Sunday, November 7, 2010

8 going on 13

Abi practiced her babysitting skills the other night. She helped bathe the Youngers, then read them stories and tucked them into bed. It made me smile. She's such a sweetheart. In just four years, I'll be able to rent her out hourly. I mean, she'll be able to make some extra money. I loved babysitting and know she will too. She already asks when she's allowed to start! *smile*

Abi's starting to grow up and as much as it excites me, it makes me nervous. During the summer, she did another First: she walked to the gas station down the street by herself. Well, almost by herself. She went with her older cousin, whom I trusted. I knew she was responsible enough to get there safely, but she still needed to pass a test first. I needed her to be able to tell me the directions and route she was taking. She struggled with communicating, and there were some tears and anger that her parents would demand such a cruel task, but she did it! We gave her my cell phone with instructions to call us when she arrived, and when she did 7 minutes later, it was the voice of a confident, mature girl on the other end. (albeit one with a young high-pitched voice!)

My little girl is growing up.

I read an article where it said that "eight is the new thirteen" and at first I wasn't too sure I agreed. But then all these little things were pointed out that got me thinking. A lot of children are doing thing much earlier than before. How many kids have seen PG-13 movies and been under 13? And yes, I am aware is it "parental guidance" and it's "okay" if accompanied by an adult, and is a decision a parent needs to make for their child, but how many parents just say "yes" without considering the consequences? We expose our children to too much too early. My girl is only eight and I want her to stay a child for the time she's supposed to. She doesn't need a cell phone or spa treatments or to watch drama-filled teen movies or tv shows.

One weekend recently, my Hunny was bored and like most men, decided to flip through the tv channels. I find that irksome (I have a love-hate relationship with tv that I don't understand) and he ended up on the Family Channel and the kids watch a few of their "family shows, which I find even more irksome: fake characters who are either all stupid, vain, clumsy or overdramatic. {grr} I was quite surprised at the shows we watched; shows that are "good" because they don't contain sex or violence and are of families. But have you ever actually watched these? In the two we watched, the main male characters are apx 14 years old, yet they try to act suave, trying to win over the girls with winks, nods and the catch phrase, "hey baby" like little Players. Are you serious? Is this what we want our kids to watch? Is this what I want my own children to base their impression of "real" teenagers on? Is this how I want my own boys to think they're supposed to act? And the girls aren't any better being stupid and vain and dressing sexy!

I'm just not ready for this next stage of my child's life to begin. She's still a Child. It amazes me at how many people find these shows, these characters, these movies, these games appropriate. I am so happy my children are sheltered. I'm glad they're not exposed to over-sexed under-aged "role models" (yes, I"m looking at your, Miley) I'm glad that I'm still the main influence in their life and that they still base their opinions on what I say. ( a humbling realization. I have the power to mold their minds, to build up character or lead them to ignorance and apathy)

I am confident in the direction Abi is going, but it's a scary world to release her to. I am thankful that, even though she is a bit more mature than I was at that age, she still loves the Disney Fairies and Webkinz. She's not turning into a teenager or expecting to be treated like one at her next birthday! I still have a few more years to prepare her for that!


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