Just Write: A day with Miss D.

November 20, 2012

Just Write.

Miss D. turns eleven in December. She came home from school the other day and said, “Mom, can you get me one of those squeezy-ball thingys that you can hold in your hand and squeeze when you feel weird? I’m having hormones. Really bad.”

Squeezy ball. I think I can handle that. Hormones? Not so sure.

I was kind of stunned that she shared this little tidbit with me after I botched this so badly a few weeks before. Maybe there’s hope for this C-minus mommy after all.

My husband took Miss M. to Texas this past weekend to visit the in-laws, and Awesome Stepkid Ro has a girlfriend and a car, so D. and I had some time alone this weekend, just the two of us, rattling around the house.

It was lovely.

It also made me realize how totally freakingholycraphard it is to go through puberty. How do we survive it?

Things that happened in Miss D.’s pubescent life on a Saturday:

~ we made Snickerdoodles, the world’s best cookie

~ I noticed that she smelled like a sweaty gym sock, so I sent her up for a shower. Then she asked me to shave her underarms, which I did.

~ she made a mask of a bunny face, tied it around her head, and hopped around the house for twenty minutes, chanting “I’m a bunny!”


~ she pointed out the hair on her upper lip (hey, she’s half Indian) and wondered when we could get it waxed.

~ she was excited to find that Scooby Doo was playing on the telly and sang the theme song at the top of her lungs.

~ as I was making lunch, out of the blue, she blurted, “Hey, I don’t get Athena. She’s supposed to be the goddess of wisdom, but that whole thing with Arachne? Who turns someone into a spider just because they beat you in a weaving contest? That doesn’t seem very wise to me. What’s with her bad temper?”

~ we took a walk and she talked incessantly about the awesomeness that is Pokemon.

~ she commented that we “need to make Christmas really special for M. this year because it might be her last year of believing in Santa.” She then followed with, “I wish I still believed in Santa.”

~ she talked to her sister on the telephone and began with, “Hi, M. Tell me about your day.”

~ in the evening, she wanted me to read her a story and cuddled with her giant stuffed tiger named “Hobbes.” She loves that thing like nobody’s business.


I kissed her goodnight on the top of her springy, ringlet-laden head, quietly shut the door and then had myself a nice little cry. How exhausting, to be wedged so firmly between child and adult. I was drained just watching her navigate a single day–what it must feel to live it–


I thought back to my 5th and 6th grade years, and realized that I remember quite little. Is that Mother Nature’s little gift to us? Does she throw us into this hormonal shitstorm and then console us by wiping much of it out of our memory?

After a full day of watching her whirl and twirl and grow and think, it reminded me that I need to be gentle with my fledgling little bird. Learning to fly is big stuff.

She’s got rocky terrain ahead of her, and is fumbling for her compass. I wish I could lend her mine, but I fear I lost it years ago. Maybe between the two of us, we can find the way.


ps: Aria loves Hobbes, too.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Tricia November 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

Thisnpostnis so sweet. I love your perspective and how you are noticing your girl wedged between these two big seasons of life. She is lucky to have you as her mama!


amber_mtmc November 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

Oh wow. The age when hormones peak out of childhood. My heart is with Miss D. as she wades through these troubling waters.


elizabeth November 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

Puberty is such a mindfuck–but it seems Miss D is up to the task.


Jane November 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hugs to you and Miss D. Such a treasure. All of these moments. Good and uncomfortable. With the love and support you share, precious, too.


Arnebya November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

It amazes me, this puberty bullshit. I know I went through it, but like you, I don’t remember much. Experiencing it again, yet from a different vantage point, is…creepy. At the same time it is wholly eye-opening and scary but remarkable and sweet (when there aren’t tears for nothing, screams of injustices no one else perceives, and cookies: who ate all the goddamned cookies (which is what I’m sure she’d say if I’d just say sure, it’s okay to cuss when you’re angry. We’d all be fuckheads, I’m sure).

Good luck to you navigating it all. I’ve no doubt that the twos of you together (which, for some reason, I am saying in the preacher’s voice from The Princess Bride) will figure it all out. And she might even still like you at the end.


