Friday, June 19, 2009

The Emotional Minefield that is Raising an (Almost) 7 Year Old

OMG, y'all.

This whole raising a girl thing is IN-Freaking-SANE.

Kaeli has always been on the creative side. She's crafty and artsy. She talks about becoming a fashion designer when she grows up because she (and I quote) "just loves clothes so much and it is so fun to make styles." Since the day she could hold a crayon, she has been obsessed with notebooks and journals. She has them all over her room with drawings and short written passages.

Her creative flair has always been one of my favorite things about her. Kaeli and I are A LOT alike, but this is a quality she most definitely did not inherit from me. I love seeing all the ways she is growing into her own little person.

She also tends to be sensitive and dramatic (ok so the dramatic thing might be straight from my genes to hers but whatever).

Now on to my point. Kaeli has always shared her creative genius with me. She's always brought the journals and drawings to me so that we can look through them together. She never seemed to think of them as private or anything.

Until last weekend.

My friend gave Kaeli a little Hannah Montana notebook with cool colored pens. When Kaeli was in the other room playing with my friend's son, I, absentmindedly, picked up the notebook and started flipping through it.

Kaeli walked into the room to find me looking through the book, and had a complete and utter MELTDOWN. OMG. The crying. And the yelling about privacy and secret journals. And the crying. And she was so embarrassed. (In case you're curious, all she had written down was that she was in love with my friend's son, M. I think she caught me chuckling about it.) I sat there in shock because I have never seen her react this way before.

I apparently committed the absolute worse offense ever in her young life (Good thing she doesn't remember the baby years. She would be so mad if she knew all the first time mom dumb things that happened.) I have truly never seen her so angry and upset with me. I felt awful. I even bribed her with $2 and a pinky swear that I will never go through her journals again.

It amazes me that we can go from sharing everything, and, out of nowhere, she needs space and privacy. Her 7th birthday is in a couple of weeks, and she always gets a little "feisty" right before she turns a year older. I'm wondering if it's just a short term thing because she realizes she is almost 7 (and therefore totally grown up in her own eyes), or if we really are heading into a new stage of the growing up process. I mean, dudes, she's not even 7 yet. Isn't this all supposed to happen when she is older? I remember getting mad at my mom and sister when they would go through my journals. Their constant perusal of my inner thoughts is the reason I stopped writing them down. But, y'all, I was 11 when all of this crap started becoming important to me!

I guess it's time to brush up on my spy skills because I'm going to have to get a hell of a lot sneakier if we are to survive this phase!!


Melissa said...

I honestly think that with the growing technology and such that children are also growing up a lot faster! I often turn to Ross and say "wow, I never got this or that till I was this age I can't believe kids are getting them much sooner" etc.

Good luck with it!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. Seriously??! At six? I wonder if I should just give my girl up for adoption now b/c I'm not sure I can handle this. If we lived closer I'd totally take you out for a drink b/c you deserve it!

TUWABVB said...

WOW. I knew I gave my parents a hard time, but I didn't think it started this early! Good for you though - I think you handled it the right way. I guess children need to feel secure in certain things before they can be totally creative? As long as she is open about what she needs (like she was in this case), I think you've won 90% of the battle that most parents face.

Chantal said...

I only have boys but my 7 year old is often asking me for privacy. he won't dress in front of me anymore. He doesn't keep a journal though so I can't say what he would do.