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I Don’t Want to Grow Up

One of my daughters wakes up crying and goes to sleep crying.

My other daughter wakes up happy and goes to sleep happy.

According to a report by John Stossel on 20/20it’s a simple matter of brain chemistry. Some people are born a Sponge Bob, others are born a Squidward.

So I try not to take credit for either condition. With my Squidward (and I’m not naming names people!) it’s usually best if I don’t try to guilt trip her out of it. I.E. “You think you have it hard? We weren’t allowed to cry in the ’70s or they’d giveus something to cry about! And we had to vacuum. I did a whole staircase when I was six!!”

It’s also better if I don’t give her too much sympathy. “Yes honey, it can be hard to have such a perky sister.” LOUD DEAFENING WAILING. 

Child services arrive. I open the door. “All I did was sympathize with her, I swear!”

So last night when the crying began I impatiently asked, “What now?” My daughter tried to quell her emotions. That would be like quelling the Red Sea as it crashed down around the Philistines. 

I checked the clock. 10 p.m. Looked like I’d never get to that episode of True Blood. More patiently I asked her again what was wrong.

“I don’t want to start 4th grade.”

The crying escalated. Our charter school is known for its rigorous academics so I began to reassure her that I would help her with her homework. That she was smart (which she is) and that she didn’t have to figure it all out in one day or all by herself. That she could always ask for help.

“No, I’m not worried about that. I just don’t want to grow up. I want to live here with you and daddy and Bridget forever.”

Oh. Oh no. I felt the tears coming. Only this time they were mine. Raising babies is so bittersweet.

Earlier I took some photos in my daughter’s room because when I paused for one second in my harried night time routine these images just struck me.

They perfectly capture who my daughter is at this exact moment in time and it is their ephemeral nature that captured my attention and both enlivened and broke my heart.

Tags assigned to this article:
Growing up too fast


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  1. Jibberblog
    Jibberblog 24 August, 2011, 12:10

    Love the pictures, maybe I should take some around here. My oldest just started 3rd grade and Barbie's dream house is still getting used in her room. But she also laughed at a rerun of Seinfeld last night. So big, but still little. I'm torn between which I prefer. Good luck 🙂

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  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous 24 August, 2011, 12:21

    so very bitter sweet. PS Harper starts 4th grade in September.

    Reply this comment
  3. julie fedderson
    julie fedderson 24 August, 2011, 12:44

    There are times when I look at my sons in their little men clothes and wish they could stay with me forever. And then I see my four year old on the couch in his Elmo underwear eating Pringles and I get this bizarre sense that I'm seeing the future when he's forty and living in my basement. Letting go is a good thing, even if it is a little painful.

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  4. The Zadge
    The Zadge 24 August, 2011, 13:36

    Fourth graders with iPad2 admiration on their bulletin boards! Where is Shaun Cassiday and Keith Partridge?!

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  5. Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Shannon Bradley-Colleary 24 August, 2011, 14:07

    jibberblog — as long as they're not laughing at Curb Your Enthusiasm you're still okay.

    Anonymous — Just don't ever let Harper cut his curls off!

    Julie — I can absolutely see the image you painted. We don't have a basement which means if they never move out I'll never have my own bathroom.

    And Zadge – let's not forget about Bobby Sherman with his neck chokers. He was hot!

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  6. Vesta Vayne
    Vesta Vayne 24 August, 2011, 19:19

    Awww! Well she is a smart one, cause growing up ain't for sissies.

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  7. The Empress
    The Empress 24 August, 2011, 22:01

    Pre mourning as my therapist calls it.

    We mourn what we have right now b/c we now it is fleeting.

    Talk about drama..sheesh..why are we like this?????

    Reply this comment
  8. Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Shannon Bradley-Colleary 25 August, 2011, 11:32

    Pre-mourning. That is the perfect diagnosis. I suffer from it daily. xo

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