TKW November 21, 2012 at 7:56 am


So much wisdom to be gained from The Princess Bride! :)


Katybeth November 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

“I wish I believed in Santa too.” it is hard, isn’t it but not all the time. ♥


ayala November 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

This is so sweet :) I think you get an A+ for shaving her underarms. When I was that age my cousin shaved my hairy legs :) and my mom had a heart attack. She didn’t allow it until much later…. :( she didn’t want me to grow up too fast and meanwhile I had to suffer with my hairy legs :)


ayala November 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

This is so sweet :) I think you get an A+ for shaving her underarms. When I was that age my cousin shaved my hairy legs :) and my mom had a heart attack. She didn’t allow it until much later…. :( she didn’t want me to grow up too fast and meanwhile I had to suffer with my hairy legs :) Love this.


TKW November 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

I remember asking my mom about shaving my armpits, and she said, “Oh you’re way too young for that,” and I lifted up my arm and shocked the Hell out of her!


Lisa Eisan November 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Oh my!! I only vaguely remember those days, but sadly, by eleven, I was pretty much through it already. My ‘monthly gift’ (really what the hell kind of gift is it, and is there not a return receipt!) arrived when I was nine.

My lovely eldest girl, is seven, little boobs are budding, hormones are already flying I fear, on the back of dealing with relatively newly diagnosed ADHD this is turning into a hell of a year.

I have already had to talk to her about changes to her body, as I know I am really limited on time now before things start to happen and her Dad is still in the “lalalalala” (sticks fingers in ears and pretends its not happening stage). Poor kids, its not a fun time, and I hear you about the singing along to Scooby Doo…. immediately followed by a melt down about her hair just not being ‘right’ or wanting a pamper and manicure…. right back into playing with My Little Ponies


TKW November 21, 2012 at 7:59 am


NINE? Oh my gosh. Actually, now that I think of it, my sister got hers in the fourth grade…

And if you couldn’t tell from the post above, Miss D. also has ADHD. How are you dealing with the new diagnosis?


Anonymous November 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

We are getting there. I have also been diagnosed ADHD, so we are both dealing with it. I never really remembered my childhood at all, and my parents always told me I was a good kid, but after talking with the counsellor, and liooking at Freyja’s behaviour more, I started to remember more and frankly I am surprised I managed to function on a daily basis. Puberty was a hellish time for me and my Mom, and pushed our relationship to an already frazzled edge for a while, so I am trying hard to prepare as best I can, and also trying to get the ADHD under control beore it hits hard so she doesn’t get the double whammy.

I do think you are doing a great job dealing with Miss D’s impending forays into womanhood though, and I am taking notes!


Erica November 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm

What a whirlwind! I’ve blocked puberty from my mind and don’t remember much either. Raising two boys didn’t seem so yo-yo-ish. Perhaps my mind has blocked that too. But I do know that Miss D is lucky to have you as her Mom.


BigLittleWolf November 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Oh these tween years are their own special challenge, aren’t they? 11, 12… even13 (though generally more for boys than girls) – part child, part teen – and the juxtapositions are so striking to us as parents.

Waxing and scooby doo. Yep.

Went through the “boy version” of this. Transitions, transitions, transitions… And a martini (or chocolate) for the Mom who deals with it all… If only we could still have a Twinkie as consolation (dammit).


TKW November 21, 2012 at 8:00 am


I’ll take that martini. Make it dirty. :)


Jamie November 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

You’re doing an awesome job, considering how hard the job is! Anyone that does a perfect job is a robot. I love the contrast in this post, it threw me right back to being 11.


Katrina Kenison November 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm

What a vivid picture of RIGHT NOW. Love that she asked you to shave her armpits. No one could make that up. And I love that you are paying such attention, writing this down. Because vivid and wacky as it all seems in the moment, your mind will become like swiss cheese, and you will forget nearly everything that isn’t written somewhere. Brilliant and poignant and wonderful, both of you.


TKW November 21, 2012 at 8:02 am


It IS a wacky life. And if I don’t write something down, whoosh! Gone. This getting old stuff stinks.


idiosyncratic eye November 21, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hang in there both of you. :)


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes November 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I vividly remember the akwardness of bodily changes and my mother’s insane desire to keep dressing me as a six year old.
Best of luck!

PS: nearly forgot, my nieces are now fully fledged teens but when they where tweens glitter nail polish solved many problems… better stock up…


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm


Glitter nail polish is, indeed, magic. We 7 kinds :)


Biz November 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Glad you got some one on one time with your baby girl, who isn’t so much of a baby anymore. I don’t know where the time goes – my baby will be 21 on her next birthday – so crazy!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :D Hugs!


Jennifer November 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Somehow I think you will be the perfect guide on her journey.


