not everything is about you, LM

When I was about 8 years old, I had super-long hair. One day, I decided to have it all cut off, and when I came home, I went searching for my best friend to show her my new haircut. I was walking down our street when I saw my best friend’s sister. Who thought I was a new boy in the neighborhood.

I was quite traumatized at the time, and I’ve evidently been carrying that around with me for the last 30+ years, because when the Bee told me two weeks ago that she wanted to get a major hair cut, I froze inside. I debated telling her that story for a long time, but in the end decided not to—because not everything is about me, after all, except here on my blog.

I did tell her that she should wait until after her musical was over, since she was supposed to wear her hair in a bun for that. We were talking about it in the dressing room yesterday with the woman who was doing her hair, who told her that she would probably feel ten pounds lighter after she got all that hair cut off.

Today, I took her to get it chopped off. She donated a huge, foot-long braid to Locks of Love. Here’s the before

and the after:

This weekend I’ve been reading Anne Enright’s The Gathering, and was struck by this observation in the novel:

“They are surprisingly tall–eight-year-olds. They are surprisingly like real people. Of course your own babies are always real to you, they are all there from the word go, but even strangers’ children look like proper people by the aged of eight…”

My Bee is looking more and more like a grown-up every day, and this new hairstyle has hastened the process considerably. She and I went out for ice cream on Friday night, after her performance, and the ice cream stand at the end of our street was full of the sixth-grade stars of the show. It was fairly terrifying to be around that much hormonal tweener-dom, not least because I was sitting there with the Bee, who was drinking in the big-girl-ness of it all.

I need more than three years to get ready for that. Can’t I just go back to the time when an eight-year-old looked like a big girl to her? Can’t we regress to toddlerhood? I’m not ready for cell phones and boys hanging around on their bikes, and talking about how eating too much ice cream makes you fat.

As we walked home from the ice cream place, we talked about whether she would still be willing to go to the ice cream stand with me when she was in sixth grade, or if she would be wanting to hang out with her friends and talk about boys. She admitted that, while boys are gross now, she might want to talk about them when she’s in sixth grade, and would not want me around for that, and I told her that when I was in sixth grade, I talked to my friends about boys (“eww, Mom, gross!”), and that I didn’t want to talk to my mother about it either.

I also told her that she might decide that she liked girls instead, and that would be fine too, then we talked a little bit about the lesbians that we know, and how liking girls that way is just as normal as liking boys. She said it’s okay to have a little crush on someone when you’re in third grade, but not to really like them. I asked her if she had a crush on anyone and she hesitated, but then said no.

Ulp.

Today she’s playing dress-up with her brother. Tomorrow, she’ll be asking for the car keys.

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April 27, 2008. growing up. 9 comments.

stage motherhood

I spent most of last night in the dressing room of the theater where the Bee is about to perform in our town’s youth theater. The kids in the show are in grades 3-6, and the Bee is a simple chorus member, but she’s clearly entranced with the idea of performance–unlike many of the other kids she spent her time quietly waiting for her cues, sitting still so as not to mess up her costume.

It was a real departure from her usual impatient self, and I was moved to see her so changed by the experience. In addition to that, she stood up for herself and a group of other kids (many of them older) when one of the directors was yelling at them for not being in a place that no one had told them to be. I was proud of her for that, and told her so this morning–I was just about to intervene and tell the director that no one had told them where to go, but I didn’t need to, because she spoke right up.

She looks like such a big girl in her costume, wearing stage makeup, with her little character shoes on. I can hardly wait to see the real thing tomorrow night!

April 24, 2008. family life. 4 comments.

girls will be…women?

I took two third-grade girls to the mall today, and got an ugly vision of my future. The Bee and I had to go buy some pants for spring, and one of her friends tagged along for the ride. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the playing-at-being-big-girls that happened.

And that said playing would involve telling each other how skinny they looked in various outfits.

I’m not sure where the girls picked up the idea that the best compliment that one woman can give another is to tell her she looks skinny. I don’t like the idea that my daughter has embarked on a journey that can end in body-obsessiveness and feeling bad about herself.

I was watching the Bee at softball practice the other day, and she struck me as such a tomboy, wearing the same dark blue hoodie that she wears every day, with some jeans and her cleats. She and the other girls on her softball team were running around in that way that only tweener girls can–part gazelle, part ballerina, sometimes both at once. She looked so strong and graceful, with her braided hair and her her long legs.

I hope that she can always look at her body in the mirror and see that graceful girl, but I can see that she already knows that society wants her to look a certain kind of way. I just wish I could keep her away from the idea that anything less than perfection is no good at all.

April 11, 2008. thoughtful parenting. 11 comments.

is Ashton Kutcher in the house?

You may remember a post I wrote a while ago on BlogHer about Facebook and family etiquette. I was reminded of this recently, when in a kind of stinging gesture, my brother (yes, the same brother in that post) eloped with his girlfriend. And guess how I found out?

Yes, it’s true.

I found out that my brother had gotten married from Facebook.

Apparently, telling their seventy-eleven friends on Facebook was more important than picking up the phone and calling people in their actual families.

I’m getting kind of old, I think.

I waited until well after April 1 to post about this, as I wanted it to be clear–this happened in real life. I was not punked.

I have, at this point, talked to my brother, and I’ve basically forgiven him for it (although will I ever let him forget it? Not likely!). I’ve also ‘met’ my new sister-in-law, by talking to her on the phone for the first time (previously, I had only met her on teh internets). I’m feeling oh-so-very-pomo.

We did, eventually, get a wedding announcement, and I guess there were days when just getting the wedding announcement with no phone call would have seemed like the height of bad manners. Those days appear to be over.

I’ve been having some work experiences lately that I describe (mostly to the other moms that I work with) as my ‘cautionary tale moments.’ As in, ‘observe me, the mother of school-aged children, you mothers of less-than-school-aged children.’ Learn from my (and landisdad’s) mistakes. Do not forget to sign your children up for spring break camp until the week before spring break. You will be bringing that kid to work with you ever day during spring break. And that? Is BOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNNNGGGGG! Just ask my 8-year-old.

But I digress.

The thing that’s going on with my brother though, while it feels like a potential cautionary tale, is a little hard to translate into an avoidable mistake.

What I really can’t get over is that I appear to be related to a person who I only know through the internet.

I guess back in the day, when people lived in one village their whole lives, it was possible to have a cousin or something in a neighboring village whom you had never met.

But in this day of hyperconnectivity it seems both ridiculously old-fashioned and also (as previously pointed out) post-modern, to have this problem.

Do you think a complete set of William Gibson novels would be an appropriate wedding gift?

April 6, 2008. family life, meta. 12 comments.

needling

I’m going to register my little Potato for kindergarten tomorrow. Sniff!

Tonight, I had to take him to the doctor to get his paperwork filled out, and that required six shots! Six!

Poor little man, I wasn’t the only one sniffling.

April 1, 2008. growing up. 5 comments.