Fly little bird, fly...

I know I talk about how hard we work with Sydney, so today, I want to brag a little bit about her.

When Sydney came to us, she couldn't be trusted. It's not a nice thing to say about someone, but it's the truth. So, she got no unsupervised time. She was with an adult every minute of every day. And, when she was with us, it was like she lived under a microscope. We were no fools. Untrustworthy behavior had to be changed right off the bat. Okay, second off the bat. First I had to break her of saying "freaking" in every sentence, but that's another conversation.

Rob had his own schpiel but mine was "When you're 16 and want to drive my car, you're going to want me to trust you. You are building that trust with what you do every day, including today."

We went through all the normal untrustworthy behavior that all parents go through, plus some. And, we persevered.

This year, she's been allowed to come home from school and stay at home alone until we get home. She has chores or homework. She can have a snack. She can play with her dog. She cannot let friends in the house. She cannot go anywhere. She can't go outside except to the back yard. And, she has to let the neighbors know she's home.

She may lose this priviledge, but for right now, she's got it.

Our next trusting step was our anniversary this year. For the first time, we left her at home alone and we went out to dinner. Rob was totally surprised when I suggested it. Sydney didn't believe me and dressed for dinner and put her shoes on. I think they were both thrown a little bit when I got ready to go and hugged her good bye. I don't think either of them thought I was serious. But, I was. We deserved a night on our own without the stress of finding an adult sitter for a 13 year old.

She did okay, but she complained about us leaving her home to starve while we went to one of our family's favorite restaurants for celebrations.

Today, she's taking a second step. She's being allowed to go to the local mall with her girl's choir group for lunch and some shopping. The girls will pair off and be allowed to roam the mall without adult supervision. (If I had no other reasons to avoid the mall today, like work, 70 unsupervised 13 year old girls would be good enough.)

I'm sure she'll do fine. I gave her enough cash to keep her from being tempted to shoplift and she's big enough to fight off any attacker. We've instilled responsibility and consequences and at least a modicum of how to behave in public. I think she's plenty smart enough to know that there's nothing she might get away with that would be worth what she'd lose when we found out. And, she knows we always find out.

So, today, she gets to fly. All on her own...well, more on her own than we've let her fly up till now. And, while we both know that she'll be fine, I'm sure that Rob and I will both relax a little bit at about 3pm when we know it's over and we haven't gotten a call from the choir teacher.

Take care and have a great Friday. I have a list of things that have to be done and a list of things I want to do this weekend. If I get to half of it, I'll be happy. And, Sydney is going to sew. I'm tired of having her quilt on my design wall. It's time to finish. She'll grumble because she's 13 and that's what 13 year olds do. And, we'll have fun. We always do as soon as she realizes no one is listening to the grumbling anyway, so she may as well stop.



Becky said...

Awwwww! I hope Sydney has a spectacular day! I can't wait to see her quilt! She's a purple lover like me! Have a fun weekend. Love ya!

Michelle said...

I can't wait to hear how her day went...and yours too!

Coloradolady said...

Good for her....and you too!! I have to admit that this story sure brought back memories for me...so I will throw this out there, and in passing you might want to say something to Sydney at some point....just give her a heads up.

My daughter was afforded the same type of outing in school, she went to a christian school and in high school, I think it was the choir that went to the mall. Like you, my daughter had enough cash, I made sure of that. Well, one of the girls that was with my daughters group shoplifted a pair of panties from Victorias secret. She did not get caughtby the store, but the girls told the teacher, and my daughter told me when she got home what had happened. She was shocked by all accounts that this "friend" would do such a thing.

It is so horrible that we have to warn our kids that no matter they might not do something, if someone they are with decides to do it, well, they are and could be by the law guilty by association. I had never thought about this until after this happened.....really is alarming. So....save yourself a little worry and put that in Sydney's bonnet to file away.

Don't mean to give you another worry, so it is really a heads up!! Have a great weekend.....I have a list too, hope I make a dent in it!!

Shay said...

One of the things that always impresses me about your parenting stories is the way you think things through.

I'm sure she'll do brilliantly , will have a great day and you guys can start thinking about the next step. She'll do fine because she's surrounded by great people including two people who love her enough to set limits.

Hazel said...

How did Sydney's trip to the mall go???She's growing up so fast as any parent of a teenager will tell you ,you will have bad days but there is so many more good ones .Give her a hug and tell her how much you love her ,thats all most teenagers want.Your a great parent ( oh but you need to return her curling iron LOL )coming from a gal who uses one twice a day LOL

Andra Gayle said...

I think your 13 year old and my almost 13 year old must be twins.

Cynthia L. said...

It is so hard to let your babies "fly." I don't think it ever gets easier. Sydney knows she is loved and that you stick to your rules. She will be fine. I can't wait to see how her day went. I remember my daughter felt so grown up when she and a friend were allowed to wander the mall without an adult breathing down their necks! I am proud of you and Rob for letting go, even if it is little by little!

Coloradolady said...

How did it go at the mall??? Come on Lane....share!!!

Anonymous said...

I always told my teen girls that I will trust them until they give me reason not to....then they'd have to earn my trust which wasn't easy. Of course I'd instilled as much teaching into them as I could while they were growing. Surprisingly now that they are almost grown they've told me that they never wanted to loose my trust. I have an awesome relationship with my girls now.
Yes they made mistakes and had to re-earn trust at times, but thats life. I've really tried hard to look at parenting as preparing our children to become strong, independent adults who make a positive addition to society...so far so good!
Parenting sure isn't for sissies is it :)