Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Girl Turns 11

My daughter turns 11 today. Not too long ago, she was this screaming, chubby, kissable, new baby I got to cradle after a 16-hour labour. And I was this clueless, idealistic, fat, new mother who just wanted wanted sleep. As cliched as it may sound, in a blink of an eye, she has all grown up.

Sigh ... Tweens. The new Teens. You have to handle them with care and caution. You have to flit between being Mother and BFF. You have to stay updated with what's current, and that means watching NigaHiga and Community Channel together with her. And explaining all the vulgar language and sexual innuendos in them. Because if you don't, she's going to hear the wrong version from her schoolmates. Or worse, repeat them because she didn't know better.

You have to add her as Friend on Facebook, and set up a Pet Society account against your will, so that she can use your Pet to get more stuff for her Pet. And then, you have to feed those Petlings for her, with your Coins.

You get familiar with angsty numbers by Avril Lavigne and emo ones by Miley Cyrus, because she blasts them on Youtube the moment her computer privileges come into effect on weekends.

But such is life in the new millenium. In the digital age, children grow up so quickly. It's not necessarily a bad thing ... but it sure is challenging.

You just have to grow with them.

Which brings me to my greatest fear - the Generation Gap. Heaven forbid, I don't want to be a mother who doesn't geddit. I want my children to feel comfortable telling me stuff. And that means being part of their world from Day 1 because bonds are not forged overnight.

By a stroke of luck, I managed to get my parenting skills checked two days ago, at the baking supplies store. My girl and I were bantering away as we walked around, and when I looked up, the store manager and I made eye contact.

"I am guessing she is not your daughter," he said confidently, with a smile.

"What makes you say that?" I countered.

"Well, you don't talk like a mother would to a child. I heard the both of you talking. You're giving her a lot of options, and you're constantly asking her what she thinks. Parents don't talk to their children like that. At least, I don't. My son has to do what I say," he explained.

I laughed ... a little too hard perhaps, but only because I felt terribly relieved.

"Oh, believe me. She IS my daughter!" I replied. "And you have no idea how happy you've just made me!"

With that random encounter as a small confidence booster, I continue on my parenting journey ... this time with some assurance that perhaps, I have been walking along the right path, after all. Well, we'll see. When I'm 60 and if she still wants to hang out with me, I know I must have done something right along the way. ;)

To my daughter, my first born:
Wishing you a happy, blessed birthday!
May you have wisdom.
May you have health.
May you be all the things you aspire to be, and more.
Above all, may you always be happy.

How did we celebrate? Stay tuned ...


  1. thisgoodhearth.blogspot.comMarch 31, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    I have two daughters, all grown up now. I brought them up quite like you have but I have to tell you that I can say anything, do anythng with my eldest. My youngest is entirely different. Daughter number 1 has plans to jet off with me to explore Europe whilst Daughter number 2 is more involved with her own family.
    I guess, one out of two ain't bad.

  2. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

  3. I love this post:)♥ Look at her joy..I must send you a photo of my 33 yr old in quite similar a pose this November:)

    Your daughter is very very fortunate to have an open minded mom like you.
    I was certain that the store person thought you looked way too young to have an 11 year old..But then the rest of the story came..

    I look forward to part 2..

    You will be doing restaurant reviews together when you are 60..having fun.. enjoying each others company more than anyone elses in the world.
    They are our BFF.♥
    Thank you for this sweet "Partage"~

    Happy Birthday to your Princess~(She's got GREAT hair!)

  4. Happy birthday to your daughter!!!!

  5. Oggi è il compleanno di tua figlia? Tanti auguri e un bacione daparte mia. vi abbraccio Daniela.

  6. My little boy has just turned 18months He's growing up so fast - and time is just running away. Each day brings new word,s new experiences and more life skills. More cheekiness too

    Wish your daughter a very Happy Birthday. I wish for you that she does not grow up too fast...

  7. That is so sweet and I can't believe that your daughter is 11! that is really amazing and it is good to give options. Everyone needs to have their own opionion and make own decisions :)

  8. Congratulations and Happy Birthday !!

    Yes, the time goes by too fast.

  9. Happy Birthday to your daughter! Ju, you remind me of all my tough days with my girls.....normal :D I couldn't smile when the goings got tough but now when I look back I thought it amusing and wonder how I survived...haha. They still enjoy getting on my nerves though :( Ju, you are amazing and doing great. Parenting is tough but very honourable!

  10. Happy birthday to your lovely daughter!! :)

  11. Happy Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl...
    and Happy born day to you Ju...I have tears in my eyes reading this...because it does go by so quickly.
    It flies by and you wonder where did the time go...
    Drink in every second of her...actually I know you already do!

  12. Happy 11th Birthday, Ju's Daughter. You have a great mummy indeed! I don't remember my mummy being like that when I was young, she's always saying 'Because I said so!' when you ask her why!!! Now, how annoying is that? Options? No way!

