[I never use my daughter's real name online, and since the early days of my blog (when people read it and it wasn't just for me to vent), I called her Princess. But then when I switched over to twitter, I started calling her True Jersey Kid (TJK for short) so I guess I'll keep using TJK for her because it seems to suit her well.]
Eleven is a strange age. TJK is basically 2 completely different people at this stage of the game - a mature young woman who wants to spend all her time with her friends and focuses all of her energy on having fun and hanging out, and a little girl who still desperately needs her mommy and wants to be involved in everything I do. And these two people can switch out at any given moment with no notice at all.
Example: TJK and I have been watching Pretty Little Liars together. Binge-ing it, really. Her friend and her friend's mom watch it as well, and we are all trying to get to the same point so we can finish the catching up together and then hopefully catch some episodes as they air live. So when TJK is home in the evenings, we watch. However, I am now just as invested in this show as she is. And I want to see what happens next!
TJK, most days, goes to a friend's house after school. She does not think twice about me, does not think about Pretty Little Liars, does not even really care which friend's house she goes to - she just wants to go. And I am fine with it because she has a good group of friends, they do their homework before they play, and I know how important friendships are to her. Not to mention the fact that I get a little bit of downtime alone after work, which is a plus. But keep in mind, this is nearly every day, which then limits my PLL viewing to almost nil.
Last week, on Thursday (which made it her 4th night in a row away from home), I decided to settle in with an adult beverage and some PLL. When TJK came home and found out, she cried. Literal tears. She was so upset and felt that this was a personal attack on her. Why would I watch without her? How could I do this to her? This was OUR THING that we do TOGETHER and I had broken that sacred bond.
My response: Well, we need to get through this episodes if you want to watch with our friends, so we need to get on this. You have not spent any time at home in weeks, and I have been ok with it, but I want to watch this show. You can catch up when you are home or else I can just tell you what you missed. MORE TEARS. I did not understand. She curled up in my lap and cried on my shoulder while I held her tight and promised that no, I will not watch any more episodes without her.
One minute- out and about, doesn't want to come home, wants only to be with her friends. Next minute: curled in a call on my lap like a baby crying because she wanted to do this thing with me. It's hard to parent a child when you don't know which personality you have to deal with in that moment.
And I know it only gets worse from here. We are still in the tween years...which means that she loves me, thinks I'm really cool, likes spending time with me, doesn't mind when I sing and dance and act crazy in front of her friends...and we all know that goes away in a year or two. So even though I never know which kid I'm dealing with....I'm trying to enjoy every moment of it.