My Tween, Myself

This weekend was Lilo’s 9th birthday. Oddly enough, it was her first birthday just a few weeks ago so I am not sure how this has happened. Perhaps it is some sort of Star Trek holodeck switcheroo determined to convince me my baby is in her final year of single digits?

The first thing Lilo said to me upon opening her eyes Saturday was, “Good morning, Mommy. I’m a tween.”

She is crap-her-pants excited about being a tween, y’all. It is just a step below teenagers in the hierarchy of kid coolness. She wants to wear what teens wear (some of the items teens wear today will go on her body when mine is cold and going green) and do her hair like teens do and all that jazz.

I remember that age. I wanted to be thought of as not-a-little-kid so badly. I would shriek at my mom, “Why can’t I do [insert stupid/inappropriate thing here]? I’m a not baby!” I was livid when my parents would treat me like the child I was; by gum I was old enough to make my own decisions.

Har. I was a fetus and didn’t know it.

It’s not too bad with Lilo yet. The stomping to her room is minimal. The hissy fits are moderate in number. The drama, however, if at maximum. Seriously, her drama cannon is set on boom.

There has never been much medium with Lilo in the first place. Since birth, she has gone to eleven. Nowadays, she just has an expanded vocabulary to go with it. The longer the word, the more emphasis she puts on it.

Thus, Lilo isn’t just hungry anymore; she is starving and/or dying of hunger. She isn’t tired; she is exhausted and soooooooooo weary. It is either the best day of her life or the worst day of her life at any moment, sometimes both in a single hour. If her shoe comes untied she will cry out in a voice of woe, “Why do these things always happen to me??” If she is reprimanded she bursts into tears and wails that she is the most horrible person to have ever lived and we should give her away.

She is simultaneously the sweetest kid on earth. Someone could give her a box of dirt as a gift and she would squee melodically and fervently about it … and mean every word of joy. She helps her little sisters draw. She plays with them and doesn’t boss or bully the way other eldest sisters have done. Lilo comes up to people and gives them spontaneous hugs of true affection. She cries because there are children in the world who need food and are in poverty but she cannot help them all. She is already planning her wedding, and when I (as a good feminist) point out that marriage is not the only reason for existence she looks at me earnestly and says, “I believe in True Love and I need to be ready for it.”

She also told her Aunt Beatrice that the reason we don’t make tacos for her very often is because we are cruel. She looked her aunt deeply in the eyes and deadpanned, “Really. You have no idea how I suffer.” Then she burst out laughing at her own joke.

I don’t were she gets it. Must be from her father’s side.


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