My oldest is 13-years-old. Where did the time go? They are growing up faster than I feel like I can let go. Pretty soon, they are going to have to pry themselves from my cold dead hands. Then they’ll still probably have to break them in order for me to release, I’m just holding on that hard.
But the Big Guy, for as liberal as he pretends to be, is going to have an even harder time than me. He’s actually told the girls that they can’t date until they are 18 and he.was.serious. I just laughed. I told him that’s what my dad said too but I started dating when I was 15. I just didn’t tell my dad. That’s not what I want for our girls so we’re all easing into it.
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The kids at school are all pairing up. 13-years-old, for me, is a bit young to be paired up BUT I do remember being that age and having crushes. In fact, I think somewhere in 8th grade is where I lost my mind and went completely boy crazy. At least that is what my 8th-grade diary would have me believe. #SoEmbarassing
Bella’s always been too involved with ballet to have time to care about boys. But recently, there has been KJ Apa, Cole Sprouse and Robert Pattinson screensavers where there once was unicorns. But apparently, this is the case for the entire eighth-grade girl population.
A couple weeks ago she was homesick and instead of binge watching funny fails on Youtube she binge-watched the entire Twilight series and can’t stop talking Jacob’s chest. Kiss/Kill/Marry is the new favorite pastime with the girls.
I just watch and listen and let them know that it’s all normal. I don’t encourage or discourage. I simply pay attention and try to guide them through these confusing times of hormones and puberty.
There have been a couple boys and I can tell by my daughter’s sheepish smile and sparkly eyes that these boys are as good as KJ Apa and Cole Sprouse. But I don’t push. I don’t want them to feel like I’m pushing them to like boys (or girls) but I also don’t want them to feel like I am holding them back. I want them to know that as long as they respect themselves and aren’t cruel to anyone, it’s their choice to make. It’s a natural part of growing up.
Obviously, they are too young to actually date anyone but I can’t stop them from growing up. I can’t stop them from having feelings or wanting to get to know someone better. I can only encourage them to do it in a respectful, honest and dignified way.
A few weeks ago, when I picked Bella up from school, she excitedly recounted the day’s events which to my surprise involved a certain young man who knows how to use his words. It was a dress-up day and this boy, very sweetly pulled up his pant legs to reveal to my daughter a pair of socks with hearts on them. Then, he says, “I wore these just for you, Bella.”
She turned 50 shades of red and changed the subject. I know this because it’s exactly what she did when she told me about it. She’s shy, especially in this situation. What new teen wouldn’t be? Though I’m not quite ready for this next phase, the story was very sweet.
She’s starting to embrace becoming a teen and all which that entails; the good, the bad and the terrible. She’s even looking forward to high school when just this past summer, she wasn’t. She really is growing up so fast.
I’d like to think it has something to do with our style of parenting; let them know your love is unconditional and you will always be there to listen with understanding ears and an open heart but really, I think we just got lucky with a couple of good girls.
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Just a few months ago, puberty was barely on the horizon, off in the not so far distance. But that milestone has come and gone. We’ve got puberty covered. Thanks to lots of reading, lots of remembering my own teen years, lots of understanding and Knixteen’s period proof underwear and bras. Things are different from when I was 13-years-old.
Apparently, the teen years are a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and parents and kids alike are strapped in for the duration. All we can do is hold on to one another and try to enjoy the ride together. Never stop talking and more importantly, never stop listening. You never know what you might hear or what they might need you to say.
I know these sweet moments of blushing and sparkly eyes are just the beginning of what will become her long, complicated and beautiful story. I just hope she writes it down somewhere so when she’s a mom, she can look back and remember she was once at the beginning when things were confusing and new and scary and that will help her have the patience and courage and love it takes to get back on that roller coaster with her own daughter.