Monday, March 7, 2011

Growing Up Stuff



Lately, I've been skirting around the edges of everything. My head is preoccupied with things that are not in the slightest bit crafty, there is no room for concocting creative mischief, for blogging or bloggy visiting and there is a shrill at the edge of my voice, from a tightness in my throat, which I hope only I can hear.

Things keep happening around me that remind me that I am not twenty. Things that grown ups need to deal with. I am cross that I do not feel grown up enough and ready to deal with unfair illnesses and ageing and extended family dynamics. I am cross that I did not appreciate the glorious freedom of twenty, so much more.

Then there is my nine year old in all her beautiful innocence. An innocence that is now also edged with a something. An awareness, I think, that she is her own individual. That the world is big and exciting and a bit scary. She seems to be finding her feet, looking for her place, negotiating peer dynamics that are now also about manipulation and influence and Best-Ever Friends and sighhhh... In the meantime, the rest of the Myrtleandeunice’s are running for cover.

If the Steiner theory has it right, then this is a typical sort of nine year old phase and we’re not in it for the long haul. This isn’t living-with-teenager eggshells we are walking on – but I tell you, this is one heck of a practise run. I am parenting a mile a minute at the moment. Rollercoastering and battling my own hell-hath-no-fury reactions, in the interests of the calm and measured response that does not fuel fire.

This weekend was a good weekend. So, so much better than any part of the last month or two. I told my nine year old it was a pleasure to spend it with her. I was trying really, really hard Mum.

You parents of teens must be eye-rolling to the moon and back. I don’t blame you for a second – surely I should have worked it out before now?

Growing up is tough.

.........................

PS. Just so none of us forget that this is occasionally a craft blog, that image up the top, is of the nine year old grovelling for her own pair of wristwarmers. If you happen to be after a knitting pattern for when you are helping with the spelling homework, (without actually looking like you are helping with the spelling homework), or listening to the viola practise, (while you don’t actually look like you’re listening to the viola practise), even though your nine year old does want you to be doing both of these things (but doesn’t at the same time), then this pattern worked for me.

PPS. The pic below is of me modelling the same wristwarmers and taking a small opportunity to have a quiet rest.

49 comments:

peppermintpatcher said...

If you persevere and set the dynamic at nine years of age - then teenaged years will be a breeze. Every one of my grey hairs comes from when my daughter was 9, but she was the most wonderful teenager and is now a beautiful adult.

(She doesn't need to know the scars I bear from that time. I'm happy for her to feel proud of the person she is but I secretly give myself LOTS credit for her eventual development into an understanding human being.)

One Flew Over said...

I run for cover and I have a 5 year old...god help me when she is 9.

You are probably doing far better than you think.

xx

PS: Nice wristies x

Kirsty said...

14 today at our place...so can well relate. Being a girl is hard yakka mate. xxx

Andi said...

The minute Jake was born I knew that being a parent would be both the most wonderful and the most difficult job I had ever done.
While some things have gotten easier (they no longer need me to help them eat, sleep and shit), new challenges crop up every day.
We all just muddle through best we can.
The best parents are the ones who don't stop trying!
You're doing great!!
Andi xx

clare's craftroom said...

I have 2 teenagers and I'm still learning every.single.day.
It's all learning and growing for us and the kids . I know that you will be doing the best that you can and loving your child , you can't ask for much more .
Thinking of you ,xx

Gaby said...

I don't have kids, but I do love those wrist warmers! THe colour is great.

june at noon said...

My head has been all over the place lately, too, and I'm not entirely sure why. I'm just so distracted.

Truth? I'm a little fearful for once we get out of the preschool years and into the more complex ones. Maybe I'll have to check back with you once it happens!

**Anne** said...

This parenting thing is hard, exhausting and at times all consuming. You will be rewarded for all the effort and hard work you are putting into your daughter now. Patience, persistance, praise and never stopping the communication were the things that got us through our most difficult times with our daughters. I always tried to maintain a sense of fun too even though at times this was near impossible. My daughters are nearly 21 and 18 and lovely people. The hard work, sleepless nights of worry, the frustration and the exhaustion of it all has been worth it. You will do a great job because you care. Remember to take care of yourself too otherwise you won't have any energy for your daughter. (From one who had to learn this the hard way.) :)
Thinking of you,
Anne xx

Sue said...

