Writing to “Ten”

Yesterday was a rough day in Caitlyn-land. I don’t know all the details but apparently her school day was frustrating, her playdate didn’t go quite as planned, and dinner wasn’t her favorite.

Lately, she’s been exploring note-writing as a way of expressing her feelings. It helps her put her feelings into words in a less-pressured circumstance than a conversation and it allows her a way of getting the feelings out that’s more constructive than acting out or breaking things.

It’s kinda weird, though, to be asked how to spell “really”, “there”, “smoke”, “head”, and “patience” and then to find a note at my space at the dining room table using all those words.

I thought about posting her note, but that seems potentially invasive to Caitlyn. So I’ll just say that she used lined paper (but wrote on it sideways), spelled everything correctly, used a capital letter to start, remembered her apostrophes and commas, and included the period at the end.

I’m ridiculously pleased.

Upon finding the note (taped to my placemat with roughly three feet of tape), I found Caitlyn and gave her a hug. Of course, I then ruined things by suggesting we talk about the note, which brought the pressure of actual conversation and polite behavior back into things.

Maybe next time (because I’m sure there will be a Next Time) I should write a note in response. Perhaps our more heated conversations could be more productive if we filtered them through a pen.


  1. We've had a few conversations about polite behaviour in our house recently too! I think there is a 'testing boundaries' phase going on, at least I hope it's a phase! Currently she's banned from the computer for being completely beyond the pale. I think notes are a great way to express your frustrations, I might suggest it to Hazel next time, although I doubt I'll get correct punctuation! She's great at school when she's thinking about it, but reverts to free-form when writing at home 🙂

    1. Maybe it has something to do with being 7? The scary thing is that when we're done with the testing "Did my mom really mean it when she said not to put more cinnamon on my apples?" phase, we get to move on to the "Did my mom really mean it when she said I couldn't wear makeup to school/wear this skirt/go to the mall after school/take the car?" If I had a dollar for every time people looked at Caitlyn and then looked at me and said, "You are in so much trouble when she's twelve/a teenager!" I could keep myself in fabric for years!

  2. I think that this is a great way to express emotionally difficult topics. I even do this sometimes in my relationship because I feel that he is better with words and therefore is sort of in advantage. It might be that Caitlyn feels similar when talking with you. Answering her in the same manner might give her the feeling that you take her seriously. It's also nice to give her a "love letter" every now and then to show her your love, because there will be the time when it is uncomfortable to hear your mum say "I love you" to you.
    I hope I could make my point clear since I do a lot more grammar and spelling mistakes than your daughter 😉

    1. Jenny, your English is fine. I've got neighbors whose grasp on English is more slippery than yours!

      I'm going to try to remember the note-writing as a way of communicating, especially in heated situations. And the love-note idea is a great one – Thanks!

  3. People love to give dire warnings about what will happen when your delightful (if headstrong) child becomes a teenager. Personally, I loved the teen years as much as any developmental phase and I actually miss having teenagers around. There are challenges at every stage; the teen years are no different. You are doing the hard work now that builds the foundation to keep communication open and most important of all, you are there and are paying attention. Lucky Caitlyn!

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