When she started kindergarten, Story declared herself grown up. That’s where it all began. She embraced her words and is now trying to live them out. However, her idea of “grown up” apparently is a teenager. Following are six ways she is expressing her grown-up identity – some funny, some sad, some infuriating, all Story.
- The Challenger. Story has always been a negotiator. Talking is her strength and pride, so she puts it to good use when she disagrees with a decision I make. I might indulge this just a bit – to strengthen her reasoning skills, you know. But lately she’s skipped the negotiating and gone straight to challenging. I was shocked the first time she looked me in the eye and said no. Who was this child? And how dare she? I was at a loss for words, and we may have had a staring contest as a result. I finally found my voice and put an end to it, but it just kept coming back! This is now a common occurrence in our house.
- The Salty Sass. This one didn’t come as much of a surprise. Story has always had the great potential for sassiness. That was evident before she could even form words. But I’ve come to learn that there is a big difference between sugary sass and salty sass. Sugary sass is carried out in good humor and often cause for a shake of the head or even a giggle. Salty sass is pure impudence and often cause for a chiding or even a grounding. Of late, Story has had her moments of diving headfirst into the latter category. If she could roll her eyes without rolling her head, she’d be in a lot more trouble a lot more often.
- The Social Butterfly. My little society girl has never shied away from a good conversation or attention, but since she has started kindergarten, she has begun planning her own playdates, ensuring that she has some social function at least twice a week, and dishing out all the gossip from the playground. She often forgets that I control her calendar, which leads to bouts of #1 and #2. Where she used to group her playmates together in terms such as “the boys,” “my classmates,” or “the kids,” children now have names, identities, and preferences that Story assumes I can keep up with. I can’t. And the drama! Oh, the drama. Need I say more?
- The Gamer. I was sitting there minding my own business when I heard Story say, “Dude, this game is sick!” What? What just came out of my normally very articulate and well-spoken child? Dude? Who was she talking to? Sick? I must have stuttered my confusion, because she turned around to face me and explained, “The good kind of sick, Mom,” in a kind but patronizing tone. I didn’t realize her recent fascination with video games extended to including the vocabulary. If she were older, I’d be searching her room for pot right now.
- The Insecure. “Do I look fat?” I knew I would have to deal with the issue of body image at some point; I just figured it would be more of a preteen or teen problem. Nope, body image issues are prevalent in kindergarten, it seems. I can tell that she is already understanding the issue cognitively but feeling the issue emotionally. I’m torn between feeling grateful for being able to tackle this concern so early, before we add hormones to the mix, and feeling so very sad that we are having to tackle this concern so early before we can blame hormones for the utter absurdity of the issue.
- The Sleeper. Story has always been difficult to wake up, but now she’s worse than a teenage boy. I have to give her a reason to get out of bed or she won’t even consider it. I hear, “Just a couple more minutes, Mom” in that whiny voice over and over in the morning. She won’t even rise to the challenge of an argument anymore. Do you understand the significance of this? Story is willing to let me win in order to get more sleep. That’s serious, people. I see an air horn in her future.
The 6 ways my #kindergartner is like a teenager...#parenting Click To Tweet
Since we’re going through the teenage attitude now, I’m going to assume that it will be gone by the time she is actually sixteen. Let me have hope, and don’t tell me otherwise.