Oh I can so relate as my daughter is the same age and yes 9 is a truly testing age. Sometimes I think she has swapped brains with a 15 year old with the attitude. I do hope that she grows out of it otherwise I will be running for cover when the hormones hit. By the way your wristwarmers are just gorgeous, might have to cast on a pair for homework and dancing lessons so I can keep myself occupied whilst actually being able to watch a little bit at the same time!

Kate said...

Snap! I've been writing the exact same post about my ten year old for days now and guess what?? I am just knitting her the second Toast wrist warmer as we speak. Thanks for this post. It helps to know I am not alone. X

willywagtail said...

Each child is so different but we all do some rebellion from time to time. I had no trouble with mine but some Parents report incredible behaviour in the lead up to the first period. It's really tough but must be harder for the child not understanding why they aren't being nice. It's obvious your daughter feels that too. Keep loving her and let each other know when you are near breaking point. A little female understanding may work a treat. Then you will look back and know you weathered this time as a family and be proud of the love. Of course, it won't help the teen years any. lol (only kidding?) Cherrie

Julie said...

Oh my gosh I thought it was just me and my nine year old; you've no idea how liberating it is to know that others are suffering along with me :-) Thanks for the link, I take heart in knowing that at least I'll know what's coming with my seven and five year old girls (?!)... Oh, I so need a craft room (preferably with a lockable door)...

Madeline said...

Ugh. If 3 is any indicator of future behavior then I am already somewhat terrified of 9 and 13 with Levi. Hope your 9 goes back to pure sweetness soon. And, if you run across that secret for feeling grown up enough, do share.

Lovely wristwarmers.

Sandrine said...

I hope it feels much lighter for you very soon.I have a rough idea of what you mention having two girls nearly 9 and 11...Honestly I beleive parenting must be the most challenging thing...and I feel so unprepared most of the time!
Take care xx

melissa said...

oh no- i'm scared for the future.

i bet you're doing a fabulous job - and just remember, she'll look back and not remember the hard stuff.

rachelmp said...

Well, tomorrow my 9 year old turns 10 - hooray! I guess you know I have a 17 year old and I'll have another 9 year old by the end of August. Good luck and I think it all gets easier - except the driving lessons :)

yardage girl said...

Yep, being a responsible adult, and helping others on their journey to responsible adulthood can suck. Blow a big raspberry and keep truckin' - now there's something to embroider on a hanky! Hope you week gets better. Nic

mrs smith said...

I am hearing you loud and clear there, sista. My soon to be ten year old son takes up almost all of my anxiety time and he's a good kid. I can't help but think this phase is temporary but crucial. His schooling sux. I've never been completely sold on Steiner education, but lately I've found myself wishing my lad had the option. Next time I'm sitting quietly having a cup of tea and can concentrate, I will send all my energies to you to wish for a strong and steady road through the teen years. Will you do the same for me?

Sarah said...

It seems these days younger children are acting like teenagers. I have an 11 & 12 year old (along with the 21 mth old) and I find as long as I keep calm and etc I manage to get through it faring well. As soon as I lose it - I have lost. I also find keeping a sense of humour does great things... but sometimes that is hard when your vulnerable human spirit is being tested beyond its capabilities!

Tina said...

I have 4 daughters and am now on my fourth 9 year old. I had forgotten (it is like childbirth?)...I am comforted to hear that even the long distance across the ocean that 9 is similar and that we mothers feel the trials.

Here is hoping that your time and energy to craft come quickly :)

xxxooo

flowerpress said...

My only comfort for you is that, like all the other stages before, the good and bad come and go. You have time to catch your breath. I'm hoping the same is true now we have hit thirteen :-)
Of course I've got two nine year olds, but boys are different, funny about that!

1/4 of an inch said...

I hear ya! I really do... I'm at all spectrums of the age continuum at the moment and to be honest I feel frozen! I'm not sure what to do next! Other than a bit of knitting therapy...;)

Love the handwarmers...is that more tart I spy?

PS. Hold on and take the ride...the 'downs' are only there so we fully appreciate the 'ups'!

