A very hands-on (and at times almost paranoid) mother of a 7-year old, an avid reader, a keen observer of human nature and a deep lover of psychology - this combination makes me read up a lot on a variety of topics and relate it to what I experience around myself. During one such reading session, I came across the word 'Tweens'.
It was a completely new word to me and a bit of digging up explained that it refers to a growing kid from the ages of 10-12 years, a child who is not a willful teenager as yet but just about getting there (and giving the parent a very good sense about what's headed towards them). What got my mind racing was the mention that kids as young as 8 years old nowadays are displaying tweening behaviour. My motherly instincts kicked in instantly, my flustered antennae ready to pick up any signs of the same. And I was correct, I was dealing with a getting there 'tween'.
The initial reaction was panic - she is too small, I am not ready, it is a bad world out there, how am I supposed to handle the questions that come my way and every other possibility tossing and turning in my head. But once the panic settled, I started realizing how amusing this phase actually is and what an exciting rollercoaster ride I am set up for.
I call it a rollercoaster because it isn't the same everyday or even every hour. She swings between a grown up who wants to go around the building elevators alone, and a baby who needs her mummy to snuggle for sleeping at night. On some occasions she will fight back fiercely for being called a baby and then within minutes will want to be held and swung around by the arms. And yet there are days when she oscillates between just being my little girl always and being a TikTok star (the horror!).
However, when I look past this and similar spectacles, I do see glimpses of what would be a very loving grown-up. I also feel immense happiness realizing that I count as a good friend in her books today, and there is every reason to believe that we will continue to be best of buddies. Ofcourse, there are days where she wants to scribble in her secret diary which has a lock. But then there are days where she shows me where the keys to the lock are (to remind her just in case she forgets where she kept them!)
On one such day, she told me that as she is growing up, I am ageing and would soon be on a wheelchair. The smile on her face confused me and I was wondering the reason behind her pleasure. The next thing she told me was that even then she wouldn't leave me alone ever and put me in a 'pram' and take me along wherever she goes; just the way I have been doing since she was a baby. And at that moment, all the struggles of parenting seemed worth it and all her quirkiness acceptable. It's a special relationship where I am her punching bag and the cushion to her fall both together at all times.
And at the end of the day, phases are just that - phases. All that matters is how well we manage to see through them together - as friends and as family, how much fun can we have while navigating the crests/troughs and valuing our precious little human everyday.
"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." - Stacia Tauscher