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm


I’m not so sure. Wanna come stand in for me?


The Meaning of Me November 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm

You shaved her armpits for her? Oh my god, how the hell am I tearing up about that? That is like the best mom moment ever. The world between kid and teenager is so unpredictable – the ADHD only makes it more so, I think. I didn’t know about my ADHD yet at that age, but looking back I am sure some of what I experienced was due to that – it was hell. It’s a tough road, but you seem to take the bumps on head-first. You and your girl will do just fine. :)


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm


Shaving your baby’s armpits is an “Oh my God” moment, lemme tell ya.


Kate November 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I cannot express how much I fear this shift. We’re not there. Yet.

I love how you see her. All of her.


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm


It’s pretty hard not to see every inch of Hurricane D. :)


pamela November 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Heartbreaking. And beautiful. Thank you for this reminder to be gentle to my own little fledglings. xoxo


Absence of Alternatives November 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I really love your writing. (yes, yes, I repeat myself. I am getting old. Leave me be. But truth must be told…)

I could only imagine that this road is much much harder for girls (and their parents) than boys. {{{hugs}}} I love her spirits and with her being there, her spirits will be victorious over puberty.


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm


Promise? xoxo


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri November 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

So get the hair thing. My daughter is wanting to wax her hair at age 6! Coming attractions for me at age 11 – right?

Love the sweetness and honesty of this post.


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm


We got it waxed and I warned her that it would hurt (but would be only a few rips) and she took it like a pro! This is good, considering that she will be waxing for a lifetime. :)

Afterwords, she was ecstatic and SO relieved. It made me feel so guilty, because I wonder how long that had been bothering her but she kept it to herself…


Shelley November 24, 2012 at 1:53 am

Gosh, Dana! I lost you for a while and now I find you having more adventures than ever! It is strange being part child and part woman. I remember having the lecture at school in the gym – girls only, but the boys were spying through the windows. I went home and told mom about it, but neither of us wanted to discuss the issue. Your daughter sounds like such a live wire, she must be amazing to live with!


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Hi Shelley!

So happy to see you! And you are right–that kid is dynamite in human form.


Velva November 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Your post made me re-think the rant I was prepared to have with my 15-year old. I decided that his journey was fragile, and this one rant I would spare him.

Puberty sucks.



TKW November 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Please tell me everything. I am lost,


Naptimewriting November 25, 2012 at 12:28 am

You have officially scared the crap out of me.

Please Let My Kids Never Hit Puberty


TKW November 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm


Puberty. The horror!


Heather November 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Ok… Bookmarking this post for later reference. For when hormone hell hits our house. Yes it’s boys and not girls but the fact remains that it happens. I remember some of being there, crying because it was the first Christmas that I didn’t get toys. I don’t think I really wanted toys, it just hit me that I didn’t get any. Damn hormones!!! I played for 2 weeks with my sister’s Rainbow Brite doll because she let me and because I needed to hold onto my childhood for just that one more brief moment. Hugs to you and D as you bounce through this crazy. Glad you got this day to try to figure out what “normal” will be for at least the next few moments.


TKW November 26, 2012 at 8:24 am


I fear that it will be YEARS.


Tiffany November 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

That’s what I kept thinking as I’m reading this…how hard it is to be in the “in-between”. I don’t remember it either. I do, however, have a 5′ 10″ drop-dead gorgeous blonde niece who is 15 and still likes to bake cupcakes with friends, play Legos and be silly. There’s hope!


Cathy November 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

Girls start so early. I’ve still got one in that interesting land at 14 and my oldest, at 17, still snuggles with his snoopy for sleep. So sweet. I love seeing them growing up but still retain part of their child-ness.


Contemporary Troubadour December 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Oh, Kitch, the in-betweenness of it all. I know it’s been a roller coaster, but these snapshots of Miss D. as she — and you — are weathering it are ones for the memory box. She’s lucky to have you chronicling these moments as honestly as you do.

And that picture of Aria slays me.


Cadry March 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

Great post! I especially liked this line: “She commented that we ‘need to make Christmas really special for M. this year because it might be her last year of believing in Santa.’ She then followed with, ‘I wish I still believed in Santa.’”

Those years between childhood and adulthood are hard. I remember being so confused when I entered sixth grade that I was suddenly supposed to care about doing my hair and wearing cool clothes. It had really never occurred to me before, and I felt like everyone else was already in on it. That year I asked for a doll for Christmas and was very aware it would be the last year that I would.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: