If you’re like me, you’re the lucky mama to a little girl. She is sugar and spice, and everything nice. She is funny, and smart, and talented. She works hard at all she does. She is innocent and nearly always happy. She is a joy to parent, though, if you’re honest, her toddler years were prettttty rough. Right now, she’s pretty much the little girl you always dreamed you would have.
But one day, your little girl will suddenly start to look decidedly UN-little. It will probably happen around the time she turns eleven, as it did for mine.
I can remember my mother telling me that eleven was my unhappiest year. I don’t remember it the same way she does, but I gotta say, at this point I trust her view and memory more than I do mine. Especially because I am starting to see some serious tween angst in my darling daughter at age eleven. So let me tell you what you might expect when your little girl hits the big 1-1.
When she turns eleven, you may sigh with relief that she can still shop in the kids’ section, and sigh with frustration when all the shorts that fit in her in the waist are way too short, and all the shorts that are long enough are way too big in the waist.
When she turns eleven, you may notice that all the dresses that come in her size look WAY too mature.
When she turns eleven, you may suddenly realize that she no longer responds to your requests with a smile.
When she turns eleven, you may begin to hear the shocking twang of attitude in her verbal responses, in her body language, and in the ferocity with which she closes her bedroom door.
When she turns eleven, she may get offended by every. little. thing. you. say.
When she turns eleven, if you tell her that her outfit doesn’t match, doesn’t fit, or is not weather appropriate, you may find yourself in the starring role of “Mommie Dearest 2.”
When she turns eleven, she will cry at the drop of a hat. Her feeling will be hurt by jokes and compliments in equal measure. You will literally, at times, have NO idea how to talk to her.
When she turns eleven, she may start taking an extra-orrr-dinarily long time to do pretty much ANYTHING, but this will apply especially to getting dressed and brushing her hair. It will intensify ANYTIME you’re in a hurry to leave the house.
When she turns eleven, sometimes she won’t want to talk, and sometimes she will. When she does, prepare to settle in and listen because every story will be LOOONG and dramatic. Some would be divided into a trilogy if they were books. But if you don’t listen now, she won’t talk later. So listen.
When she turns eleven, you might look at her and be startled to see yourself staring back at you once in awhile. Maybe it’s an expression, maybe it’s an emotion, but when you see it, it will be undeniable and it will freak you the heck out!
When she turns eleven, you may have to buy her a bra. If you’re lucky, it will be much more traumatizing for you than it is for her (I was lucky.)
When she turns eleven, she’ll cross her arms and roll her eyes a lot. You’ll be able to tell her mood by they way she either hurls herself into a seat or bounces out of one. And, you’ll probably also notice that she’s developed the ability to shoot laser beams of death with her eyes (side note: she also had this ability at ages two and three, but it’s been dormant for many years.)
But mostly, when she turns eleven, you’ll start to get some pretty crazy glimpses of the young woman she is becoming. Every once in a while, something will come out of her eleven-year-old mouth that the twenty-year-old her might say, and you’ll gasp with the recognition.
When she turns, eleven, she’ll be halfway to the age you were when you got married (in my case anyway) and that will freak you OUT. And also make you work extra hard to redeem the time you have with her.
When she turns eleven, as the candles go out and the smoke rises above your head, you’ll thank God for one more year with this precious gift, and you’ll dig in and count as joy all the times, attitudes, hair flips, door slams, laughter, tears, and hugs that are to come.