Something happened in the time between last December and this past December…it seems to have happened magically overnight one night not too long ago.
About a month ago, I tucked my children, my babies, into bed. We chatted a little bit before settling down, and both children were still talking about the things that most little preschoolers talk about: butterflies, fairies, pirates, that type of stuff… I kissed them goodnight, we did our nighttime ritual of putting the magic back into dreamcatchers that hang from the windows in their room, and I turned on the babbling brook noise machine; much like I’ve done almost every single night since they were babies.
That night, my daughter woke up complaining about leg pain (growing pains), and my son, usually a solid sleeper kept tossing and turning – it was as if a storm was brewing overhead. The next morning, unlike normal days, they both woke up early while I was in the shower. I attributed their early waking time to their restlessness the night before. From behind closed eyes covered in streaming shampoo suds, I felt an odd lurking. I wiped my eyes to find my daughter standing there, with a scowl on her face and hands on her hips in a stance emitting pre-teen attitude. She was wearing leggings that were short like capris, a skirt that was different than the one that I picked for her, and was topless. She was clearly unhappy.
“What’s up, Miss B?”
“MOM!!!!! I need to talk to you.” There was an undertone of annoyance.
I paused a moment because she rarely calls me Mom. Momma, Mommy, but rarely Mom.
“I’m in the shower…”
“But Mom…I HATE these leggings. They are too short.”
I secretly acknowledged that they were indeed too short and silently wondered when she had shot up like a beansprout, as I was CERTAIN the last time she wore them they fit.
“OK, I’ll find you something else to wear. What about your shirt??”
“I HATE all of my shirts…they are too BABYISH!!!! I.HAVE.NOTHING.TO.WEAR!!!”
Baby-ish??!!! To be clear, the shirt I put out for her had an adorable little sparkly fox on it which, two weeks earlier, was her favorite shirt. Besides that, her shelves were full of clothes that I’d LOVE to wear if wearing prints of sparkly animals or frilly tutus was considered remotely professionally appropriate.
“OK – go back to your room and cover yourself with your blanket to stay warm. I’ll be there in a sec.”
I emerged from my shower, dried off and went to their room. There, I found my son dressed in what I had picked out for him because like many boys his age, he just didn’t care what he wore, but there was at least a half inch of clearly visible ankle/shin between his sock line and his pant hem. Once again, I was surprised because just last week, these pants fit perfectly.
They were talking to each other but something was just…different. Instead of talking about fairies, butterflies and Thomas the Tank Engine, they were talking about big kid things: what they thought was “cool” at camp, who their favorite singer is (for my daughter, it’s Ellie Golding, for my son, it’s Taylor Swift), and what their favorite apps are on their iPod Touches (both are enthalled by some photography app). Instead of the broken phrasing and slightly squeaky Alvin-and-the-Chipmunk voices that I was accustomed to hearing, they were using full, sophisticated sentences and just sounded like…KIDS.
Overnight, my children went from being snuggly little preschoolers to big kids…
MUCH later that morning (because we were SO LATE due to the girlie wardrobe problems…), I dropped my kids off at preschool and leaned over for a kiss. Little Miss B was already off playing on the computer at school and she waved me off with a, “Bye, Mom. Seeya later, Alligator…”
My son, on the other hand, came over to me and gave me a giant hug and a big sloppy kiss.
“Aw, thank you, Bubba…” I hugged him super tight and tickled his belly.
“Momma…I love your hugs and kisses, but can you not tickle me next time? My friends are watching…”