How Covergirl Stole My Tween


Jane is twelve and a (very important) half. Jane is in sixth grade, but some of her friends who are just a few months older are in seventh grade. A lot happens between sixth and seventh grade. In sixth grade they discover boys, and in seventh grade they discover makeup, and kissing.

Thankfully Jane and her friends adhere to all scientific principles and abhor a vacuum. If I walk with them and don’t speak they fill the void giving me every detail of their day, and every detail of their friends days too. I know who is kissing, who is “in love”, whose skirts are too short (all of them) and who the ringleaders are.

When I walked into Jane’s room this evening she and her friend were surfing the web (tabbed browsing) with the bottom tab they had YouTube streaming Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, all the while experimenting with makeup at

Their Makeup Mirror is somewhere beyond fabulous when you’re a tween, so I decided to use it for some of my own styles. I fear 41 is a tad bit too old for the blue shadow that the girls favor.

Jessica Gottlieb Blue Eyeshadow

Ready for the Jersey Shore

Jessica Gottlieb Covergirl

Maybe the lips are a little too red?

Jessica Gottlieb Ellen DeGeneres

I'm Just like Ellen


Elementary School Sports As Ambassadors


Jane is in fifth grade, and like her, the school she attends is growing and changing. I’m fairly certain both kids will stay there through the eighth grade, but I’ve got to do my homework and look at all the other local schools. In our area there are openings for new students in the sixth, seventh and ninth grades. On my living room table is a stack of admissions packets for various schools in the area.

One school in particular stands out as being the next step. It’s rigorous but nurturing, reasonably affordable and has a good sports program. I mentioned it to Jane and she said, “No, I won’t even look at that school.”

“What? Why?” I asked her, I was stunned. They have a stellar reputation and I’d really like to see both my kids there.

“Those girls were awful. When we played them in Volleyball last year they were teasing us and making fun of us. I don’t want to have to be around them.” She went on and on to detail the manner in which the girls from the Volleyball team had displayed bad sportsmanship and how the coach had ignored their bad behavior.

I tried to tell my daughter that the Volleyball Team was not necessarily representative of the school as a whole. Jane stared me down with a look that I’d previously thought I owned and said, “That volleyball team is the school.”

Case closed. We’re not even touring.

Kissing Boys Is NOT Gross


Yesterday was the Fourth of July, and I spent a good bit of the afternoon cross legged on our daughter’s floor marking her clothing with a Sharpie.


I wrote Jane on her socks, her toothbrush, her beloved skinny jeans andĀ  a few tank tops. Then, I sobbed. Not like a little bit either, but the sort of sobs where you stop breathing for a moment and you think you might pass out. The sort of sobs that are typically reserved for a death.

Yesterday it felt like childhood died in my home.

Our daughter left for summer camp this morning. Sleep away summer camp. Summer camp that your Mom is not invited to. Summer Camp where you are responsible for what you wear, what you eat, making your bed and playing nicely with others.

She is fearless. She is ready. She was excited and joyful and fairly bounded out of my husband’s car, and toward the bus that would take her into the mountains of Southern California. The bus that would take her away from us. As she started towards her gaggle of friends I had a horrible realization.

Boys go to camp too.

I ran to catch up to Jane, grabbed her left arm and spun her around to look me in the eye. Her blue eyes sparkled and opened wide. I was panicked, she could sense it.

“Jane, there’s something I forgot to tell you.” I started urgently, “There are boys here, and there are going to be girls and boys holding hands and kissing. You are too young to kiss.”

“Oh Mom,” She began, but didn’t make eye contact with me, “Boys are gross.”

“No Jane, boys are not gross. Boys are wonderful and handsome and smart and they will make you feel wonderful. But you are too young to kiss anyone. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mom, but really they’re…” she started to say gross, but I interrupted.

“Don’t lie to me Jane. We both know boys are great. Promise me you won’t kiss one.”

“I promise.” She met my eyes.

She ran off to join her friends, and I realized that I’d blown it. I tried to take what should have been months of preparation and cram it into 27 seconds.

Sometimes things like this make me feel like a horrible parent, but after dinner my husband confessed that he had given Jane the “child molester” lecture while taking her to the bathroom, it was just three minutes after I gave her the don’t kiss one. Most often I’m convinced that my husband is the better parent. Today we’re on equal footing. Squarely behind the eight ball.

It’s a quarter to ten and I’m wondering if my daughter is sleeping well. I don’t know what she ate for dinner or if she brushed her teeth before bed. I hope she uses the good sunscreen I packed for her on her face, and the spray on her arms and legs. I worry that she misses me. I worry that she doesn’t.

We’ve closed her bedroom door. We miss her, and although I love that my daughter is maturing into an independent young lady, the worst part of me wants her to need me a little more than she does.

Tech Talk Tuesday: Tween (or OMFG I’m In Over My Head)


I spent the day yesterday with my ten year old daughter and her ten year oldĀ  friend Ann. It was monumentally exhausting. It was a new sort of tired, the tired that comes from your core. The tired that makes you want to weep and sit in a corner.

The tired where you simply want to say, “Okay, I give up. I suck at parenting, and I’ll buy you all sorts of fancy crap if you promise to never ever speak again. Ever.”

That’s right. I want to bury my head in the sand.

My daughter wants a cell phone. She may not have one. It is not a fiscal issue, it’s a parenting issue. Jane is ten, and although she would love to be 15, she will simply have to wait. End. Of. Story.

Oh, not really, because Jane then explained to me that she’d be willing to accept a telephone in her bedroom. I told her I was okay with that. She wants her own telephone number.


I have to get a ten year old their own phone number? She has a laptop and an iTouch, really? Her own phone number?

I tried to steer the conversation toward using things like ichat and gmail to talk to friends, and the girls immediately started talking about the “lameness” of social networking sites.

“Club Penguin is so stupid that you can’t even enter a number.” Jane began.

“Oh but you can spell them out if you need to.” Ann replied.

Note to self: Check and recheck logs for Club Penguin

The girls then proceeded onto a long discussion about and how they “deal with” people who ask them what their real name is.

Both girls were enthusiastic in knowing that a quick reply like, “can’t you see, my name is Username834.” Lets the other person know that you plan to remain anonymous. Really, how long can a ten year old outsmart an adult? Both girls knew it was imperative to report the user immediately.

I equate the internet with the mall. I’m showing my kids around, and teaching them safe habits. Unlike the mall, they’re needing these skills more than I’d hoped for.

My solution? No cellphone and the kids are on laptops. If I’m in the kitchen, they are too.

Right now, that’s what works. I want to give them some leeway, but we’re just not there yet. The telephone in the bedroom? I’m thinking yes. Perhaps we’ll tie it to school performance, a birthday or even as a bribe to not tell her brother about the tooth fairy.

There’s a lot of push and pull here lately. My kids want to be independent, and it would be cruel of us to not allow them some freedom. We are obligated to keep them safe.

Today I have more questions than answers.