Single Digit

I have this memory of attending a friend’s ninth birthday party, three months after my own, in which another attendee was amazed at the fact that on our next birthdays we would all be in double digits.  This memory has been going through my mind a lot lately, because today my oldest daughter turns nine.  Nine!!  9!!!  Nueve!!

Among the presents this year there are fewer toys.  Bailey’s been coveting suede boots for two years, but they haven’t been in our regular budget.  Something tells me the ones she received this morning will be getting a lot of wear and tear until the first snowfall happens.  Fashion accessories are becoming more and more popular, so a gift card to Claire’s boutique is a big hit.  And money never goes out of style.

Next year Bailey will officially be a Tween.  (I don’t care what the marketers say these days.  Tween years are ages 10-12, when you exit double digits but are not yet a teen.)  We’ve had to start having those discussions about puberty, so that she won’t be completely be caught off guard by some of the changes that are already starting to occur to her body.  She is growing so tall and lean.

This year she received a “milestone” present in a addition to her normal haul.  Someday I will have four teen and pre-teen girls (Lord help me!) with multiple tubes of deodorant, hair brushes, facial cleansers, and other hygiene products and fashion accessories.  Therefore I decided that age 9 would be a good time to give each girl her own case to put their stuff and keep in the bathroom.  I bought this one for Bailey along with a smaller pouch to keep jewelery or hair elastics, some scented lotion, some of her favorite Chap Stick, her own personal hair brush, and a few other nicknacks.In addition, Bailey also received a copy of The Care and Keeping of You.  This book, published by American Girl, offers information and tips for dealing with health and hygiene issues unique to growing girls.  At first Bailey was excited about it, but then she started to get concerned that it had more information than she was mentally and emotionally ready for.  There is one small section in the book that I advised her skip for now.  I explained to her, though, that the book offered more detail about a few things she had asked me about recently and it is a general reference that she could use more and more over the coming years.  I was gratified, though, when Bailey turned to me and said, “But you will still be my best reference.”

Her squeamishness over the book was a subtle reminder of how Bailey is already caught between her desires to be “more grown up” but her instinctive knowledge that she is not really ready for all of the knowledge and responsibility that entails.  She may not be growing up as fast as she would like, but it is still too fast for me.  On days like today I feel blessed to have discovered homeschooling and have all of the extra time it gives me to soak up these fleeting days in my children’s lives.

But for one more year Bailey’s age will remain a single digit.  Happy Birthday, Bailey!!!  I love you!

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