Now, I don’t want anyone to think that we are crazy and expect her to cover herself head to toe at all times, or that we think she will be a little angel forever. How could I expect that? It’s unfair to do that to any child, much less my child, when I know all the crazy things I did when I was younger. And I am fully aware that how you dress doesn’t necessarily reflect anything about you as a person – a topic she and I have actually discussed, and she knows not to judge others based on their clothes. There is a fine line between keeping her a kid and overprotecting her to the point of my insanity and her detriment. I want her to be prepared for the ‘real world’ and to know as much about the world and life as she can.
But still – I want my kid to be a kid. It’s hard to do that now, with all the teeny-bopper celebrities who are only a few years older than she is, who show off so much skin and wear so much makeup. It’s hard with TV shows that are aimed at her age range, but are talking about things that I don’t want my eight year old to know about (and we have discussed a LOT of things most eight year olds don’t hear about!) or sometimes, just behaving in a way I don’t want her to emulate. It’s hard with songs on the radio about drinking and drugs, mixed in there with songs that are ok for her.
I think our success so far has been a combination of not treating her like she’s a stupid kid, being honest with her, and just pure dumb luck. When she asks questions, we answer them. When it’s something she’s just not old enough for, that’s what we tell her. And since that has happened in the past, and then she has eventually been able to know or do what ever it was, she knows that it’s a real response – not that ‘maybe’ she hears every time she asks me to take her to Claire’s. (I can’t help it, that store drives me nuts.) But I have friends who have tried the “when you’re older” trick with their kids, and it doesn’t work.
My husband and I talked about all this, and decided that we wouldn’t have to worry too much about Cailin as a teenager. Yes, we know there will be fights, and there will be issues, and there will be screaming matches. But we also know that she’s not going to change so much that she loses her mind when she becomes a teenager (like we have convinced her happens…another story.) Caleb agreed and calmed down for a minute. Then he looked panicked, and said, “What about Madi?”
For Madi? The child we have nicknamed Turbo because she is always go go go? The one who has to be reminded over and over that when we have company, pants are a must? The adorable two year old who is so darn smart that people don’t always believe me when I tell them her age? The one who we always ‘joke’ about how we aren’t sure if she will use her powers for good or evil?
With her, I said, the best we have is hope.