Chart Number 220

July 1, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

I am officially the mother of a child in double digits.

Double digits.

Oh my gosh. Double digits. She’s halfway to 20. That means she’ll be halfway through college by then.

I don’t know if I can do this.

I don’t know if I can be the mother of a double-digit kid. Ten—wow, just writing that makes me pause. She’ll be hitting puberty and liking boys and probably engaging with her father and me in a couple of screaming matches in the coming years.

(Okay, need to go breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes.)

To be blunt I’m entering the tween years with a fair amount of trepidation. I’ve already seen hints of the years to come. Ten’s moods have begun to swing slightly, although this happens most frequently when she’s hungry. The minute her blood sugar goes back up to normal, she’s my sunny, humorous child once again.

But sometimes the moods mean something else. The other day she came to me in the middle of playing her violin and said while practicing all of a sudden she felt like she wanted to throw the violin and bow down and curl up into a ball on the floor. She couldn’t figure out why she felt that way, she said, but she wanted to tell me about it.

I wanted to take a minute to curl into a ball myself. Instead I sat on her bed with her, put my arm around her shoulders, and told her not to worry. As girls grow up, I told her, our bodies start to change, and sometimes that change causes our feelings to go a little crazy.

It was okay to take a break for a few minutes when she felt that way. Read a book. Look outside the window. Find something to distract her attention from those feelings. And occasionally, I told her, it was okay to lie down and let the feelings come and then go. Sometimes that was the best way to handle them.

As long as she didn’t have any feelings about hurting anyone or doing anything bad to herself or anyone else, she shouldn’t let the unexpected thoughts scare her. I also said that I understood that talking about these sorts of things might embarrass her, but I was always here to listen. It was just part of growing up, and growing up was nothing to worry about.

She took it pretty well, which is more than I can say for myself. My daughter is ten. How do these things happen so fast? She grins when she reminds me that she’s a decade old now, and her quick-footed sense of humor has made me laugh several times. Her questions and observations about the world around us have given me reason to pause more than once, and I marvel yet again at the fact that she’s my child.

I just started getting used to the idea of being a mother. Now I have a child in double digits. Does this period of adjustment ever get any easier?

I’ve said it many times before here on Growth Chart, but someone should have warned me that kids grow up so fast.