This is 9

girl with flagNine arrived in our house this week, and she did not come quietly. She came, instead, bedecked in sparkles and armed with shrieks of giggles.

It was a relief. Nine is tough on parents. It’s halfway to 18. It’s the final year of single digits.

And yet, it seems, 9 is still childhood.

Presents are still expected to be fun. Bedtime extensions still begged for. Toys still wanted and played with. Battles still pitched over bedroom cleaning requests.

Nine, so far, is feeling like a bigger version of 8, albeit with the threat of double digits inching ever closer.

I’ll take it.

Although there are signs of what is to come. At this year’s birthday party, the children splintered down gender lines. The boys, we were told, often and effusively, were ruining everything. EVERYTHING.

So much for childhood innocence.

More From Inside Out: 8. It’s So Much More Than 7

But then again, I’ll take boys being icky and awful. This stage we can work with.

It’s the other alternative I truly dread.

And more.

Nine is a gateway to the tween years. We entered a certain store that holds a particular lure for this age group, with a new gift card in hand, only to be drawn to something dangerously close to make-up. I said no, not for a 9-year-old.

I have a year to say that.

And then what?


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