This kid is growing up. Fast.
Last year I fretted over her upcoming transition to junior high, worrying about how she would deal with the responsibility of changing classes, more homework, increased peer pressure. How on earth would she ever remember her locker combination? Let's face it, organization has never been Bear's strong suit, and while some of the girls in her fifth grade class were concerned with fashion, boys, and cellphones, Bear was still perusing the American Girl doll catalog and playing dress-up with Bug. As she should. Regardless of what some parents seem to think, ten is still a little kid.
Over the summer, though, I watched the preteen begin to overshadow the little girl. Along with the obvious physical changes, came a heightened maturity, moodiness, and a sudden and complete aversion to waking up in the morning. There was dramatic sighing. There were requests to go to clothing stores. She shyly asked me to show her how to shave.
And then. THEN! She casually mentioned that she didn't really want any more American Girl doll stuff. Oh, she still planned to play with what she has... but this Christmas she'd rather have things like clothes, accessories, and video games. Bug declared her insane and WEIRD.
I've watched with equal parts amazement and pride as she's handled junior high with grace and maturity. Oh sure, we still have the occasional forgotten homework assignment, the inability to remember to bring home her gym clothes, and the exuberant bursts of silliness that reassure me that the little girl is not completely gone.
This past Friday she went to her first Sixth Grade Activity Night at the junior high. Seventh and eighth graders have dances in the cafeteria, while the sixth graders play games and sing karaoke in the gym. I helped her to choose an outfit, let her wear a tiny dab of lip color, and dropped her off with her friend. When I picked her up two hours later, she was laughing and glowing with happiness.
I miss the little girl, but I love the preteen. Isn't she beautiful?