Well, where does the time go? One minute you're a new mother, the next you're talking boys and bras with your daughter. I've not been a mother three years yet and suddenly I am tackling puberty with my daughter. She's gone up to High School and overnight has become a whole new person in her own right. She's a pre-teen, not a baby anymore. I remember the intense claustrophobia I used to feel with children clinging to me for dear life on a supermarket trip, now my Daughter breezes out the front door to walk herself to school.
For someone who really struggled with the lack of age appropriate independence in her adopted children, I sure am puzzled at my complete lack of comfort with this sudden spurt of maturity on behalf of my 11 year old girl. She now carries her mobile phone around with her instead of a teddy, last night she showed me her chest and asked if she was growing breasts yet (no, thank goodness!) and she's started rolling her eyes at her little brother instead of being deadly jealous of him.
It's all good, of course. It is as it should be. It's just shocked me more than I could ever have guessed. She's still such a little wee bit, but look closely and her face is no longer that of a little girl. She's steaming fast into her teens.
Her brother is, of course, growing up too. But he still needs me to take him to the school gate. He's got two years of primary school left and as far as I'm concerned that means I have two years of heavy duty interference left. And when puberty is due to visit upon him, his dad can talk body parts rather than me. So the pressure is not on as far as he is concerned. The opposite in fact. The more he grows up, the more he is outgrowing his tantrums. This summer - can you believe I am writing this - was not full of tantrums. Last summer he screamed every day, rejected everything, demanded everything else. This summer, he was not always easy, but he wasn't sabotaging and ruining every day. The more his real self emerges, the more enjoyable he is.
And I'm growing up too. I've stopped relying on the experts and found the confidence to do things my way. All that poppy-cock about playing dolls with your kids, and board games, and crafts and cooking. All that intimacy and close interaction. It doesn't help attachment, it overwhelms it. What kids want is arcades, and bowling, cinema, McDonalds, the odd kick-about in the park, ice-cream nights and playing on the DS with their mates. When we went away on holiday this summer we played tennis, learnt archery, went swimming and horse riding. The rest of the time the kids went over the park to play unsupervised and left Husband and I to read, although it felt so odd to be left alone that we couldn't settle to it easily! We didn't have to spend every second together. We don't spend every second together. Not any more.
And so in growing up and moving on, we get on better and become closer. It's not all smooth sailing here, we are often in choppy waters, but, oh fuck it, I'm happier these days