Ocean’s Seven (and a half)

It hasn’t been an easy summer for my oldest and I.

Somewhere between the relative structure of the school year and the “hazy/lazy days of summer”, Belly and I have started to clash more and more. At only seven-and-a-half, she can sure act like a hormonal 15 year old, complete with eye-rolling groans, hand-on-hip glare and sassy attitude. It is all I can do to not shout: “you watch your step, missy, or you can go live with that no-good boyfriend of yours!”

Oh, wait, she’s only seven.

Today, we went to the beach with some friends. It was a perfect beach day: clear blue water shining under a bright sky, rolling waves crashing to shore and rushing up the sand, and a constant wind coming up off the water. D screamed every time the waves rushed for his feet as he scrambled for dry sand. Jilly sat and dug in the sand, covering herself with it before running toward the water to clean off.

Belly, my oldest, stayed with the waves.

At one point, we were not far apart but she was inching in deeper and deeper. The water rose to her chest before I warned her not to go too deep because she was still learning to swim and the undertow was strong and wah, wah, wah, wah (cue Peanuts’ parent voice).

She gave me that, “Oh MOTHER!” look and kept going until a wave broke over her head and knocked her off her feet. She came up sputtering, looked quickly for me and, seeing my advancing hand outstretched to her, happily grabbed it and let me pull her close. For a few minutes, she was tangled up in my arms as we bobbed in the surf. I felt her legs, the ones that used to dangle just a few inches off my hip, wrapped completely around my waist. Her arms, the ones that once could barely reach around me neck, hung down over my shoulders.

She is no longer a baby, but she needs me; that I know. And, although I know the struggles we have are not gone by a long shot, I will try to remember that look on her face after the wave knocked her down and she came up to see my arms there, stretched out and waiting for her.


  1. That must have been a scary moment. It’s a bunch of mixed emotions to see how fast they are growing up.

  2. Alpha DogMa says

    Where do they learn that attitude? I got the eye roll today from my 6 y.o. I was grinding my molars together to keep from cussing.

  3. Are you sure your 7.5 year old isn’t channeling my 7.5 year old? They sound awfully alike…

    I’m glad you were there to catch her today as she was reminded that moms do sometimes know best.

  4. They grow up so fast. There are days I feel like I blinked and my life skipped ahead..
    I bet she will always remember your arms saving her too.

  5. Does she stomp? My 5.5 is into the stomping phase. Whatever sets her attitude off apparently sets off 100 extra pounds in her legs because it sounds like an elephant in our house as she makes her way to whatever room I’m not in.

    We had a similar story in the pool on vacation. She thought since she could swim with arm floaties that when she took them off she’d be ready for the Olympics and not sink like a rock. My arms picked her up once I realized she didn’t know she could stand up and that terrified, yet very relieved look was on her face. Don’t worry – Mom’s got ya covered.

  6. It’s hard for me to imagine now, but I know that someday I will miss Lucas yelling “Hug me!” when he’s freaked out. sigh.

  7. Trenches of Mommyhood says

    Lovely post.

  8. Jed calls that ocean incident “going through the spin cycle” or “the washing machine.” Annabel knows it well. She also knows about the hormonal ranges of teen angst and she’s 4.

    Sigh. I never thought this stuff would be so hard.

  9. katesaid says

    My just-turned-8-year-old is on the same wavelength. I don’t, exactly, want her to remain a baby forever, but I do try to relish those moments of accepting-help when they happen, since I suspect we’re tiptoeing (or, you know, stomping and slamming doors, whatever) into a decade or so of absolute help-refusal.


  10. This made me laugh and then get chokey at the end (having blogged just a few days ago about a water moment myself). Thanks. I have 2 yrs to go until 7 and a half… and I can see it rolling down the track at me.

  11. AnotherMomCreation says

    7 year old girls have hormones that start fluctuating. I know crazy huh? Puberty will start for real in a couple years and before that you’ll notice a cycle forming. I just starting charting 7’s moods. I’ll let you know what I see…

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