The 7-Year-Old Teenager

The mathematicians tell us that the teens begin at 13. Technically, they’re right. But with all due respect to the great minds of the world of mathematics, they’re also completely wrong.

We’re about six years ahead of schedule, but we seem to be hitting the teen years already.

On Friday, my 7-year-old came home from school, shed the layers of winter clothes that she begrudgingly piles on in the morning. She walked into her playroom and shut the door, firmly, behind her.

You can guess which side of said door I was on.

Thursday evening she stood, arms akimbo, and offered her father and I what can only be described as a withering glare. It was followed, appropriately enough, by an eye roll. Sadly, I have to admit she’s already perfected the art of the perfect roll. It’s already dripping with disdain.

I’m not sure if I should be proud or start buying up boxes of Kleenex to sop up my future sorrows.
Scratch that. I am proud. I have to be proud!

She has a mind of her own, this one, and she knows exactly what she wants. When the actual teen years arrive, it should serve her well against the peer pressure that leaves parents quaking in their boots.

We rarely admit it, but this is what mothers dream of as they bake that little bun in their ovens. We coo sweet nothings at our bellies, telling the creature inside to please, please be the kind of kid who can tackle the world because it’s a scary one out there.

No one wants to be the mom raising the kid about whom the other parents whisper, “She’s nice enough, but she’s kind of a dud.”

Excuse what is about to be a brag: I don’t have a dud.

She’s nice. And not in the least bit boring.

But with the joys of raising the non-dud come the rolling eyes and the shut doors.

You’ll never have a dud inform you, matter-of-factly, “I want to be just like my mommy when I grow up. Except the hair. And the clothes. I want fashionable clothes.”

When you tell a dud that you love them, they will never look at you and respond, “I know.”

And no dud is ever going to prove the world’s most eminent mathematicians wrong.

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