9 Reasons Why 9 Is Going To Be The Best Age

I’m going to preface this by saying that every age seems to be the best age – especially with your first child. Every time my oldest has a birthday, I quietly wish that time would stop. I don’t want her to get any older, this year was the best age ever – I think to myself. And every year, it seems to only get better.

Best Age

Yes, the level of sass seems to grow faster than her feet. But with the added sass comes so many other wonderful qualities in my daughter. Here are 9 reasons why I think this new age – the age of 9 – is going the best age (yet):

1) Goodbye booster seat! One less piece of equipment taking up space in my car. No more worrying about carrying along a booster when taking cabs or planes or riding with friends. One down, two to go!

2) Still mom’s biggest fan. She may be too cool to kiss me goodbye at school, but she still looks up to me and values my opinion. She loves spending mother-daughter time together and openly looks up to me. I’m going to soak it up while I can cause I know this one will fade as she becomes a preteen.

3) She’s developing her own personality. She’s funny, creative and kind. She’s at an age where she does what she wants – and thankfully (so far), she makes the right decisions.

4) We can hang out. Like, for real. We can go out for lunch, go for pedis, or enjoy a day of shopping, and I don’t have to worry about bringing a diaper bag full of tricks, interfering with nap times or competing with friends. She loves hanging out with me, and I cherish every moment we spend together.

5) She listens (well, most of the time). When I give her advice, she listens. She trusts my instincts, opinions and experiences, and values my input.

6) She tells me her secrets. It does take a little prying sometimes, but I’m doing my best to establish a trusting relationship with my daughter. It can sometimes take a lot of work, but I know establishing trust is vital as she approaches her teen years.

7)  She’s becoming her own individual person. When they’re younger we decide how they dress. We often create miniature versions of ourselves, dressing them up in clothes we love. But now that she’s older with her own personality, she’s developing her own style (with my gentle guidance of course).

8) She has her own interests. Until now, I’ve taken the lead on the selection of her extracurricular activities (with her input on new things she’d like to try). This year, I’m shifting gears. I think she’s now tried enough of a variety of activities so I’m letting her take the lead in making the picks for next year.

9) She still believes. While she’s proven to be her own person, she still maintains that childhood innocence – and this may be the last year. She still believes in the tooth fairy and Santa, but she asks a lot of questions. I fear for the moment that she realizes the truth, and savour the moments of magic while they’re still here.

In My Daughter’s Shoes

I have vivid memories of what it was like to be 8. I can still remember how it felt to curl my tongue into the gaps of my missing teeth. I remember suddenly feeling butterflies in the pit of my stomach while talking to a boy in my class that I had known for years, unsure of why I was having those funny feelings. I remember feeling self-conscious about my knobby knees, and I can still remember conversations that I had with my best friend.

My oldest daughter is now 8, and I can’t believe that I’m the parent of an 8 year old. Now that she’s at an age that I can remember, parenting somehow feels a bit different to me. My daughter is developing her own personality, experiencing feelings and emotions that I can remember feeling, and I feel more confident as a mother – because I once walked in my daughter’s shoes.

Sure her experiences as an 8-year-old are different than mine were, but I’m hoping that I can help her to navigate through the confusing, exciting, overwhelming, challenging waters as she transitions from child to tween.

mother daughter

The challenge though, is that as she matures, I feel as though my status as “mom” in her eyes is maturing as well. I feel like I’m slowly moving from mom-with-an-enthusiastic-exclamation-mark, to mom-with-a-sarcastic-eye-roll, and I know that it’ll only get more difficult as she moves towards her teen years.

I can still remember suddenly feeling a tinge of embarrassment when my mom kissed me goodbye in front of my friends at school. I can remember rolling my eyes when my mom interrupted my friends and I during a play date, and I can remember crying in my pillow, convinced that my mom was ruining my life because I couldn’t watch TV until my homework was complete.

But I also remember feeling confused about my feelings towards my mom. I remember feeling guilty when I pulled away as she leaned in to give me a kiss, or rolled my eyes, not completely understanding why I was suddenly being so mean to the woman who I looked up to the most. I was suddenly annoyed by my hero – my best friend, and I didn’t understand why.

I’m learning that it’s important to give my daughter the space that she needs to mature. I need to be more conscious of how I speak to her and act around her in the presence of her friends, and most importantly, I’m realizing that it’s more important now than ever to establish a trusting relationship with her that goes beyond the because-I-told-you-so status of mom.

I’m doing my best to teach her that it’s alright to be honest with me about her feelings, even if it means that mine might get hurt. I hope that I’m doing it right, and that I don’t forget that I was once in her shoes, and that my mother was once in mine.