A friend of mine the other day shared a post from the Scary Mommy site on having a nine year old. It was one of those fortuitous posts that I needed to see right when I did, as my oldest daughter is nine, and my husband and I are discovering the joys of this age every day with her.
My oldest daughter is one of the sweetest, kindest, considerate, loving children I think I’ll ever meet. I would love to take all the credit, but it mostly is just her personality. This is the girl who, in first grade, when she was inviting friends from school to her birthday, said that she wanted to also invite her friend’s younger sister as well. Her reasoning was “I think she must feel sad and left out a lot if her sister gets to go to all these things and she’s not invited.”
And yet right now, we’re faced with what feels like constant whining, complaints about how things just “aren’t fair”, ignoring us when she’s told to do something, etc. – and it’s maddening. It’s frustrating, and as none of my friends also have a nine year old girl, there’s not really anyone for me to bounce these things off of and I start to feel like I’m failing as her mother. And then I read this post. And it was freeing to me. I’d like to share some excerpts here (read the full post here):
Terrible twos. Threenagers. Feisty Fours. These ages get a bad rap, mostly for good reason: Toddlers are assholes. They behave like the drunk guy at the party: spilling shit everywhere, yelling belligerent nonsense at everyone in sight, and then passing out in the middle of the floor. … When your kids are that age, you look at parents with older children with envy.
And indeed, life gets easier when kids get older and more independent. Easier in the sense that your worries shift. Instead of diapers and spilled milk, you deal with braces and backtalk. It’s all relative. …Let me give you a little taste of Nine.
Nine is indignant. Nine slams doors, not because Nine is a toddler who likes making loud noises, but because she feels the need to express her extreme annoyance at her little brother because he asked her a question, or he had the nerve to bounce a basketball, or pretty much just because he dares to exist. Nine stomps up the stairs, not because she is a toddler pretending to kill bugs or lead a marching band, but because her little sister doesn’t want to watch the same TV show as her.
Nine is ungrateful. Minutes after returning home from a playdate, Nine will beg to have the next door neighbors over. When you explain why that’s not possible tonight, in a ridiculously kind and patient manner, Nine will sigh loudly and snidely mutter something about life being unfair. No matter how many toys or friends or things Nine has, it will never be enough.</
Nine will push you to your breaking point. You will have heart-to-heart talks with Nine. You will discipline her, punish her appropriately when need be, and give her more love and support than humanly possible. You will think you are making tremendous headway with Nine, that you are finally getting through to her. You’re not. She’s still Nine.