How do you know your little girl is growing up? Her birthday wish list includes both Littlest Pet Shop toys and a Magic Bullet. (Get your minds out of the gutter. It's a blender thingie. The kid loves to cook.) She is clearly not quite ready to leave childhood behind (thank heaven) but she's not a little kid anymore either. I am much too young to have a child her age. Would anyone believe I had her when I was 10? 12? 14? Didn't think so.
So what is eleven now? They are famously called "tweens." I think this term was made up long after I was eleven. I don't remember getting a pass on my attitude because I was a tween. I was told to "act your age" without acknowledgment of the irony inherent in the fact that I was doing that very thing. Eleven now means the youngest in middle school. Eleven then meant king of the heap in elementary school. Eleven now means a heightened sense of fashion and a great desire to try make-up. Eleven then meant the same thing (well, for the girlie girls like my daughter it did, oddly nerdy, sporty girls like me were a whole different ball of wax, but I digress) but the make-up looked like Tammy Faye Baker. Eleven then meant the start of girl dramas, occasional nastiness, and a burgeoning awareness of boys. Man, I hope eleven now doesn't mean the same thing!
Seems like eleven these days isn't really all that different from eleven so many years ago (fewer years than you're thinking--remember, I was a child bride). We think it's so different because of the changes in the world and in technology, but really, eleven is still just poised on the cusp of the metamorphosis that will result in the adult she will be. She's not clomping around in high heels that are too big for her, a purple feather boa wrapped loosely around the neck of her footie pajamas, with cheap plastic neon earrings clipped to tiny earlobes anymore but she hasn't quite grown into my shoes yet. And she's got years before she needs to do that. After all, I didn't wear heels until I was well over 30.
Her presents will show the strange mix of girl-child and young lady that she is. No, no Magic Bullet but I suspect that'll show up under the Christmas tree (and really, I would have gotten it had Walmart not been out of them today--and Amazon and eBay don't have a ship in less than 5 hours option for procrastinating parents). I admit I did get her mostly toy/kid stuff because I'm not quite ready for her to move on from childhood, although I think I'll also spring for the Facebook page she wants. I do think she only wants to play the silly games on it. (Does eleven now include slyly snowing your parents?) The day she friends a boy not her daddy though, we'll have to delete it.