I fell in love with my baby girl as soon as she popped out, sucking her thumb and chillin’ too hard to even cry, until the nurses prodded that notorious newborn yodel out of her.
For a long time after that, it seemed like I couldn’t put her down for a diaper change or slide her into her high chair without her turning some new trick or discovering some interesting ability. Rolling over. Breaking out of her crib slash baby jail. Holding her own bottle. Using her Winnie the Pooh plate full of mashed peas as a Frisbee.
But amazing feats kind of slowed down once her adult teeth grew in and she settled into the uneventfulness of middle school. The longer I share a household with Miss Preteen Glamazon, though, the more I realize that we still have plenty of unchartered ground to cover — and much for her dear ol’ mommy to look forward to.
The milestones aren’t nearly as cute and camera-worthy as they were when she was in Pampers, but celebrate I shall when we reach them:
6. Putting toilet paper on the holder. In a two-girl household, you can probably understand the importance of staying on top of this menial but imperative task, particularly when the stereo’s on and no one can hear your pitiful cries for help and pleas to toss in a roll from the linen closet out in the hallway. I keep saying if she’s ever the one caught in limbo, that’ll be all it takes to make the reminder stick front-of-mind. But whenever I set the trap, I’m always the one to go into the powder room first. Foiled by those eight glasses of water a day.
5. Borrowing my stuff without permission. Seeing my belongings stroll by on an unauthorized model is one thing. Seeing my belongings stroll by on an unauthorized model who makes fun of my choices in clothing, questions why I’m wearing that skirt with those shoes, and basically tries to advise me, the tested-and-proven tastemaker, on my wardrobe is insane. Funny thing is, I remember doing the same thing to my mama. Now that I mention it, I have her socks on even as I type. But that still doesn’t make it right.
4. Taking out the trash. Apparently, less glamorous duties around the home are supposed to be fielded by the eldest woman in the household, according to the Tween Code Book. My preteen princess will ever-so-carefully balance an empty milk carton or cereal box atop a mountain of garbage that’s towering all the way out of the can just to avoid having to be the one to put it in the dumpster. Who knows? Maybe the child is going to be an architect. But if we could just channel that talent away from the trash and into the classroom, we’d be on to something.
3. Voluntarily giving me notes and papers from school. I just can’t express how much I love finding out there’s a PTO meeting — as I’m walking in to pick the girl up. Makes me feel like I’m right in the loop and really seems to give the administrators the impression that I am, too. I also love how she slinks away when I find myself cornered by a teacher about a message she sent home two weeks ago and I can see Small Harris skulking slowly out of the line of fire in my peripheral vision. Good times, good times, these are, but can’t say I’m not ready to move on.
2. Using appropriate portions. From what I can gather, weights and measurements in Tween Mathematics call for half a bottle of just about e’rything. Half a bottle of detergent to knock the dirt off an itty bitty load of laundry. Half a bottle of Cascade in the dishwasher to clean two plates and four glasses that should’ve been washed by hand in the first place. Oh, and half a bottle of Dove to scrub down a little body that still mysteriously produces a ring around the collar of her school uniform shirts. Go figure.
1. Not making me ask, nag, remind, threaten, repeat, bribe, or plead about any of the aforementioned items. Now that would be nice. But then what would I talk to my fellow Stirettes about? Ah, who am I kidding? So long as there’s an offspring living under this roof, we’re going to have plenty to chat about.
Got something you just can’t wait for your tween to turn into a milestone?
Image via Philo Nordlund/Flickr