I am the parent of a tween. Apparently a tween is aged 9-12, and I am the parent of one. Um, holy crap. A tween. A girl tween. Hold me. Or send me a padded room (for me, not her).
A tween isn’t a little girl anymore. But a tween isn’t a big girl either. So she’s stuck in the middle, too big for little girl things, and not quite big enough for big girl things. Which puts us in the position of trying to make the best decision for her so that she doesn’t feel like we’re treating her like a baby and also that we aren’t expecting too much out of a 9 year old.
Case in point: softball and hockey. She has played minor league softball for 2 years, which makes her quite the veteran. She misses the cutoff to try out for major league softball by one month. We’ve asked the VP of softball for our league to see if she can get a waiver to at least try out for majors and are waiting on an answer. Now normally we wouldn’t even have questioned the decision, but the kid is a good player. She needs to be with older kids that have the experience and can make her an even better player. To stay in minors with first year players (who are 7) could potentially discourage her from playing. We’ll see how that all plays out.
Hockey is another story. This weekend is her final weekend as a Mite, and next year we have two choices for her: Squirts (with boys like she’s always done) and all girls (from ages 9-14). After Squirts, she needs to play on the all girl team as I don’t believe that girls are allowed to play PeeWee, where they teach checking (in ice hockey, girls do NOT check as it’s not allowed under the rules). In this case, we are totally unsure where to place her in the fall. At first, we (ok, I) really wanted to put her on the girls team since she’d eventually end up there if she continued playing. But as I’ve thought more about it, I’m leaning toward making her a Squirt for the next two years, and it has (almost) nothing to do with gender, but more to do with age. Squirts are all 9 and 10 years old. She’ll be with her peers, even if some of them are much better than she is, and some aren’t as good. I worry that putting her on the all girl team could put undue pressure on her to be as good as the 14 year olds. I also worry because quite frankly, girls are mean, and putting a 9 year old with much older girls could be potentially more stressful than we’d like. We’ve asked Meg what she’d like to do and she’s unsure at this time. At least we have some time to figure it all out.
I figure if I survive parenting one tween I’ll be golden when I have to do it all over again with the twins. Either that, or I’ll have gone completely over the edge trying to figure out what’s the best thing to do for Meg and the girls will have to fend for themselves.