Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ElevenTeen. All advice welcome.

I cannot believe that my baby girl, my first born, turned eleven yesterday. A friend asked me the other day how old she was turning. Before I could answer, they guessed.


I laughed, never having heard the word eleventeen. My friend laughed as well, as she didn't mean to say it, it just came out. I decided then that I was going with it. Provi is officially a "tween", but the word "tween" ranks up there on the my hate list with other words like, "epic", "besties", " militant", etc... So we're going with eleventeen.

The years have flown. I'll spare you from the cliches, but it's true.

THE FOLLOWING IMAGES SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED BY .... well, they shouldn't be viewed by anyone ... but since I already told you about the weight gain over the course of my mommy hood days and how I wasn't cute when pregnant, I may as well post the proof.

Here is me a few days before giving birth to Provi. Now mind you ... I was on bed rest, which means there was a lot of food and little movement. I had toxemia. And to top it all off, there weren't cute maternity clothes back then (yes, 2000 is "back then").

Gorgeous, I know.
Moving on .....

Maybe I can make up for that by posting this:

There she is! My little "Peanut". Born July 19th, 2000 weighing in at 6 lbs 11 oz and measuring 19 1/2 inches long.

I never knew I could love so much.

So what's happened the last 11 years? I don't know, but we've survived! As I was pondering the last 11 years, my mind quickly turned to the next 7. Yes, I said 7. 7 more years and Provi will be venturing out into this world on her own. (I know this for a fact, because we plan to kick our kids out on their 18th birthday, it's just the way it has to be. kidding.) I started to panic a bit, I must admit.

See, the thing is, I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing. I realized that a lot of unsolicited advice is given to new moms, moms of toddlers, and mothers of pre-schooler's. I know this because not only did every women who had ever had kids feel they had the right to tell me how to get my child to sleep, eat, and poop ... but I've become that mom! Ugh. Advice and books are tossed at moms of newborns as if those first few years will determine the rest of the child's life. The theories on parenting styles and sleep schedules are suffocating to a new mom. Heck, they're suffocating to me STILL, and I'm on number 4! Everyone is an expert (especially those without kids), and every book makes you feel like a failure. BUT ....every now and then, some stuff stuck that got us through those early years. (For instance, thanks to Baby Wise, my biological kids slept through the night by 9 weeks, 6 weeks, and 9 months ... WHAT??? What was wrong with that last kid? I was probably starving him like the other books warned me about.)

But now she's 11. The books are far and few between on practical daily living. I've read some great blogs, and a few great books that deal with parenting children's hearts (ahem, Shepherding a Child's Heart, Parenting by the Book, Give them Grace (haven't read that one yet, but I'm going to, and it will be amazing)). But what about the advice I used to get about sleep schedules, when to leave them alone, when to let them cry, when to rescue them, etc... I must admit, I'm starting to miss the unasked for advice.

So here I am. Asking. If you have advice to give, I'm all ears ... because I'm scared to death. So far, how I handled my babe the first 11 years hasn't seemed to screw her up horribly, but I'm not sure what power I hold over the next 7 - or maybe I am aware, and that's what scares me!

I want to know things like:

-How do I let her stay up past 8:00 pm, because I know she's old enough to stay up later? But after 8:00 has always been me and Aaron's time.  I read in one of those baby parenting books that parents need time without the kids, and that after bedtime was good for that. So now what? What do I do with her while she stays up until 9 or 10?

-How much computer time does a middle schooler get?
-How do I monitor her phone and texting time? These were not issues when I was growing up. There was one phone with an attached chord, and no computer to possibly pop up horrible images.

-I don't want her to sleep over at friends houses, I did that growing up  - it wasn't good. Do I let her anyway?

-When can she start to talk to boys? Oh right, when she's 18 and moved out ... silly question.

-What books can she read? What movies can she watch? This is my girl who used to be scared to death of Sleeping Beauty. Yet last night, she and I went to watch the last Harry Potter movie together. (Although, I'm convinced that Sleeping Beauty is way worse than HP in the scare factor.) Was that okay? Was she old enough to handle it? I know we both loved it.

-At what age can a child babysit? Oh right, that's 9 years old around here. And then you set the house on fire just to test their abilities.

-Do I tell her about my teenage life ... I mean, really tell her?

-Can she start biking to school by herself? It's only a mile away, but it crosses a very busy road. What if she gets a flat tire? Oh right, she has a phone now, she'll text me.

My dad told me yesterday that I was letting Provi grow up too fast. Nope. I never okayed this. I did not give her permission to grow up, but she keeps doing it anyway. So I better figure out what to do with it!

Buckle up! Teenage years, hear we come !!!


Kristina said...

Let me know when you have the answers:) You have four years to figure it out before I need it;)

Jody Britton said...

Oh great, Kristina. That means I have 3 kids to screw up on over the next 4 years to pass on all my DO NOT'S. :)

Laura Jean said...

Hey Jody,

Mark and I have some ideas... even though our kid is only 9 months. :)

1) Only supervised Internet... meaning you literally sit next to her. Yes, enable all the parental controls and review history and all that, but place the computer in a position that all can see what's happening at all times. Even though you trust Provi, Satan can easily have a party with her curiosity and/or outside influences.

2) Sign up for parental control on your kids' cell phones--where you receive all incoming and outgoing text messages happening on her phone, and tell her you see it. It's a lot of work, but it's important in 2011.

3) Give her areas where she can be creative and unique--whether it be her hairstyle or her room or whatever. Give her freedom to make something her own in the midst of having you all up in it. :)

Just some thoughts based on our work with youth and being teenagers ourselves. We'll pray for Provi.