn’t wait for me to ask if she likes something; she’ll bring items to me with a coy, “Can I have this?” “Oh, isn’t this really cute, Mom?” “I LOVE this! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!” It’s mostly cute…and a harbinger of what’s to come.
4. Smoothies. Mostly, Gracie’s taste in food is unchanged. She loves the pricey, cush foods like sushi and lobster and crab legs – and now smoothies. Smoothies are great! And healthy(ish)! But the way Gracie likes to build them (ALLLL THE THINGS!) and then sucks them down, it’s putting a dent in my grocery bill! Still, since she’s my girlie who hates breakfast, this comes in handy from time to time.
5. Stomp. The after-school program has been working on a stomp/step production and both girls have not. stopped. stomping. I had to finally make a rule that there was no stomping in the house just to protect the shreds of sanity I have left. I love that the girls are so good at it…but great googly moogly the constant noise! They are so LOUD at it, too!
6. Staying home alone. This goes along with growing up, and my how my Gracie-girl adores that! She never feels so privileged as when Bee and I run to the store, or when I go for a run, or even if I just run across the street to Corrie’s. It’s getting easier for me, and I trust the kid knows what to do – I just don’t trust the universe so much. But that baby bird doesn’t mind pushing mama out of the nest, no sir.
7. Being social. Gracie loves her large circle of friend (and her one true bff). She loves having a ton of activities that she’s a part of, and going out to do things with her groups, and being on the phone. She’s an outgoing introvert, fo sho.
8. Dogs, dogs, cats, and more pets. Oh, and dogs. Who else do you know has five dogs, and one cat, between two houses – and a dog that practically lives at her mama’s – and still complains that she doesn’t get to have any pets? She wants fishes. And a hedgehog. And snakes. And frogs. And about another dozen dogs. Gracie will spend her free time reading about dogs and trying to train them (which, really, is a lost cause, because Gracie just gets down on the floor and plays with them and has zero authority. They see her as a littermate, not an alpha). There is zero fear when it comes to animals, zero hesitation, and all the compassion. I love that about my girl.
9. Sarcasm, puns, and wordplay. It used to be that Gracie loved getting the joke, making silly riddles, and cracking codes. She still loves all that, but what I’ve enjoyed is watching how her way of thinking and sense of humor have evolved. Her snarky sense of humor – and ability to laugh at the world and herself – is going to get her through an awful lot as she bumps along through life.
10. Being the guy the guy counts on. Gracie loves being responsible. I’ve raised her to be her own person, to rely on herself to get her own homework finished, track her own deadlines, pack her own snacks, make sure I sign things… So it kills her when others don’t recognize that she’s a mini-grown-up. She wants to help, she wants to get the job done, and by golly she wants the credit for it, too.
10 Things Gracie-Girl Will Pay, Threaten, Cajole, and Try To Whine Her Way Out Of:
1. Running errands. I know it’s because she’s tasted the independence of staying home alone, but nothing makes my blood boil like the privilege I hear when Gracie whines about why I can’t run to Costco while the girls are at church, or run to Target before I pick them up from After-Care. I know it’s not fun, but suck it up, kid.
2. Getting caught. Gracie is a bit of a liar lately. I know it’s a phase, and one I’m trying to handle the right way. (Please, someone, lend me your Parenting Guide? I can’t find mine.) Right now that means making her believe that I know she’s lying, and yet creating the right kind of safe environment for her to fess up – and still face consequences when they’re warranted. I hate this “getting caught” thing too, but not as much as her growing up thinking she won’t ever.
3. Top bunk. No, wait – bottom bunk. There’s nothing Gracie hates more than top bunk if she wants the bottom bunk…or the bottom bunk if she wants the top bunk. There’s no pleasing her. Or me, because do you think the girls have figured out a way to negotiate this on their own?
4. Not getting her way. The following will happen: whining, stomping, arguing, negotiating, blaming everyone around her, oh-my-GOD!-momming, muttering, bribing her sister, lashing out, and then, thank god, apologizing. It’s going to be a long few years.
5. Mornings. Gracie wakes up a lot faster than I do, but she is still way, way not a morning person. I have to yell a couple times before she’ll stumble out of bed, and then look out for all that attitude sloshing around. It’s a good thing I can empathize with the whole mornings-suck thing, because this could be a lot worse otherwise.
6. Bullies and small-minded people. Gracie-girl is turning into a pretty fantastic person. She was commended by her school recently for rushing out and stopping a fight (and then maybe warned to tell a teacher, not personally try to intervene). She comments more and more about political goings-on and current events, and I love how flabbergasted she is that people just don’t know how to act, how to be kind and fair. She constantly tells me stories and brings instances to light highlighting that she’s been listening to all my bits of advice and warnings about how to be awesome.
7. Veggies. It used to be that you loved trying new foods, like they were dares, Now, you moan and groan over even the few veggies you used to like. It’s a struggle, baby girl.
8. Sharing power. You’re so used to being one of The Chosen Ones that you hate when you have to share the limelight. Well, let me rephrase that – you don’t mind if it’s your idea and you think you’ll be recognized for being a kind and benevolent dictator, letting someone else have a turn. But when you were yanked from morning announcements so someone else could have a turn? You were most seriously displeased.
9. Not being in control. Having to sit at your own seat at the table instead of choosing wherever you want, not getting to ban Bee from changing the channel, not being allowed to have the shower radio on because I don’t want to drop everything to find new batteries, not getting to stay up an extra five minutes to finish what you’re doing – they’re all silly little things that I sometimes wonder whether they’re even worth fighting over, but then I think of how you lean towards dictatorship and worry just a leetle… Maybe it does matter that I make you sit where you don’t want to from time to time.
10. Mom singing in the car. Or the store. Or in front of anyone. But especially in front of her. We’re entering that squishy realm where she will sometimes hold my hand, but god forbid I do any one of the 9803458 things she determines are embarrassing. The list is bound to change and is subject to the whimsy of Her Majesty The Preteen. Good thing I don’t mind embarrassing her from time to time or my feelings would be hurt.
So there you go, Gracie-girl: a little peek into who you are and who you’re becoming. Spoiler alert: you are so heart-crushingly, wonderfully, fantastically and wickedly awesome that you just knock me out, love. Keep at it, Gracie-girl. You are doing it just right.
Tags: birthdays, eleven, parenting, preteen