Some parenting resources claim the tween years (the tumultuous time between childhood and teen years) begin as early as age 8. Which means that at the moment, I'm living with a child at both ends of the tween spectrum.
And being typical kids, there are moments they each revel in the ability to reduce their beloved sister to tears. Or break their mother's heart. And press buttons.
They press buttons my husband and I didn't even know we had, and once they find those buttons...well, some days they're worse than a toddler going after a remote.
Most days, it's a battle to stay calm and focused. Our mornings are full of "I'm not going to go to school, and you can't make me!" And various reasons why...generally PE related and involving yelling, collapsing, going to jail for not running fast enough and other hyperbole. (We've learned it's best not to laugh. Much better to sive a sympathetic hug, a sincere "I'm sorry you don't want to go," and hand them their shoes.)
But today...today Bumblebee poked her head out of her cocoon, batted her lovely caterpillar eyes at me, and asked to please stay home. She complained she hurt all over. Her throat was scratchy. She was so tired.
I told her I was tired, too. After all, who gets up every 20 minutes to break up a fight that escalates from soft whispers to reverbrating "I hate you"s that friends 3 blocks away can probably hear? That's right. Mom. And sometimes dad.
I've dragged her crying from the sheets every morning this week. Dressed her like baby doll, ordered her to the restroom, prepared a breakfast she lay her head down next to and sobbed and then drove her to school.
She wasn't crying. (yet).
I looked at her for a long time. I thought about my to do list. I sighed.
And then I gave in.
I know I shouldn't have. She wasn't running a fever. But, we've had some rough mornings. Some long afternoons. And lets not even discuss the evenings.
So, to sum up today...Bumblebee went back to bed with a smile. She helped me put groceries away. She finished her big report. We snuggled up together and read a book. We chatted about...well, nothing. And everything. We watched Seventh Heaven. We took a nap.
And when her sister came home, there was no fighting.
Maybe the only thing I knocked off my intended "To do" list was the grocery store...but I feel as if I got so much more by spending the day with my daughter.
I know, we can't take days off "just because" and it's irresponsible to keep kids out of school unless they are contagious or about to collapse from exhaustion...but sometimes, once in a very long while, it's nice to give in and spend the day just reconnecting. Monday, she's back to the old routine.