I’m torn.

It’s hard to pick what to post about first in the new year. I reread my last post (holiday photoshoot) and felt that I sounded irritated and crabby and I don’t want to start 2010 with that tone.

I’d like to write a bit about Bella, I think, because as my mother-in-law gently reminded me recently, Bella is a good kid – one who already is pretty hard on herself – and while I am navigating the tempestuous emotions of her teen years, I sometimes lose sight of that. I want to direct some energy into remembering all the things I love about my girl and how much closer we’ve grown just recently.

My sweetie girl at sixteen.

Being  mother to a teenage girl is hard, and part of that difficulty, is that while Bella stretches and reaches towards adulthood, her feet are kicking me and her childhood away. And it feels like sometimes, dirt and pebbles are raining down into my face. Yeah, it hurts that much – it’s that uncomfortable – and it’s why you can (surely) hear my screeching two apartments over.

And while we squabble often and loudly – I have noticed a few things that make me wonder if we’re nearing some kind of adulthood maturity, or at least past some of the rougher teenage rebellion hurtles.

For one, her palate is changing. Suddenly she loves my chicken salad (home roasted chicken, organic greens, diced apple, raisins, pecans, shredded carrots, cucumber – what’s not to like?) and homemade whole wheat bread. She has even strutted in to tell me proudly that she reduced the amount of sugar the banana bread recipe (from Starbuck’s, granted) called for. This from a girl who has always bemoaned my reduced sugar and whole wheat treats as “brown bread.” Even my chocolate chip cookies, she would dismiss as “brown bread.” She’s the  kid who rejected whole wheat so vehemently that I bought her white bread and bologna for her school sandwiches! Yet, she made brownies from the box this week and told me later that she’d added applesauce instead of oil.

!!

I raised an eyebrow and asked if that was a suggestion on the box. She shrugged and said, “No, but my dad’s always telling me I can do that.”

I know part of the food thing is a growing awareness of wanting to stay slim (she is), but I like to think that it’s a growing awareness of health too. She’s requested that I bake bread regularly.

Taken in Yucca Valley over Thanksgiving.

And past her palate, Bella just wants more hugs and kisses now. And laughed the other day when Christian ran over to try and pry Bella’s arms off HIS mama. I said, “Hey, Bella’s my baby too”  and chuckled to see the understanding bloom on his little face. He grinned and tried to climb into my lap too. Bella is finally warming up to her little bro too.

She even deigned to say that she had a great Christmas – and all we did was stay home and cook together as a family. She even came up to me the next day and THANKED me for helping her get such great gifts (my sibs and parents sent Christmas money and asked me to do some shopping for them).

I love my girl. It was fun bumping into her a million times in my little kitchen on Christmas Day.

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