The orderly wheeled me to the car with my newborn daughter cradled in my arms. I remember thinking how absurd it was that they would send me home so soon. What did I know about taking care of a baby? The hospital never checked my credentials to see if I was up for the task. After a quick check of the car seat, our new little family headed down the freeway.
That was more than a year and a half ago, though it seems like yesterday. It all goes so fast, which is why I’m not ashamed to admit that I think about the teen years. Okay, I’m a little obsessed with what my daughter will be like as a teenager. Will she be that wisecracking, sassy girl I see on television sitcoms? Despite her sharp tongue, she can’t hide her heart of gold and no matter how many times she rolls her eyes, she loves her parents. I could work with that.
Enjoy those hugs and kisses now, when she’s 13 she won’t even talk to you. Hide your car keys and lock up the liquor cabinets. Much like expectant mothers, future parents of teens get their share of scary comments from loved ones and total strangers. While I don’t buy into every teen horror story, I can attest to being a teenage jerk. Sorry Mommy for the millionth time.
My baby girl is sweet, loving, creative and funny. Best of all, she adores me. It’s hard to imagine that things will ever change between us. To protect our future relationship and my future sanity, I have identified seven habits that I hope my toddler does not carry into the teen years.
1. Excessive telephone time. My daughter spends a big part of her day on the phone. No matter that the “phone” is usually a remote control or her own foot. She gabs, wags her finger, and pops a hand against her knee when the conversation is getting really good. I hope my future teen does not spend too much energy talking, texting, gaming, and whatever other time stealers future cell phones possess.
2. Hatred of books. Hate might be too strong. She loves books in her own special way, like slobbering on them, throwing them across the room and tap dancing on them. I get jealous when other moms describe their story time with their toddlers. My eyes get even greener when I hear about teens with their own reading lists. I certainly hope my teenager enjoys reading, even if it is vampire-alien romances set in a galaxy far far away.
3. Streaking. Yep, I’ve got an exhibitionist. She saves her totally nude runs for home, but it’s just a matter of time before she takes the show on the road. It’s funny now, but no butt naked jogs on your 16th birthday.
4. Kissing every person she meets. My daughter has never met a stranger. Just about everyone gets a kiss. As she gets older, I’ll teach her not to give her affection so freely. Those kisses are precious baby girl, make them earn it.
5. Dancing for dollars. I’m almost a decade older than my youngest sister. I have vivid memories of people giving my sister money just for saying funny, sometimes highly inappropriate things. we know money At the time, I thought the whole transaction was weird. Over the years, I’ve found that it’s pretty common for people to shower kids with cash for making them laugh or just because they are kids. It’s my daughter’s awesome dance skills that have her raking in the dough. She has a mean funky chickin’ that is always good for a laugh and a couple of bucks. We’ll keep loading the piggy bank but this is not how we are paying for college.
6. Obsession with shoes. Since she could crawl, my daughter’s favorite spot in the house has been the shoe rack in my closet. She often brings me shoes to put on her. Sometimes they are her shoes. Sometimes they are mine. Sometimes they are dad’s. I get that a lot of women love shoes, but I just can’t get too excited about something you stick your feet in and drag across the floor. Hopefully my teenager doesn’t expect pricey footwear. Boy, will she be disappointed.
7. Slamming doors. My toddler likes to slam doors. She’s not strong enough to make a big bang, but if she runs with it she can get a strong thump. I like to see those muscles flexing and the look of determination on her face. Slamming doors–cute now, probably irritating when she hits the teen years.
Do you think about the teenage years? Are you parenting a teen right now? What interesting things are your kids up to?
Nicole Robinson is a working mom, freelance writer, blogger and whole-milk enthusiast (the lady loves her milk). Visit Nicole at her blog, BookWormMama.com for a discussion of great parenting books and topics that interest moms. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.