Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life on a measuring Tape

Little R has been struggling lately with wanting to be little forever and also grow up at the same time.  For her she really wants to just start over and be our “baby” as she puts it.  On the flip side she wants to be big so badly.  She is about 5 years old socially right now and wants to be 25. 

On days when she desires to be a “baby” we play blocks and sing silly songs and do patty cake and peek-a-boo and bang on pans in the kitchen.  Sometimes we rock and I swaddle her in a blanket and often she will fall asleep in my arms.  She enjoys these times.  I also do, but it is definitely a challenge swaddling a 60lb child. The benefits out way the challenges though.   She missed so much and we are working hard on trying to fill in the missing blanks.

On other days which is most of the time now, she begged me to wear make-up or have a boyfriend to which I responded with the typical mom response “you are beautiful and don’t need make-up right now.  You are too young to have a boyfriend enjoy just having friends.  When you are older I will teach you how to wear make-up, but for now no.  When you are in high school you can date but for now no” So this weekend she  was soooo mad at me after this conversation that she stormed into her room and started packing all her make-up that had come with her from a previous placement and began hiding it so I couldn’t find it.  I walked and told her that I knew how hard this was and that we needed to throw the make-up away so it wasn’t a temptation anymore.  With lots of tears and “I wish I was bigger” she threw away the make-up.

I then took her to the living room and pulled out a tape measure.  I pulled the measure out to 100 inches and sat Little R in my lap.  I proceeded to show her that each inch was going to represent a year in her life.  I asked her to put a marker by her current age “9.5 inches” and then a marker around 85 or so which is when people in her opinion are really old and die.  I then had her put a marker around 16 when we had talked about make-up and boyfriends being allowed. We put one final marker at 21.

As I sat with her in my arms I had her look at the big gap between the 21 and the 85 and showed her how many years she would have to be an “adult” and do “adult” things.  I showed her the little gap between the 9 and the 21 and talked about how little time she had left to just enjoy being a kiddo and not have lots of adult things to worry about and do.  I then had her look at how little time she has been alive verses how much time she could potentially be on the earth and she was stunned at the difference.
I rocked her and told her I know how hard it is to be a kid and wish you could be older, but you only get a few more years to be little so let’s enjoy all those things now and then we can do all the grown up things for all these years as I pointed to the inches between 21 and 85.   She smiled and said” that is a lot of years”. To which I replied “it is and we get to spend them all as a family”

It is so hard today; kids want to grow up so fast.  Children in my daughter’s third grade class have cell phones, laptops and IPod touches.  When did we lose touch with our kid’s just being kids and enjoying using their imaginations and playing dress up and dollhouse play and swinging at the playground?  Kid’s are growing up to fast these days and life is difficult as it is why add to it by cutting short there kid years?   I am not going to deny her growing up and fitting in , but she is just turning 10 and still needs to be able to be a little girl and enjoy little girl things. 
Looking at that measuring tape myself I realize how much time I have missed in her life and how little time I have left with her as a little girl and I want to maximize my time with her now.  So, she can grow into a well developed adjusted young woman some day.  I pray each day that God would give me the strength to touch her life and help her heal.


marythemom said...

What a great idea! Too bad my daughter is already 16 (came to us at age 11). Still might work with her though.

Mary in TX

Seamaiden said...

I love how creative you are when it comes to teaching Little R life lessons in ways she will understand. Who would have thought of pulling out a tape measurer and showing her a life timeline that way? Excellent, Laura!

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