Ten Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10

DandelionTen is bearing down on our house like a tractor trailer running down a steep hill. There’s no stopping it, so we might as well pull in behind it and draft along.

I’m embarrassed to admit it took me longer to realize I could ride 10’s coattails than it probably should have. Even 10 years in, I’m still new at this. She’s my first. My only. I haven’t had a starter kid to practice on.

But the requests have come for months, “When I’m 10, can I …” At first I sighed and promised to think on it, put it off in the way parents have for ages, with pledges to “talk to your father about it.” But lately my answers have been quicker, smarter. I’ve started to slip things onto the track greased by the wheels of 10, things a kid should know by 10:

1. Being smart isn’t always enough. But it’s a darn good start.

2. Always say please.

3. Eat something green every day. Jolly Ranchers don’t count. Skittles don’t either.

4. It’s elementary school; not drama school.

4a. What so-and-so called who-who on the playground seems like the most important thing in the entire world right now. Just so long as you’re neither so-and-so nor who-who, it’s perfectly OK to forget the entire exchange and go about your day. If you are so-and-so, get your butt over there and apologize immediately.

5. If your bedroom floor is still covered in dirty pairs of jeans, clean ones will not to magically appear in the dryer. The same applies to socks, underwear, and your favorite t-shirt that you desperately want to wear this morning but didn’t look for last night when you were told to put out your clothes for school.

6. You’re a child, not a doormat. It’s OK to speak up for yourself.

7. Say thank you. Mean it.

8. Fractions turn out to be surprisingly useful when you’re 30. Pay attention.

9. Going to the bathroom alone means “without someone knocking on the door asking for frozen waffles.”

10. Mommy and Daddy will always love you. Even if you can’t do fractions.


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