No matter her age, there are things you dread hearing out of your growing daughter's mouth. When she is young, there are so many.
* Where was I not supposed to use the Sharpie again?
* It's stuck in my nose (which I guess is preferable to other orifices).
* "Shh. We can do it before they wake up!"
* What's lice?
Or sometimes, even more frightening than words out of a young child's mouth, is silence...
Then almost overnight, or at least it seems, she's a young lady. "Stop it, that tickles!" becomes "Stop it, that's embarrassing!" From that point on, those phrases you do not want to hear take on a totally different meaning.
* I am heartbroken.
* I failed.
* I hate you.
* I'm pregnant (way sooner than I want to be).
* I'm not enough.
Thankfully, or at least hopefully, these are all things from which she can learn, heal or grow. In fact, as difficult as they may be to hear, there are important life lessons that come with each.
There are, however, those pesky statements or questions to which I never know how to respond, such as:
* You mean chicken comes from a REAL CHICKEN?
I knew it was coming. She's too intelligent, too perceptive not to pick up on this simple (yet complicated) concept. And from the look of sheer disgust on her face, I knew exactly what she was thinking.
I have considered being a vegetarian many times in my life. (Watch the PBS Frontline special "The Trouble With Chicken" and I guarantee you will do the same.) I'm not sure if it is my incredibly anemic body, the joy of being a carnivore or just plain laziness that has kept me from trying out the lifestyle. But, this isn't about me.
My daughter is seven and I believe that if she knew what vegetarianism is, she'd want it more than she wants that $200 set of Legos. The thing is, she is old enough to want nice Legos. I don't think she is old enough to decide to become a vegetarian.
I love the way her mind works. I love the young "woman" she is becoming. I just don't love the fear (mine, not hers) that comes along with it.
I want my children to be free-thinkers... progressive... adventurers. I really do. I just want them to do it on my terms for a bit longer.
So, I guess I'll add one more point to this list of things a parent doesn't want to hear. This one is for my own benefit.
* You can't always get what you want.