Today is Thing One’s birthday. Thirteen. I feel old. I told her I wasn’t ready for her to be a teenager. She said she wasn’t ready to be one either. Who is?
If you’ve been keeping up, yes, my children have birthdays 7 days apart. It’s like having twins, only different ages and stages and not exactly the same day so you still lose your sanity, just with a very short break in between. Before, we’ve done a joint party with kids. We’ve also had a lot of family parties consisting of my parents and cake because my tolerance for any sort of party, especially one with lots of small shrieking people, is very, very short.
But this one was special for Thing One, so I wanted to do something more grown up. This took some thinking on my part. Thing One is very hard to shop for these days. Not on purpose – she knows what she likes, she just can’t seem to convey this very well until she looks at something, and it’s all over her face that no, this was not a good choice.
It didn’t use to be this way. I used to dress her however I wanted, which was “small Laura Ashley clone” Later she had an accessory sister. I dressed them in matching or coordinating clothes and they were gorgeous. Great pictures. Back then, Thing One loved wearing dresses with matching hair bows and lacy socks and shiny shoes. Her baby sister didn’t care because she was too busy eating her shoes or tossing them out of shopping carts. Still, they made a perfect set. Their grandmother loved buying them clothes, so even though I was poor, my kids were freakin’ stylin’.
But then Thing One got older, and decided she didn’t really want to match little sister. She likes jeans and T-shirts now, not dresses. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I rarely wear dresses either, but losing my little “doll” was tough. For a little while. Until I realized I was getting a real, live girl in return. Thing One started out with a verbal delay. She didn’t talk well until after four, but the entire time she was listening and processing. And one day the results all started spilling out.
This girl has opinions – based on facts. Like her sister she is smart, beautiful, creative, and so funny. Unlike her sister, she spends more time thinking on things, turning them around in her head before speaking her mind. She has friends, but she doesn’t seem to need them around like Thing Two. She is content to entertain herself in a world of her own, or play the same weird computer game for hours. A game where you’re an animal that bounces around “chatting” with other animals or playing stupid games. Come to think of it, it’s just Facebook for the younger set, only more honest.
She and her sister also love to hang with me, and follow me around, even though I’m not nearly as cool as they are. I know there will come a day when Thing One won’t need me as much, but right now she’s at such a tough stage. Not a little girl, not an adult, not quite a moody teenager really. She’s right on the cusp, and I remember how confusing and frustrating that can be.
Yet she’s much more self-determined than I was at that age, or even now. When her friend made fun of a strange, awkward girl, she stood up for the kid. She said to her friend, “Hey, wait, you got baptized. Aren’t we all supposed to be brothers and sisters and be kind to each other?” Oooh, snap! Yes, the kid reads and understands and puts good lessons to use! I’d have been a big fat weenie and not said a word, though I knew it was wrong. I was worried about fitting in. Thing One is more worried about doing what’s right. Thing One is awesome.
So I decided that since Dad had planned a rocking party for little sister, I would plan a day out with her. I got her a purse (that she picked out so I knew she’d like it) and a wallet with money in it. Money she could spend on a shopping trip with me, once we were done having manicures for the very first time together.
It was a great day. We got our nails done (I’m jealous, Thing One’s look better than mine.) while Thing One gave a commentary on the People Magazine. “Oh, wow, they actually reported on the Boston Marathon bombing instead of just Kim Kardashian?” Once again, love this kid.
We went to the city and ate at an Italian fast foodish restaurant with free breadsticks. Not sure how many that kid ate. I miss having that metabolism. We headed to the mall next where she spent money on a bracelet and asked why she was being charged the Canadian amount. She’s still getting used to that whole ‘tax” thing. Bummer, that.
Fortunately, Thing One wears out as fast as I do. She is not my “shopping” kid. So after eating some double stuffed cookies (no calories there!) we headed home. The teenage years may be tough, but maybe they are off to a good start, at least.
Happy Birthday, my Thing One.