Posted by: Kate | June 21, 2008

Retrospect

That, my friends, is what they call a successful sleepover.  There were, indeed, giggling, and glow sticks, and water balloon fights and a host of other delights.  We kept them busy, and they were all asleep by midnight, give or take a few cups of water.

No one cried.

I took photos, so that when the inevitable teenage “you never let me do anything” surfaces, I can look back and remember the days before we locked her in a dungeon and began the bread-and-water regimen.

Because oh, those days are coming.  Emily is so impulsive, so self-focused.  She’s bossy, to an extent that  don’t even think I reached at her age – and I was (still am!) an overly self-assured individual from an early age.  I was never as in-your-face as she is; I think she got that spastic edge from her father.  And soon, I will become stupid and clueless and mean and stifling, and she will resent me.  I see it already, in the snotty post-sleepover-exhaustion attitude that surfaces, in the glazed-over whatever, Mom looks she deigns to slant in my direction if I try to explain to her just why her behaviors are so upsetting.

I don’t want to protect her from the world; I don’t want to pretty things up or shelter her from the bullies and the heartbreaks that we all have to live through.  I don’t imagine, for one tiny second, that I could somehow find the right words to lecture her away from the full range of experiences life has to offer. I also don’t want to protect the world from her: someday, she will get enough kickback from her bossiness that she’ll have to tone it down.

I do wish that thinking about others came more naturally to her, because that is a trait I’m willing to force her to learn if she doesn’t come by it naturally.  I don’t have an entirely thought-out battle plan on that one yet, but we’re going to start by having her write a series of stories about kids who get ignored, kids who get bossed around, kids whose parents hurt them, to have her start actively trying to imagine what someone else’s life might be like.  She’s smart and creative, and I’m hoping that we can direct a little of that energy toward something other than another drawing of a lion.

In the meantime, we’ll have some good memories, some shared times.  And with a little luck, that will carry us through.

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Responses

  1. Wow! What a sleepover! Looks like they had the time of their lives — good job, mom! I love the shots of the glow sticks. And I love that your son was made a part of the activities the entire time. That right there says something about your daughter.
    I think you’re gonna be ok! 🙂

  2. Yeah, we have a rule here: if you’re in the living room or outside, it’s a common area and therefore sharing and politeness are mandatory. If you’re in your own room, you are the boss, and you can include or disallow the sibling at will. So any dressup and giggling in Emily’s room was among her and her friends (and went largely unphotographed), but anything out here included the boy.

  3. Well, I’ll be looking for tips as we have some of these issues in spades. Hang in there.

  4. Hey Kate –

    Glad you survived… and that a good time was had by all. I also am totally NOT looking forward to the teenage years. I remember quite well what a pain in the butt I was, and my brother’s as well. I think I was a bigger pain – so, the fact that I have 2 boys is slightly comforting to me. 😉

    My 11 year old son is also already showing signs of what is to come… but, for the most part – he is still very much a sweet boy – who loves his mom and dad and IS very good at thinking about other people. He’s always been like that… helfpul with others. He is even getting an award for helping a child all year in his Orchestra class who was special needs. He’s also, for the most part, very good with his brother too. Still, he has been rolling his eyes more lately… and arguing/questioning everything. *sigh*

    It’s my younger one… who is only 6 – that I think my paybacks are going to come from. He’s the one who is full of it already! Funny, smart, and sweet… with big blue eyes that he bats around… I love him to death… But, I can alreayd see where he will be more likely to go rebel-style on me as he grows… LOL

    I supose, between the two of them, my life should stay quite interesting for the next decade or two! (or 3 or 4)

    ~smj

  5. Good times held by all I see . . .don’t fret too much. Apart from a school shoe clad foot kicking a hole in the wall once and a bit of door slamming, mine managed to traverse the teens with little incident or recrimination . . . be firm but cuddle often!


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