  13. Happy Birthday to your precious daughter! It is SO true what you have written.
    My girl is 17 now, and inspite of my best will we went through some rocky stages in her teenage years. But I think we were SO close she had to make a break to be her own person. Things are great again now, and it is so amazing to see my tiny pink baby becoming such a wonderful woman!
    All my very best wishes and congratulations to you!

  14. Hi! Ju, it's me again yes you are right communication between parents and kids are very important. I myself also had daughters of 11 & 10 too. So my life is quite challenging too, in one of yr post you mentioned about bedok market my guess that you are residing in the east right? I am also staying in the east.
    Christina Poh

  15. That was such a sweet read. I like it that you give yr Little Ju options n ask for her opinion. It helps to develop thinking skills. You're must be real proud of yourself! ^^

  16. A very touching post...

    Happy Bday to your gal.

    Waiting for your post to be continued...

    : )

  17. Has it been eleven years? I still remember the first birthday party.

    Time really flies.

  18. Happy Birthday to your daughter, view from the back, your daughter is look exactly like you, slim and pretty girl, you are lucky to have her..

  19. happy birthday to your daughter! so sweet of you :)

  20. Ju

    This post really hit home with me; i wish your daughter a great birthday and I wish you to be spared the horrors of teenage years ! In the end though it will still be gratifying! I have a great relationship with my son who is 20 and on his own but it was horrible when he was 14!

  21. Oh Ju I really enjoy reading the post, happy birthday to the tween :)

  22. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

    I shared the same feeling as you about firstborn. Everytime I look at my eldest daughter, I cannot believe she had grown up so fast. The cute little bundle of joy is so tall and chubby (she was very thin when she was a baby) now. Wheneve I looked at her, it reminded me of myself, like looking into a mirror.

    Communicating with her is a challenge and I hope I can be more like you, esp on how to communicate with her.

  23. Amy @ cookbookmaniacMarch 31, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Happy birthday to the sweet 11 year old who is lucky to have a mother like you.

  24. Happy birthday to your not-so-little one! Hehe :D I hope that your relationship with her will remain tight and that she'll always turn to you for a BFF :)

  25. From the way you write, you should be doing pretty well with them. Imagining one minute they are so tiny and the next minute they are your pals already. All we can do is enjoy the long journey ahead.

    Happy Birthday to your little girl !

  26. Hi... Happy Birthday to your Girl!!! After reading your write up. I feel so touch. I can feel the effort that you have put to build those wonderful precious time/relationship with your daughter. I have a son who is going to primary 1 next year. And every nite before bedtime, he will hug me and tell me that he don't want to grow up, he want to be a little baby so that I can hug him to sleep..........

    Sometime seeing the kids growing up day by day makes mother like me so confuse on whether to let go or not to........

  27. Ah Ju! Happy birthday to your not so little anymore daughter. I am sure she will grow up to be a wonderful person because her mother is a wonderful person! You must be the coolest Mom I know! Even if you look to young to have an 11 year old!

  28. Happy Belated birthday to your daughter. She is indeed very fortunate to have you as her mother.

  29. Happy Bday to your daughter! And wow, you are such a cool mum! :)

  30. Happy birthday to your daughter, Ju! You've shown us all what a great mum you are... Your kids get to eat all of the delicious food you make! :D Can't wait to see how you guys celebrated!

  31. What a sweet post! Happy birthday to your gal...

  32. Happy Belated Birthday to your daughter! I can imagine raising a child ain't an easy task ... not to mention children! Kudos to you!

    Ha ... That's made me wonder will I ever want a child ... because it does really sound challenging!

  33. happy birthday to your daughter, she seems like a beautiful girl :)

    have faith that you're doing the right thing, every parent-child relationship is unique in its own way, but the best advice i can give you, from a post teenage years daughter's perspective, is to ALWAYS LISTEN, try your best to understand how she feels, and just be there for her. dont judge her actions or choices, but try to always be her best friend, confidant, and caring, wise mommy.

    i hope your daughter, in ten years time, will love you as much as i love my beautiful mother today.

  34. Happy birthday to your daughter! I can't believe you're old enough to have an 11-year-old. You look amazing!

  35. This was so sweet to read! Than you for sharing and happy birthday to your daughter.

  36. Ju,
    Happy Belated Birthday to your lovely daughter. May she be blessed with many more happy years with your family. You're a great mom. As she grows more mature, she'll be your best friend too.

  37. Happy Birthday to your "little" girl, Ju! Two thumbs up - I have the same philosophy as you - keep the generation gap away, always try to understand and appreciate the frequency the kids think and talk in, no matter how different they may become. Letting the disparity grow is just so much worse....

    To everybody: Ju's birthday is in 4 week's time! Heeheehee... ;)

  38. Happy birthday to your daughter!

  39. I'm late! Happy Belated Birthday to your girl :)

  40. Happy birthday to your gorgeous daughter!!

  41. Happy belated birthday to you girl. I do wish I do geddit with my daughter when she turns 11!

  42. It's nice to hear from parents that they want to "keep up" with their children. See what a good Mom you are!

  43. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter Ju!
    This is such a great post. Warmed my heart =) That really is awesome affirmation that you are a wonderful mother!