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Babies, Kittens, & Change

they-grow-up-so-fast

So, I guess Camryn has decided to grow up over Christmas break. I mean, I knew it was starting when she would wait for me to leave the room before jumping in the shower. My daughters are both exceptionally modest about their bodies (I literally have no idea where they picked this up, unless it’s just one of those things where they are as opposite of me as possible), but still…she’ll let me come in and wash her hair once she’s in the tub. She just doesn’t want me in the room as she gets in the tub. So whatever, I play along.

Well, now she is washing her own hair, too. I’m not sure how well it’s being washed yet, but it smells okay. And I’m glad for it, I really am. These are things she should be able to do for herself, of course they are. But now she’s totally sleeping 100% in her own room. Just like I wanted. I’m proud of her, and glad that she just made up her mind and did this thing- this thing that I’ve been complaining about for at least the past year. I really wanted her in her own bed! Except…except last night, I had to threaten to make her come sleep with me if she didn’t settle down in her room and get to sleep. Sleeping with me is now a punishment. Sigh.

And yesterday? Yesterday, I said “Hey, can you do mommy a favor?” to her, and she said “Sure, but can you stop saying “mommy”? “Mom” would be fine.”

Well, shit. Why don’t you just stab me straight in the heart, you little beastie?

Only I said nothing, because she is doing what she is supposed to do- she’s growing up. Not too much, it’s just happening sort of all at once, and it’s alarming, and what’s more, it’s very, very sad. She is my baby. But she is not a baby anymore, and that is a fact. Trying to keep her there would be harmful and wrong, so…I’m just trying to mourn in private, and let her enjoy her tiny bits of independence.

Last night when her dad brought her home, he waited until she was in the other room and he was like “What is going on with her?!” I didn’t really need to ask what he meant. She’s been a little prickly, a little extra…extra, if you know what I mean. I said “Well, she’s growing up a little, and we need to be patient with her, but firm…and whatever you do, don’t tell her she’s a bad kid. Tell her she’s a good kid, and we expect better behavior from her.”

Because I remember being that age- that age where you just aren’t a sweet little angel anymore, and you do have an opinion, and you’re trying to figure out how to have some autonomy…and end up looking like a little jack-ass. The adults in my life were horrified, asking me “what happened to you?” or “This isn’t the Courtney I know.” and reinforcing what a monster I’d become. This was not helpful. I honestly believed the things I heard- and I’m sure no one intended it meanly, but it was how I HEARD it, and internalized it. I thought something had gone wrong with me, and I was a disappointment, somehow. But I was just growing up, trying to figure stuff out. Just like Cam is now. My job is to parent and love her through it, to guide her, watch her, and be firm with her. What a trip to be able to understand what is happening. I hope I’m up for the challenge.

In other news, Milo, the cat who didn’t have rabies, has come over from the dark side. The formerly hissing, spitting, scratching, biting little demon has started sleeping beside me in bed, and purring every time I touch her. She cries when I go outside. Proof that if you shine enough love on the saltiest of creatures, it will eventually get through to them and they will change. It’s easier to do this with animals than people, but it works on both. Just love the grouchy ones…they need it most.

So there it is- babies and kittens grow up and change, and who they become depends a lot on how much and how well they are loved- because you can be loved very much, and still not be loved WELL. Another lesson I’ve picked up along the way. Another thing I wish I’d known sooner. But I know it now, and that will have to be enough.

Have a beautiful day.

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Author:

I'm a single mom living life fully after years of intense addiction, trying to navigate life with grace-and failing spectacularly, sometimes. Learning to be a grown up In my 40's, without losing my lust for life, or my faith in humanity. Come, watch the antics. It should be fun (for you, at least).

12 thoughts on “Babies, Kittens, & Change

  1. We notice changes in our kids all the time, and smile about it late at night. At the moment it’s our 13 year old – starting to push back – to become more her own person. It’s wonderful to experience it first hand, but also makes you miss the person they used to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sigh. My daughter changes at around 11. At almost 14 she is both an adult and a little kid. She amazes me Evey day. And frustrates. Lol

    She slept with me for years. And now it’s like you say, a threat! I miss her small body, but that body is now taller than me. And she is gender neutral, so absolutely no nakedness around anyone.

    Being a teen is so complicated. We all need unending luck and patience.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. And this is why Joy and I opted for dogs. Child Protective Services never comes looking for us when we put them out in the backyard for a while, and — perhaps this is much more important — we both clearly knew right from the beginning of our marriage we were not then — nor are we now — parental material.

    You are so much cut from a better cloth. Seriously. It’s all we can do to love on our dogs. And we do. Even when — and today’s a great example — I take them out to play in 1/2-hour playtimes… and the temperature is a balmy 24 degrees (-4.4 celcius).

    So very much good on you, dear one. And enjoy Milo.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My little sister is going through this now. She’s my sister, but I also feel like she’s my baby, so I’ve been struggling with it. I’m not going to lie, I am sooooooooo frustrated by her sometimes. Her attitude seems so crazy to me, but I also get it. I’m kind of struggling with knowing when to give her rope and when to talk to her about something she’s doing. I love that you reinforce to your daughter that she’s a good kid. I’m going to try that on that my sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow as someone who doesn’t have any kids yet- I gotta say, this really helps put things in perspective for me. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I was sad for you, I felt what you are going through, and that’s why I enjoyed it. It was eye-opening and I can see what people really mean when they say that you should enjoy every moment with your kids – even those things you once wished would stop (like sleepless nights.) It makes sense. I think you’re doing an awesome job though, especially at helping your little girl become independent and aware of who she is as a person. Good luck! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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