Friday, December 5, 2008

On the edge of adulthood

Okay, not really. Katie only thinks she's on the edge of adulthood. At 7, she's got a long way to go.

Seriously, she actually told me that it's confusing to her because some times she feels like an adult and some times she feels like a child, and that's why she isn't sure how to act. Poor girl!

I understand why she's confused. How many times a day is she reminded to be responsible, to take care of her own things, to do the right thing? Think of school time: at this age, they want the kids to learn more and more how to take care of themselves. Altruistic incentives for good behaviors.

Then she comes home and is the oldest child. No matter what, I think that birth order brings with it extra responsibility. Lordy, I try not to, but I hear myself asking her to do things that maybe a child shouldn't have to. It's not so much because she's the oldest; it's because she's so stinking responsible and such a rule-follower. I know she'll tell me the instant Lainie's doing something she shouldn't, while Maggie would encourage the deviant behavior just for fun.

But then, Katie tries to act like a parent. She has started arguing with everything I ask of her or requiring an explanation. She's in the habit of telling Maggie and Lainie what to do, which is sometimes okay and sometimes not. She rarely just acts like a kid.

But rarely doesn't mean never. Every once in a while we get a glimpse of the little girl in Katie, innocently playing dress-up or playing with the Barbies. I guess I just wish we'd see more of that, and worry that we aren't. She's seven. Shouldn't she still be a little girl?

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