Love tam xo

Claire Gale said...

i hate the fact that when motherhood gets tough and you need the sanctuary of your creative space the most, is when you have the least time for it. i bet it was good to get away for the craft weekend. love the pants!

teddybearswednesday said...

Yeah growing up sucks, and it seem like one is always doing it, no matter how old you get.
Big hugs to you special Woman
she doesn't know how lucky she is to have you for a mumma. xo

Tanya said...

Thanks for your thoughts Tania. 8 year old in my house. It is tricky growing up, I would like 'innocence' a bit longer. We have the nice (bike riding and chatting together) and the less nice. The tricky thing I find is, with the not so nice- it's me 30 years ago and I can see myself in her. Hard. She isn't me, lots of differences but boy, I was pretty rude and gave my mum a pretty hard time. What's that about karma you say?
Good luck with yours! Meanwhile I have sent the 10 year old boy off to camp in Canberra today, don't see him till Friday night. Hope he's okay...

ashleigh said...

Oh I so understand where you are at the moment.I indeed posted about just this recently.We are finding 9 some kind of hell and have been foolishly consoling ourselves with the old "perhaps he's getting it out of his system now".I gather thats rubbish. Unfortunately we have a 7 yr old who rubs his brother the wrong way as many times a day as humanly possible.
May the force be with you : )

librarygirl said...

Darl - 17 year old her
48 year old me. Clashing hormones.
Surprised you couldn't hear this morning's shouting at your place!
But this too will pass xx

Annie said...

Often grappling with the growing up thing. A beautifully written expression of how you feel.

Bonnie said...

I have 2 boys, 9 and 12. None, of the best friend stuff, no tears because so and so said something mean, no makeup and trendy clothes...I know girls are just so completely different than boys of course. I really have no clue what it would be like to see a girl grow up. Even though I am a girl and I have experienced it first hand, it has to be so much more different being a parent and watching vs. experiencing it...cause when you're little you have no clue that you are being way too dramatic. And you know what..now that I think about it..I really don't think my parents paid that close attention to it. Definitely a different type of parenting style back then than there is now. We are so involved now as opposed to 30 years ago. Well, I send you prayers that you will have all the understanding of how to deal with girls and all the wonderful things that go on...(Lord help you, it should be fun and crazy!!)

silverpebble said...

I have all this to come. I'll be printing this out, if not laminating it to refer to later. SOunds is though you're doing a sterling job. Sorry about the tricky ishews. If you lived round these parts I'd put the kettle on I would. I've got chocolate in.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Isn't good that we don't have all our children at the same time ! At least like this , they all take it in turns to be interesting/hard work .
As for your journey to adulthood ? Take it from me , you'll never feel really grown up . But you'll hide it well , just like most of the rest of us , and get through it all with your customary charm and humour .

A Peppermint Penguin said...

What would I know!? But you are lucky to have her, and she is sooo lucky to have you and I'm certain all the M&Es will come out the other end safe and sound.

Is that leftovers from a certain cardi!? Nice.

Mel said...

Oh crikey I have nine to look forward to? I thought five was a trip and a half. Will have to work on getting the shrill edge out of my voice. Perhaps I'll have at least perfected that by the time she's nine? 'Cos I most certainly know I'd NEVER be able to master those DIVINE wrist warmers!!

Deep breaths, in ... and out. This too shall pass. All too quickly (btw that was a reminder for me as well!).

Tas said...

Yeah, growing up is tough. (So is being an adult really. Why were we in such a hurry to get here?) You expect the grief and difficulties from teenagers but why do our oh-so-very-young-children have to take the burdens to heart so early?But, reading your post, I suddenly appreciate the transparency of my 7 year old son's angst and traumas. Seems more straight forward than what you are going through...for now. (And I have a daughter following up the rear so lots to look forward to)

Faeryfay said...

I am mum to 3 teenaged girls. Is there anything left to say? It is not always smooth sailing! I was going through spelling words last night with Miss Twin1 13yr old while knitting hubby a beanie. I totally relate to your post!!!:-)

Suse said...

Ah, the nine year old crossing. I've had three go through it now, and it was different for each of them. For the eldest it was a magical time when he truly found himself and settled. For the other two it was a struggle, going through that existential crisis.

