My daughter Sophia turns 11 today.

Even though Sophia looks older than her age, I can still see the little girl inside of her.  She came into this world almost two weeks early and my life changed in an instant. That tiny baby girl was fierce, stubborn and strong-willed. I had a hard time adjusting to parenting a little girl with such a strong personality.  Sophia fought for her independence, control and the right to make her own decisions from a very young age. Her favorite things to say were, “No Mommy” and “I do it by me self!” When she was in kindergarten, she got sent to the principal’s office for punching a boy in her class. Why? Because he said he was stronger than she was.

Birthdays

Every year, I get nostalgic around each of my kids’ birthdays.  Yesterday, I read through several years of old blog posts on Suiresphere (my first blog). Did you know I started out as, dare I say it, a mommy blogger?  I wrote about being a working mother and life with infants and toddlers.  Suiresphere was launched in May 2008, when Sophia was about 21 months old.

At the time, Sophia was my little princess. Always dressed in pink clothes, her blonde curls pulled back with a bow on top of her head. She carried her pink, stuffed bunny wherever she went.  I held her on my lap in the rocking chair each night before bedtime. We would read books, say prayers and I would sing her to sleep.  Having a little girl of my own was what I had always dreamed of, and I wondered what our relationship would look like when she was older.

First Glimpse

I got my first glimpse of the future when Sophia was 3 1/2 years old. At pre-school, she took dance classes in ballet and tap. We bought her tiny black leotards, pink tights and the cutest little ballet slippers.  For the entire year, the class practiced their routines for the recital. However when it came time to order costumes, Sophia told me she was NOT going to dance on stage. I assured her that once she was in her pretty costume on stage with all her friends, she would be fine.

On the day of the recital, I curled her blonde hair, pulled it in a bun and put on the tiniest bit of makeup.  While I was getting her ready, I talked about all the toys, candy, and treats I would get her if she performed her routines.  Trey, his parents, baby Tallen and I all found seat together in the small ballroom of the hotel where the recital was held.  Finally it was time for the recital to begin.  Sophia stood on stage next to the other dancers with their backs to the audience.  The music started, which was their cue to turn around and dance. I watched Sophia turn around, her eyes grew wide with fear as searched for me in the audience.  Then she walked off the side of the stage and straight up to me in the audience.  She climbed on my lap and told me loudly, “I told you I was NOT going to dance on stage!”

More Glimpses

Last week on the cruise, I caught more glimpses of what to expect as Sophia gets older. She never orders off the kids menu at restaurants so she loved the formal dinners on the cruise.  Instead she ordered soup, pasta, seafood and dessert from the adult menu.  She wore dresses, high heels and makeup to dinner each night.  I helped her fix her hair and she borrowed my clothes (and bras) several times during the week.  Her fierce, strong-willed personality got her in trouble several times. But since she gets her stubbornness from me, I tried to accept she is just asserting her independence.

In Between

Right now, she is at the awkward age between little girl and young woman. While she loves to dress up, wear heels and put on makeup, she also still plays with dolls. Sophia borrows my clothes, makeup and books. She loves to listen to music on her headphones while she swings on the play set in the backyard. When I travel for work, she gets annoyed because I will not be home to cook her a hot meal.  When I go to a coffee shop, I have to order her own iced latte because she hates to share (like me).

Sophia is not interested in boys yet, although I think that will happen sooner than I expect.  However, she has insisted for the last 5 years that she never plans to get married  and will adopt her own kids. Sophia goes on sushi and movie dates with her daddy but still sleeps with her pink bunny and blanket.  She cried when her fish died. Even though she needs to, she refuses to learn how the shave (under her arms or her legs).  She bites her nails but wishes she could stop.

Sophia hugs her brother when no one is looking and will stick up for him around other kids.  Comparing herself to me is something she does constantly, but in a good way.  Sophia loves that we are both foodies and love to read.  She plays piano, guitar and has a beautiful voice. She loves to dance but she still refuses to dance on stage. Sophia still hugs me every day, gives Harley goodnight kisses and sleeps with her bunny.

She may be getting older but Sophia is still my little girl.

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