"Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?"
Sure, sweetie. What's on your mind?
"Can I stay home tomorrow? It's soooooooooo boring at daycare; I mean, you know I'm also thirteen, and I was talking to Leader yesterday and she says that she doesn't take kids who are over twelve anyway, so I was thinking that instead of being bored at daycare, I should, you know, practice being home while you're working, since, you know, I'm going to have to since I'm almost thirteen and all…"
Bored, huh? Well, I can fix that. What YOU need, little princess, is your bear…
"…and I promise I won't blah blah blah and I will yadda yadda yadda and I have my cell and etc. etc. etc…"
Yup. One pink bear. HOURS of amusement. Just need to find your bear and you'll be A-OK at daycare for ten, fourteen hours, no problem…
"I can fix my own snacks and I swear I won't even think about using the oven or the stove for anything. I'll even not use the microwave if you say I can't, I can make a sandwich or something…"
A sandwich? Aren't you just the cutest thing…sandwich, indeed…
"…after all, school starts next month, and I'm supposed to be walking there and back with Melissa and Jackie from next door, right? So you're supposed to be giving daycare notice anyway, right – although do you even have to do that, or are they giving you notice? Well, anyway, so, I really think it would be prudent to have me, you know, try staying home on my own a few times and…mom? MOM! Are you even listening to me right now?!"
What the @*&^@?! When did that freakin' happen?!
In just over a month, this tiny baby will be starting seventh grade – and will officially be over the age and grade limits for every daycare I've contacted. With the budget cuts, the after school programs are likewise history.
There's nothing for it. She's going to have to be home alone from time to time while I'm working away from home.
Whether I like it or not, she's…she's…she's not…well. Allegedly and if recent photographic evidence can be believed, she's not seven pounds, nine ounces anymore. She's not eating mushy, flavor-impaired vegetables from a rubber-padded spoon, either. Nor is she particularly keen on the idea of taking a fluffy pink bear to daycare, even though I'm pretty sure it would be The Answer to that whole "bored" problem of hers.
How does that happen? How does something thirteen years in the making go by in the blink of an eye like that? How does a creature that can't even get through a night without bawling for me two or three times suddenly, seemingly overnight, become something that not only can start having independence…but arguably should.
Oh baby. I know it horrifies you terribly, but you're still, well, my baby. Yes, yes, I know how old you are. I know how to do the math, even if it involves carrying a one. I know "all" your friends are doing the same thing (and that's actually part of what worries me, but let's not go there right now).
And I know you know the rules (and that vee haf vays of knowing whether you're following them) (the cell phone GPS thing? I'm so freakin' glad my mom didn't have that when I was a kid…not that I ever did anything she didn't know about and wouldn't approve of, mind you, ooooooh no, heh heh, never! Except maybe once or twice…a week…or so…)
And yes, I trust you. I really do. I trust you to be cautious, and to avoid being in trouble, and to be a good kid. (Don't let the "nanny cam" stuff we're installing all over the Den mislead you. That's because, uh, we want to keep tabs on Dharma. I'm afraid she's on heroin or something. I don't want any kitty raves going on in the Den while I'm at work, yo.)
But, you, you are a good kid. And a mature and sensible one. Far more mature and sensible than I was at your age, come right down to it. I did some pretty stupid stuff when I was your age, stuff that could easily have gotten me killed…because my mom didn't have nearly the control issues or the control mechanisms we have today, and hey, guess what? I lived. And learned. And have to admit I'm probably a better rounded person because I was taking city buses to and from school alone by the time I was your age…or in the company of the little brother who was
But I just…I can't talk about it right now.
Let's talk about this later, OK?
Maybe, you know, when…when you're just a little older…
Yeah. We'll definitely have to talk…when you're just a little tiny bit older…