Amber became 10 years old on June 16 of this year. There was a party, cake and presents, but no notification that there would be a tween in the house and all that comes along with that. To say we were not ready for this stage in her childhood is an understatement. I have learned that as a parent that I am constantly learning along with my children. Also, that I have to go through some growing pains, too. The first time around sucked and this time around I have been able to recognize the suck and do my best to turn the suck around.
Amber has always had drama around her, but add tween moodiness, selfishness, and only wanting to do only the fun stuff in life you have an explosive combination. At first we didn’t really know what was going on. SoHubby and I would whisper, “Could it be…?”. “NO, it couldn’t be!” Oh but it was. We have entered into the first stage of puberty and we have been knocked on our asses. The moodiness we have been use to for awhile. The same could be said for the drama. I have learned to listen, roll my eyes out of eyesight and simply mention that maybe she shouldn’t worry so much about it, because, surely, it will be different by tomorrow. We didn’t know that the moodiness and drama would be upped. Another problem, that our parents didn’t face, was the drama gets to continue on through constant communication in today’s technological world. I gave Amber my old cell phone, which might have been a slight mistake on my part. There was no phone service, but she could still connect to WiFi. My second mistake was mentioning a free text and phone app. If I could go back in time and smack myself, I would. We fought the good fight against her sneaking the phone into her room at bedtime. What we didn’t expect was her first middle school dance. I don’t know how much I want to get into it on the big ole Internet, but my hints are boy+friends+texting=total chaos and devastation. That died down and we went back to regular old girl drama. Recently, that old phone has decided to not come back on, so, at this point, we will just deal with the withdrawals of not being able to text. I better find a nice strong belt for her to bite down on.
It is hard being the oldest and being the first to do everything. Amber was in dance, gymnastics and cheer first, which meant that her brother and sister were use to waiting around for her. Then Amber got a taste of the waiting game and it has not been fun…for me. Amber, now, waits for her brother while he is in TaeKwonDo and her sister while she is in dance. Amber has dropped dance and gymnastics to focus on cheer and has learned that she simply can’t do everything due to time and money. Oh the time and money lesson is a hard one for just about anyone to learn, much less a 10 year old. During the summer was worse, because there was no homework to keep her occupied during her wait times. It is not easy, now, but, at least, I have a good answer to the question, “What can I do?” I still have to “remind” her that she is not allowed to play basketball while Sam is in TKD. I am hoping that the big guys that normally play basketball while the TKD class goes on will one day step on her and teach her a lesson. There was much explanation of how her brother and sister have ALWAYS had to wait for her and she could show a little more patience while waiting for them, but that was met with a “how dare you ask me to consider anyone else” look and a huff finished with an arm folded. Selfishness has just appeared and brought along back up.
I am happy to say that Amber likes school and does well. However, the business of school escapes her. She is a 5th grader, now, and that comes with a lot of responsibility, at least, in Amber’s mind. She has always had to turn in lunch money, signed papers, etc, but, now, there is no teacher collecting folders and pulling it out for her. Mom isn’t putting it into the folders and then in her bookbag. Apparently, this is all too much for her. And it seems this stuff falls onto me, still. Hopefully, by college I won’t have to remind her to take her lunch money and not to buy extras. And she will know what the extras are. I, recently, got a bill from the school for Amber’s lunch account. It said she only had $5.45 left. The problem with that is that I just sent in a $25 check (I have to stop for a minute and stress NEVER SEND IN CASH! I know checks are from the dark ages, but if they are lost you can write a new one. Once cash is lost, it is gone forever. And kids will always lose cash. I have heard many stories of Amber’s friends losing their lunch money, and we are not talking $2. Many parents like to pay a month or year in advance instead of trying to come up with $2 everyday in the rush of the morning)on October 16. There was no possible way she could have eaten that much in 4 days. Okay, there is a way she could have eaten that much, but she swore she “NEVER” gets extras. So I put on my investigator hat, which luckily sits right next to my chauffeur hat, and went to work. I talked to the head lunch lady, who had proof that not only did Amber NOT turn in her lunch money, but she does INDEED get extras. It was all there on the computer screen. I guess the rumor that the lunch ladies are stealing the kids lunch money and having a huge party with all the food that they have to cook and serve has been forever been proven wrong! I climbed 3 flights of stairs, with a 30 lb toddler on my hip, to talk to Amber. Oh the shock on her face when I informed her that 1. she didn’t turn in the check and 2 that she had been getting extras. “Oh you mean, the juice, gogurt, extra fries cost more,” Amber asked. All I could I do was sigh and do a quick once over of her folder. Since Amber was rushing off to choir, I resigned to tearing apart her book bag and folders later this evening when she got home. If I were to venture a guess, I will say that the check will either be found snuggled safely in her folder or scrunched down at the bottom of her bookbag.
I think back to when Amber was a baby and how I thought that was difficult. Now, I fear the unknown of teenagerhood. Toddler, pshaw!, I can handle a toddler. Matter of fact, I do all day and it is a piece of cake. Evie won’t potty trained, but that can be contained in a Pull Up. There is no containing all that comes with tweens and then teenagers. I am scared and pray that I make it through. I figure by the time I have to deal with it with Evie, I will either have learned a lot or am just tired and have given up. It seems to be the trend with parents, who have multiple children.