As I lay on the hospital bed, legs spread, the midwife yells “I can see her head, she has a head full of hair”.
First clue. You know the old wives tales about if the mom has a great amount of heart burn while pregnant, the kid is likely to have a head full of hair. True, at least for me it was.
At that moment, I decided that I no longer wanted to push, long story for another blog post.
The hospital staff thought that I had flipped my lid as they rolled me into a different room to perform the C – section that they hadn’t planned on doing.
This is how Tween Girl came into the world.
Fast forward. Tween Girl is 9 (tweens are defined as being ages 8 to 12). During these 9 years, she has taught me a tremendous amount about myself as I learn things about her. I believe that the things I’ve learned are the foundational pieces she needs and will need even more when we reach the heavy hitting latter tween and teen years.
NOTE: This is an incomplete guide for obvious reasons. Tween Girl is only 9, you do the math!
- Finish what I start. This will keep parents on their toes as their tweens make it priority to poke holes into our plans. Running a blog, healthier eating, going to the gym 4 times each week, these are all things that Tween Girl knows that I am doing. Of course, she’s watching me (#5 below gives more on this). Why should she listen to me if I am not consistent in what I am doing? Yeah, she should because I am the parent. But sometimes, we as parents, need to really look at what we are doing. I have stopped and started so many things in life before, I don’t want the same for her. So far, she has used good judgement to determine if she should keep going with something or stop. She finished her Spring soccer season and determined that she no longer wanted to do it. Sure, as Mom, I could have said “you will stick with this until I say stop”. I could see that she no longer enjoyed playing.
- Affection. Hugs and kisses didn’t use to be in my repertoire until College Kid was born. I knew that it was important for boys to have affection but didn’t think it was high priority for girls as well. As girls grow older, they still need affection from their parents. NOTE: don’t be surprised when they don’t want you hugging them out in public. Hasn’t happened to me yet, we’re still in the early stages.
- How to laugh. Not that I didn’t know how but more so about doing it often. Kids around this age are silly and laugh at the most silliest things. Tween Girl still likes to be tickled and we get a kick out of doing something as silly as that. Kids should see their parents laugh, it creates such a fun and safe place, everyone gets to let their guard down.
- How to come out of my shell. Tween Girl has shown me how to just get out there and do it, regardless if I screw up or not. This is the kid that convinced me to go camping, first time for both of us. Once we arrived, not knowing anyone there, she met a group of girls and became a part of their group for the talent show the next night. Yes, she is usually the loudest in the bunch. And yes, she sometimes gets her feelings hurt, but she bounces back. I pray that this is a trait that she continues to have as we get more into the tween/teen years.
- Technology/Electronics are addictive. Tween Girl has never known a time when there were no computers. She says she has seen a rotary phone before but not so sure what to do with it. I watch her as she is on the computer or watching the Disney Channel. Sometimes she doesn’t hear us when we are talking to her or she forgets to do her chores. Then I notice myself. I freak out when I can’t find my phone. Or my fingers twitch when my phone vibrates. My excuse, it’s harder for me to put down technology because this stuff was just being created when I was growing up! So, just as I have set limits on TV watching and computer time, I have put similar limits on myself. They are still sponges, soaking up everything they see us do and ready to rattle it back at us if they catch us doing something we told them not to do. Mothering from Scratch provides some insight on easing out distractions from our daily lives to make time for what’s important.
- Keeping my emotional powder keg in perspective. This is a term my Hubs uses to describe when a woman’s emotions erupt. Not offended because I believe that emotions are real, useful at times and aren’t meant to be bottled up. If I am upset, most of the time, Tween Girl can tell. I do take opportunities at those times to explain why I am upset. This allows her to realize that (1) My mom is human, (2) She knows how to work through her emotions and end up good. I want her to know that even though a person can be upset, they can choose to work through those emotions. She’s still learning this one, as expected. But what she has shown me so far is a good clue that we are headed in the right direction. It will be interesting (ok, maybe emotional is the right word to use here) to see, though, how my and Tween Girl’s emotions bump up against each other over the next few years. Take a look at this 5 step to managing big emotions poster, I believe it can work for us big kids, too!
|Yes, my eyes are closed on some of these!|
So, there you have it. The first set of 6 things I’ve learned about myself that Tween Girl has taught me. Can’t promise that the next installment will be 6 or 20 or 1, but just know that there will be another installment. Think about it. We’re always learning, all of us. Something as simple as having your kid repeat a verse from their favorite book can turn into a lesson. Life Hack talks about how kids crave learning how to master things. Many adults loose this craving because life has a way of beating us up from time to time. Our kids learn from us, so why not show them that we still crave mastery as well?
Your turn, can you think of a time when you learned something from an unlikely source?