5 In Mommy Confessions

The Preteen Years – Hello, Personality!

Finally. An aspect to child rearing I can get excited about.

That probably sounds bad, doesn’t it? As a woman—especially one who’s given birth to two beautiful, bright little girls—I’m supposed to have all kinds of cuddly stories about when they were babies and toddlers, right? Gush about how my maternal instincts blossomed from the second they were born? How I’d gaze lovingly at their chubby little bodies?

Sorry, I can’t.

It’s what I expected when I got pregnant, but it wasn’t how things ended up.

I hated pregnancy. Unlike other soon-to-be-moms, I had morning sickness the whole time which left me…um…cranky would be a nice way to put it. Instead of having one of those cute basketball bellies that look adorable in the clingy tops, I spread in every direction for more of a swallowed-inner-tube look. My hair went stringy and my usual disciplined approach to life shifted to something closer resembling a beached whale.

From birth to roughly two or three years old, I wrestled with lack of sleep, a closet that consisted of ratty t-shirts and sweat suits, and haircuts limited to Supercuts. Why bother with more when your clothes end up spit up on, and you don’t make it further than Walmart for weeks anyway?

Remember the Rubik’s cube? How you’d twist the pieces around for hours and usually ended up making the thing worse? Yep, that was me through the entire timespan. Not a thing “natural” about it.

But guess what? They’re still breathing!

The diapers are gone, they all seem to be doing well in class, and they’re healthy. And, despite my early-year-ineptitude, we might have actually made it to a phase of their lives I can get excited about…

The Preteens.

Yeah, I never thought I’d say that. From the time my hormones kicked in to the time I left for college, my mom and I were like Tyson and Holyfield. So the day the doctor told me I was having a girl, I seriously questioned the wisdom of what I’d gotten myself into with motherhood.

Well, puberty is here. But instead of building a wall between me and my oldest, it’s knocking some down. She talks to me. Not just about fourth grade math (which makes me want to jam a stick in my eye), but about feelings. She’s spreading her wings, wanting her own room and to decorate it in a way that matches her style. Flexing her independence in way that says, “Look what I can do!”

I get that. I can relate to it. And maybe that’s the difference. She’s reached a point in her life where we’re bonding on a deeper level. Growing a relationship based on connection and understanding instead of dependence.

So. Freakin’. Cool.

So, here’s my question. If you got to pick a specific time period in a kid’s life to spend with them and help them grow, which would it be? What part feels the most natural to you? Infant? Toddler? Preschool to Preteen? Young Adult?

I’m curious to see if I’m (as usual) the odd-woman out.

Note to self: Bookmark this blog for reference later. You may need to remind yourself of your current joy the first time she tells you she has a boyfriend.

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  • Reply
    Suzanne Vince
    March 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I think the years you’re going through were the best/easiest for me. They’re fairly independent from a school/homework perspective, and they still want to talk to you. When high school starts, it’s all over with. You are done raising them. Everything you say is wrong, everything they say is right, and they sure as heck don’t want to talk. About anything. Unless they’re talking back 🙂

    Enjoy this time with them, Rhenna, because these years are still very influential in their identity formation.

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Oh, we’re talking back already, but it’s usually followed by genuine remorse. I figure the remorse will die off faster than I want it to. 🙂

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    March 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I was exactly the same way with my daughter – maternal instincts seemed to have skipped over me. I was never one to ooh and ah over babies, the thought of giving birth scared my socks off, and taking care of a mini me was beyond my ability to imagine. But hubby wanted a kid and in a moment of weakness, I gave in. The first three years were so hard (not that there weren’t glorious moments, such as when she’d look up at me, paused in her drinking, and smile…or do the cute-cooing-baby thing), but zombie-me had a hard time coping. But after the age of 4? Awesome.

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Yes! I knew I liked you. 😛

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    March 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    SOrd to pick! I loved my high schoolers. But on the other hand, they wouldn’t come grocery shopping with me, even when I bribed them with fried chicken. But the Tweens were definitely easier for me than the little ‘uns. They’re just so much more people!

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