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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Little Girls Grow Up

Abby is almost nine. She'll be nine this coming Saturday, in fact (and how on earth did that happen?) and she's a peculiar mix of almost-teenage and little-girl. Sometimes she does very adult things, like making observations of the world around her far beyond her age, or teaching her Scout Troop to use an epi-pen. And sometimes she's upside-down on the couch just because she can, or begging for just one more episode before bed.

But my favorite times are when she's actually in between - when she does or says something grown-up but with that childlike skew to it that proves she's still a kid. The latest was last night, when she made her four-year-old sister a gift she clearly put thought into; she knew Lizzy would love it. And it turned out to be Ranch dip mix. Or earlier this week when she told me she knew how I felt when I'm having trouble getting that she's almost nine because she feels the same way about Lizzy. She said (sighing in world-weary fashion), "Yeah, mom. I get it. 'Cause it feels like Lizzy should be only one... like she was before she was so annoying".

She does love her little sister, but she's also that that age where Lizzy - nearly five years younger - is the most annoying and irritating person on the planet. Also, unfair grownups are always taking Lizzy's part. Did I get away with all that when I was four? Yeah, probably, except that Leanna was still enough of a novelty (they met what Abby was just three and Leanna was five-and-a-half, and Leanna is not here 24/7) that you wanted to impress her, not annoy her. And you're just a different person than Lizzy is. Don't worry, kiddo, you have the privileges to go with those responsibilities, and given Lizzy's impulsiveness, she probably won't earn those until she's a lot older than the seven or so at which you did.

So as I finish writing this, Abby is doing her math homework ( 'we learned rounding!") pretty much at the top of her lungs. Nine. And normal.