Over a decade ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who I named Alena.
I remember everything about it -
The way her hot, 5 second old skin felt as it was laid onto mine.
The way her eyes looked as they blinked and squinted and tried to focus under the bright hospital lights.
The way her head smelled.
I remember the first night alone with her - after the nurses had stopped prodding me and poking me - and I unwrapped her blanket, as I held my breath, to really examine her whole body for the first time.
Alena has grown to be many great things.
She is a die hard friend.
She is an insatiable reader. I think in this summer alone (which mind you is only half over) she has probably read a sum total of 4000 pages. Maybe even more.
She loves animals and would probably have us getting arrested for animal hoarding if she had her way.
She is a collector. Of stuffed animals and (recently proclaimed) ERASERS.
And judging by the looks of her room, possibly also empty cups and paper scraps.....
I proudly hung her most recent SAT test results on the kitchen cabinet because her scores are out of this world.
She scored in the top 10% of the NATION in almost every subject, with all of her language grades being in the top 2%!
I gazed lovingly at the report.
I sometimes even stroke the paper with my finger tips as if it's my pet.
All this to say - She is one smart cookie and I'm so thankful that I have her.
And this is where I get confused.
This intelligent, beautiful girl sometimes does things that leave me not only perplexed, but downright scared for her very survival to adulthood.
This morning I asked her to take her cereal bowl and scrape the excess cereal into the garbage before putting the bowl in the sink and later walked in to find her standing about 4 feet from the trash, flinging spoonfulls of cereal into the can as she simultaneously let milk pour from the bowl onto the hardwood. She was holding it completely sideways in her hand. She didn't even notice the splashes of milk on her bare toes.
When I asked her what she was doing, her face went completely blank and she looked off somewhere that I can only guess was somewhere around the top of my ear, and hung her mouth open.
She actually never DID answer. I had to do an impromptu cereal dumping tutorial for her as she stood there glazed over.
I shook my head and walked off mentally backtracking to see if I could remember any incidences of catching her eating lead chips.
Later in the day, I overheard her on the phone with her friend.
From far away, I thought maybe they were discussing life, or school or at the very least having an actual conversation. Afterall, they WERE on the phone.
I thought I was safe to assume.
Upon closer inspection, however, I saw she was scraping the mouthpiece with her index finger and heard her say,
"Nina......Can you hear that?....*guffaw*......I'm scratching the talking thing with my finger."
Please someone. Explain it to me.
The Mystery of the Preteen.
Teach me their ways and show me how to communicate.
Impart to me wisdom on how to get concepts across such as:
keeping your gum in your mouth
Tell me how someone can be so into fashion and sideswept bangs and bangles but yet be lost to the world of showering.
I do remember this age, though.
I remember the insecurities and feeling that I'd cry for no reason at all.
I remember feeling like nobody understood me.
Of course, looking back, even I don't understand me because no one in their right mind would have had this hair:
But, I made it through and she will, too.
I just hope she makes it through without sticky milk feet.