And so now, she is officially 12.One year short of a teenager officially, but definitely there if you believe the marketers and the YMCA, both of which have lumped 12 out of "tween" and into "teen."
Alison is thrilled.
As her mother, I have to say I"m inordinately proud of her. She's funny. She's smart. She's brave. She stands up for her friends. She eats her vegetables. She still hugs her parents. She says thank you without being prompted. And even though she's an only child, she shares without hesitation.
We've done a few things right.
I've had a little wine so I might be a little sentimental.
We ended the weekend with a dinner with just Mom and Dad -- her favorite meal prepared by her father: grilled steak. Creme brule will be her dessert when she's ready.
The wine, by the way, is somewhat medicinal. I needed it to thaw aout after watching Jenna's soccer game in the frigid, if not frozen tundra of some place way the hell west of Broad Ripple.
We had to follow Amer because the place where Jenna plays is so far dep into bumf$#@k Egypt that directions are unable to be translated. Once there, a fine drizzle, two degrees short of sleet began. And the wind. Oh the wind.
We were like penguins on the outer circle of Antarctica during the nesting season. And after we spent about six hours there, Jenna's team lost. The loss was due in large part to some beast named Gabby who hipchecked her way across the field and prompted Alison to ask repeatedly if she could beat her up after. Amer was no help in curbing Alison's antipathy and has now been banished as a role model.
Excerpts from the Jenna and Alison show:
Going into dinner last night at GT South's, a barbeque place, I told Jenna the place was full of pigs.
"Ooh! Are they real?" she squealed.
"Uh. No," I said, pointing to the stuffed, drawn and inked renditions.
"Ah," she said.
On the way home, I muttered out loud my thoughts on the night ahead when I knew they'd dump me to rule supreme on their own in the family room, "I'm going to take a bath."
Signs of disgust from the back seat. "TMI," said Alison. "Why would you say something like that out loud?"
"I have to poop," said Jenna.
"Now THAT's TMI," said the captain.
"I thought we were sharing!" said Jenna.
On the way home from the local produce stand where Alis and Jenna love to get "old timey" soda, Jenna took a swig and had foam go up her nose. This prompted Alison to shake her bottle up so it foamed onto the Monon Trail.
"Look! Science!" she chortled.
On my roller blades, I glided back to remind them that I'd just laid down the cash for the soda.
Listening to their giggles, I decided the investment was worth the yield and skated on.
We'd spent the morning on the kitchen floor -- a long time playground for toddlers Jenna and Ali. Together we must have painted at least a few towns in years past. They've been long past the finger or brush painting now for years. So I was thrilled to open Jenna's gift of tie-dying and to get the artwork out.
Our handiwork is in the dryer now. It turned out pretty well. We'll send Jenna's home in the mornign with the captain to give to Amer. Ali will return a leftover cell phone to a school friend.
All in all, an awesome birthday weekend according to the birthday girl.
Oh damn. I have to remind her to take off her nail polish. Finger nail polish earns you a detention at her school. We talked about whether to risk her getting nailed for the infraction. I was ready to ignore an infraction -- that's a note home to the parents. Two strikes, though, and you get a detention.
"I don't know, Mom. A detention?" she said. "I think I'll just take it off. I took pictures."
Good thing one of us is growing up.