Posted: Aug 21, 2012 3:00 PM
Every mother experiences those moments of, "How did my child get this old?!" Whether it’s a question, an expression, a milestone, it’s always a bittersweet realization that our little ones are no longer quite so little. My daughter is 5.5 years old and starting kindergarten in a mere two weeks. I was already struggling with the idea of abandoning her to the cruel, cruel world for 8 hours a day. Then she one-upped me and grew up way too fast in the space of just one hour this weekend.

Growing up too fast

'Tudes and tears are nothing new to me and I like to think my husband and I handle them in stride with our daughter, running a tight ship and keeping her in line for fear of what today's little 'tudes might turn into in the coming years. And then, of course, we roll our eyes and laugh about it in secret because sometimes it really is cute.

Kiss and tell

This weekend, the cousins were playing together, ranging in age from the youngest -- my kids, 1.5 and 5.5 -- right through 10 years old. They're all good kids so it didn't cross my mind to worry about what was happening behind closed doors until someone broke free, laughing hysterically and announced that my daughter had just kissed one of the boys. I didn't quite experience a major meltdown, but I was this close. I called her over and had a little talk with her about how we don't kiss boys till we're married. Practical advice? Probably not, but a mom can dream. And dad wasn't there so it was a game-time decision! It was the best I could come up with under pressure.

Later, when the smoke streaming from my ears cleared, I realized that at some point I needed to explain that we definitely don't kiss that boy since they're cousins. Come to find out, the oldest two kids were pressuring the younger two to engage in said kiss. And that's not all...

Peer pressure

Apparently peer pressure starts a lot earlier than I thought -- and from some unexpected sources like family members. Later in the same evening, the kids were playing a game and looking at a cell phone one room over.

Speaking of... how old is old enough for a cell phone? Watch now>>

You know those moments where you hear something on the edges of your consciousness and it takes a moment to fully register? Well, that happened, and it wasn't pretty. Turns out the kids were playing with a truth or dare app on the cell phone (not one of mine, and in what world is that an okay app for your 10-year-old to play with?!) and the dare involved instructing another player to remove an article of clothing. To her credit, the 10-year-old was acting shy about it, but come on! Now in the space of just an hour, my sweet little girl had been exposed to the concepts of both kissing and nudity for sport!

So my question to you moms... what do you do?

Obviously kids hit an age where you can't effectively shelter them from everything. So how do you:

  • Deal with the tough questions?
  • Prepare answers about things like sex, nudity, drugs and death?
  • Preserve their innocence just a few moments longer?

growing up too fast collage

I'm heartbroken right now because my little girl has heard things that can't be unheard and done things that can't be undone. And while the kissing thing isn't major today, it's still a threshold I wasn't ready to cross any time soon. With school just two weeks away, the big, bad world is right around the corner and I'm not prepared!

So leave me a comment, offer me some moral support, tell me I'm crazy, tell me I'm not! Are you dealing with the same thing too?