Jessie is at a weird age. Eleven is tricky. She’s not a little girl anymore. But she’s far from grown up, and not a teenager either. When given the choice between an ipod touch or a dollhouse, she’s torn but leaning towards the dollhouse. I love that about her. She’s growing up so fast, and there are days when I miss that tiny little one, when everything was simpler for her.
The ipod touch or dollhouse question came up because Girlfriend is working now. She’s got a steady gig as a Mother’s Helper and I wanted to give her a goal to save her money towards. She’s got a gift with children. I say that not just because she’s my daughter and I think she’s awesome, but because I really do believe that she’s especially talented when it comes to working with smaller children. Not that you can always tell by the way she interacts with her siblings, but with my friends’ kids, she’s brilliant. She’s working on Fridays as a Father’s Helper, helping to take care of twin four year old girls and their eighteen month old sister. She’s been volunteering in the kindergarten classroom for the past year, helping with setting up activities and interacting with the class.
While she’s got all this maturity and growth, she’s still a little girl. Not all the time, but she’s still afraid of butterflies, and likes to snuggle up in my bed before trudging off to her own to sleep. She’s still likes coloring and reading bedtime stories, but wouldn’t dream of letting me do her hair in the mornings, and God forbid I pick out her clothes. She likes for me to pick them out, I should note, but refuses to wear any of my selections.
I’ve noticed an increase in the time she spends alone in her room. She likes hanging out in there, watching movies on her kindle, texting her friends and reading. Painting her nails, and rearranging all of the STUFF (she’s still somewhat of a hoarder, and collects more crap to put on her dresser than she knows what to do with) in her room. She’s happy to have me go in there and hang out with her, but is a lot less likely to want to chill out in the living room with younger kids.
Eleven is a fun age, mostly. Of course, it’s been a good day. There are days when the moods and the drama and the squabbling with her siblings makes me think that eleven is not fun at all. But mostly, she’s fun. I still laugh harder with Jessie than I do with anyone else. My favorite time of the day is oftentimes just before she falls asleep. When both of the younger two have drifted off, or they’re out playing with Marc and she’s sequestered herself in my room (I have the tv in there). I’ll go in and we’ll fight over pillows and snuggle up and watch tv. I’ll tickle her or pinch her, which make her squeal and wiggle and then she laughs at me. It’s fun – there’s no pressure and no siblings to distract her. She’s just Jessie – with no defenses and no agenda. No adolescent angst, just my little girl and I hanging together.
I know eventually she’ll outgrow it – I know she won’t always want to chill out with me in my room. But I’m going to pretend that she won’t. I’m going to believe that she’s always going to be my little girl, and able to relax and love spending one on one time alone with her Mama.