My baby is 12 years old. And she looks 14. You haven't quite experienced that kicked in the gut feeling until you see a grown man "checking out" your daughter at the lake. You might even yell after him, "HEY! DUDE! SHE'S 11 YEARS OLD AND I'LL CALL THE COPS FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY FELONY!"
Um...yeah. I actually did this. I mean, even if she *was* 14, she'd still be only FOURTEEN, you know? Creep.
She didn't hear me say it, and thankfully she seems blissfully unaware of such attentions. She is an amazing blend of young woman and little girl. She is smart and funny and a pleasure to be around. I'm so proud of my almost-teenager.
So, for her birthday this year, I took her and a friend on a girls' day out. It was an especially special one because this very sweet friend of hers has just recently moved five hours away just a couple of weeks ago. Her parents were nice enough to loan her to us, in spite of the enormous post-move hassle I'm sure it caused. We first went to Claire's and spend a small fortune on various pieces of junk jewelry, then out to Maria's favorite Chinese buffet for lunch, to rent a movie, then to pick up an ice-cream cake and sodas. Claire's was the highlight. They had a 10 items for $10 sale and the girls cleaned up. In a push of enormous maternal patience on my part, I pushed Tess back and forth around the tiny store filled with giggling pre-teens for an entire HOUR while they debated their purchases and not once did I say, "PLEASE, HURRY UP!!!" On the way to lunch, they donned every single piece they had bought. Every. Single. Piece. When we got out of the van, Maria struck a pose and said, "Aren't I beeyoooteeful?"
Yes, baby. Heaven help me, yes, you are.