The mourning of early childhood innocence is real for them as well as for the parents. Hang in there and she will emerge stronger and more 'herself' if that makes sense.

x

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I don't know what to say, just wanted to send hugs. It is so hard being a girl! It really is. hard, but great. xxx

Leonie said...

Vino?

heather said...

oh. my. i am about to have a nine year old boy. boys are such different animals though. i feel as though sometimes my almost 7 year old girl is already 12 though. woah. and yeah, why didn't we know at 20 what we had going? i had no idea. and now, now, oh god, i am so aware. life. beautiful life. and you are so right. it gets preciouser and preciouser, all these memories. you will, you will, actually, probably relatively soon, remember this nine year old deal, as a precious thing. bizarre. i'm into the wrist warmers..they do look very cute on that groveling girl.

Lola Nova said...

Hello Roller-coaster! What a ride this childhood vs grown up stuff. Tough on everyone, glad you had a good weekend and hope more are on the way. When I was in my 20s, I sent my mother a card that said, "Dear Mom, my deepest apologies for the year I was 14. You got the short end of the stick. Love, me."

Nikki said...

I like Leonie's suggestion.

I know you know that your big girl is a great kid and she'll settle into herself beautifully. In the meantime... I wish you strength, hugs and vino....

Oh... word verification is "dystilla"... perhaps it's a sign that something stronger than wine is necessary...?

Marcus said...

With your sense of humor and your commitment to being such a thoughtful, reflective parent, I reckon you'll all be better than fine (in the grand scheme of things!)

NessaKnits said...

I have a 9 year old too who suffered all the bitchiness life could muster last year, all with one very good friend by her side. We have moved to the country and changed schools and so far she is enjoying the experience ...

sharon said...

oh dear lord, I have an eight year old girl and I have been contemplating the future years with some trepidation...the self awareness and the huffing...and I doubt I will, like you, be able to contain my "hell-hath-no-fury" tendancies!

I don't drink wine, but perhaps now might be a good time to start...

Kylie said...

I'm sorry I missed this one, Tania, and not commenting until now.... I feel for you, hon. In many ways I think it's an ongoing negotiation and balancing act between not wanting to limit their spirit while trying to keep some sort of order in place. What works for me is the old chestnut "It's my job". I think my most constant rave (which does seem to work, funnily enough) is something like "Love you to bits but I'm not here to be your friend - I have a job to do as your mother. I could so easily say yes and agree to whatever you want, my life would be soooo much easier, but that wouldn't be fair on you in the long run. My job is to make sure you turn out to be a good person and learn blah blah blah" Anyway, you get the picture I'm sure. Hope this helps - it's diffused a few stand-offs here.
Sorry to hear about illnesses in your family. I hope it's nothing serious. Take good care, hon. Kx

Shannon said...

Oh how heartening it is to read your post and know that I am not alone..my nine year old will be 1o in June..I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the extra digit will somehow magically bring back my delighful, happy, frolicking, carefree girl who has all the self confidence she will ever need. Ha and lucky you are to hear the viola, my big girl's violin never leaves its case!

kelly said...

i have a girl who has recently hit the big 1-0 and honestly...it's exhausting some times. She was OK at nine, but ten....yikes.

The eye roll, the back chat. If she wasn't so lovely when she is being lovely (does that make sense? let's pretend it does) I would probably have run away from home.

quirky granola girl said...

my not yet two boy just learned eskimo kisses today. anytime i fear i may be kissing him too much (is that possible) i tell myself that he won't let me do this when he's fourteen. 14 has been the not-so-magical age in my head. 14 is the anti-sweet-toddler. but, i guess it happens before 14, doesn't it.

i have to go and get more eskimo kisses now.

Duyvken said...

Darling, my 9 year old turned 10 last August and the change that took place over 4th term was remarkable. She's much more content and settled, her lovely self-assurance and reappeared and she's gliding smoothly through life again. 9 was tough but 10 is just around the corner and from where I'm standing I can tell you that 10 is pretty sweet.
Although, she is on the cusp (perhaps even the first step?) of puberty and I am in denial. I'm so not ready for this!
Hang in there, dear girl.
xx