Raising girls has been fun, but the dynamic is definitely starting to change, we see it with my 8 year old. I wouldn’t say it’s less fun…but it’s certainly more challenging. Tom calls her 8…going on 14. She gets surly, and she she’s learning how to roll her eyes. But when he gets mad at her (for instance at dinner, when he has to tell her sit down, get your knees out of your chest, get your hair out of your food, scoot up to the table, lean over the plate, stay seated, don’t go looking for toys, or finding an old classmate on the school photo buried in the desk behind you, and don’t get up and chase your sister out of her chair by taunting her with a squishy blueberry that looks like snot) she crumbles right in front of us and cries til her eyes are red…that’s when she is 8, going on 2. And the example I gave? Shouldn’t really upset her anymore. That’s a nightly occurance.
I just got back from a visit to Colorado to see my sister. I spent a good deal of time with my 13 year old niece. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit scared after seeing what I saw. It’s nothing outrageous, it’s not like we should call the cops or CPS. It’s typical, but it’s not enjoyable. Eye rolling is apparently perfected between age 8 and 13. And I’ll have double that…with daughters only 19 months apart. What were we thinking back then? Obviously, we thought we were exempt. “Not OUR kids.” Who’s tricked themselves with that line of thinking before? Done it. Did it. Positive I’ll do it some more.
How do we stop this downward spiral?
We look at sweet baby pictures to remind us why we had kids, we drink lots of wine, and we talk to our friends with boys.
SUCH a different beast. I have heard people say “I could only be a mother to boys,” or “I was meant to have boys, I don’t know how to raise girls.” Praise God that Tom’s sperm did not get that impression of me. They sent me X’s, and that’s all I can handle.
I’ve always wanted girls. I come from a family of 2 girls. I know girls. I know how they think.
The way they will cry louder when they see their mother, and stop in an instant and resume playing if she leaves the room.
The way they will praise their mother’s jewelry and clothes and shoes and handbags and then destroy them the minute they touch them.
The way they can play quietly for hours with barbies and dolls, or read chapter after chapter and be fully engrossed…until their mother shows her face, and then they are “bored and have nothing to do.”
The way they try on clothes at the store and agree they like it, only to never wear it after we get it home and the tags are ripped off. And when confronted on why we even bought it, “because I knew you liked it.”
I know the future girls too….
The way she will lay down her life for her friends, but will punch her sister if she tries to share the side of ketchup at Red Robin.
The way she will break her mother’s heart by saying things she doesn’t mean, and think that her mother doesn’t care.
The way one boy will be her whole world and she can’t live without him, until there’s a new boy.
The way we will miss her when she’s caught in that hormonal cyclone of adolescence and can’t be bothered with talking to her parents, except for those feeble attempts every few months, when she does make an effort, but is quickly reminded by her parents response that they are idiots and she’s wasting her time. We will miss her, and somehow, if everyone survives it, we will welcome her back.
But that is the future with girls. And we are not there yet. Luckily. Because I only drink wine and beer, and I think I’ll need to move onto harder stuff to make it through those years. You thought those friends of yours with older children were calling these the “toddler years”, but really, they were saying the “tolerance building” years. But that’s not what you heard, because they were drunk, and slurring their words.…. remember they already have teenage daughters.
Back to boys. More difficult in the early years, quite possibly very easy in the teenage years. Something I heard once and will never forget:
If you have a boy you only have to worry about 1 penis. If you have girls, you have to worry about EVERY penis. So yes, that seems much easier to have a boy in the teen years. Who wants to worry about a bunch of penii?
But what about now? In the elementary school years? I talk to my friend who has 3 boys (who considers herself a boy mom) and she tells me something so nonchalantly I find myself needing to clarify.
She told me her oldest was supposed to be going to sleep, but she had to keep telling him to be quiet.
Playing video games? No.
Rustling the pages of a magazine? No.
He was “rustling” something alright, but not a mag. Something attached to him. Oh Lord, can’t even really talk about this, but that is why I am good with what I’ve got. And that would be pink loving, mother torturing, eye rolling little girls. Who don’t have penises to play with. So right now my friend has 3 of them to worry about. She says they all came out of the womb holding onto their stuff. And there is a command that is yelled in her house, and it is “Hands on your head!” and immediately the hands leave the inside of the pants and come to the top of the head. I informed her that at some point, yelling Hands on your head will be instructing them to leave their hands down their pants. But they haven’t learned that slang yet, and she didn’t appreciate my comment, so no need to yell “Hands on your shoulders!” yet. But maybe someday.
And now boobs. Because I know my girls are quite obsessed with them. “Accidentally” touching mine when they’re near me. Asking me when I “got” mine. How I got mine. How big will theirs be? When can they get a bra? Can they wear my bra? (No. But yet I find my best bras discarded on my closet floor, with the straps all tied up in knots and hair ties, trying to force them to fit a 6 year old body. Remember how I said my stuff gets destroyed in their hands? Yet another example). If it’s like this with girls, I can imagine what it must be like with boys.
Another friend of mine told me the story about his son searching for pictures of boobs on the ipad. Silly little boy, typed in “boobs” in the search line and left the ipad where anyone could pick it up. Well, his dad picked it up next, and found the boobs. He denied typing in boobs of course, deny, deny, deny. Until he heard that typing in boobs is not the worst he can do, but lying about it sure is. So he hung his head and confessed. “Yes. Yes, it was me. I searched for boobs.”
I don’t know why, but while listening to this story I had a difficult time feeling concerned. For some inexplicable reason, when I imagined a “boobs” search on the web, I pictured 17 year old girls with big bosoms in tight green sweaters that went up to their neck. You know, as if we live in the 1950’s and Beaver Cleaver was doing a google boob search. Why so innocent a picture in my mind I wonder? I can only guess, that since I was thinking about what a little boy might see/want to see, that is what came to my mind.
Well, flash forward to the 2015 google image search for boobs. I googled it. And I stumbled into a ghastly world of pictures that assaulted my eyes with a combination of Penthouse and Photoshop. I mean, I’m STILL asking myself…..could those boobs be legit?? Impossible. She wouldn’t be able to stand upright if they were really that immense. And that tank top can NOT possibly stretch that far away from her body! Preposterous.
Where’s the girl in the green sweater. Let’s see her please.
The lesson from this post?
Don’t have boys?
Don’t have boobs?
Don’t search the internet?
I don’t have the answer. I just wanted to put this out there. In case anyone else was questioning how they were doing with the pre-pubescent aged children in their house, and to reassure them that whatever they are suffering from, I’m suffering along with them.