Twaddlers and Tweefos and Tweens... oh my!

It's really happening, Mama!

She's changing right before your eyes. The little girl that used to run around with hair all fuzzy from somersaults and a Pull-Up all squishy from--well, we won’t go there-- but your little princess is turning into a young woman!

Gone are the pudgy little legs that used to run with abandon. Chubby cheeks have been replaced by a softly sculpted jaw line and cheekbones. The round little tummy you used to blow raspberries onto is giving way to a waistline and…could it be?... lovely lady lumps are starting to pop out in all those special places! Yes, that sweet girl-child of yours is growing up. Not a baby anymore. Not quite a teenager. She's a pre-teen. A tween. It's a delicate time, mom.

You remember what it was like. Or maybe not. This whole tween thing is a relatively recent concept. It used to be that a kid was a kid, and an adult was an adult. Your mom got your clothes in the kiddie section or in the women's section. You watched Bugs Bunny after school or you watched Luke and Laura. End of story. But now, in the age of finely-tuned segmented marketing, 8-to-12 year olds have a world all unto themselves. Not only do they have their own clothing section, but they've got their own stores. Not to mention their own TV channels, radio stations and magazines. Heck, they've got their own deodorant. (Which is a crock because stink is stink. Try keeping tween soccer-funk under wraps with some Teen Spirit.)

It all comes down to business and marketing. Why should marketers settle for making millions of dollars selling stuff to one giant chunk of kids when they can split 'em up and make billions on a bunch of little chunks? "Twaddlers" are no longer infants, but not quite toddlers (there’s three multi-million-dollar chunks right there). "Tweens" are no longer little kids, but not yet teenagers (three more chunks…cha-ching!). I guess that makes me a "Tweefo" (no longer 30, but not yet 40). Where's my clothing section? Somewhere between the skin-tight low-rise jeans and the polyester clam diggers, hopefully.

But for all of the marketer’s schemes, they got one thing right. Ages 8 to 12 are a pretty unique time in a kid's life, especially in today's atmosphere. They're moving away from the kiddie stuff earlier and earlier. Eight-year olds today are actually interested in music, make-up, and magazines. At that age I was still trying to figure out how to get those little plastic hooker heels to stay on Barbie's feet.

Times may have changed, but human nature doesn’t change. We may be tweefos but we know what's going through our girls' minds. They want to fit in. Just like we did at that age. Only today, fitting in might entail having the right kind of cell phone or MP3 player in addition to the old standards of having the right clothes or experimenting with sex, alcohol, or drugs. And instead of a 16-year old facing these issues, it’s a 10-year-old.

Scary as hell.

But our girls have a secret weapon. Us! Of course, it's a known fact that talking to a pre-teen can be about as productive as milking a brick. That’s why I started my blog. Mothers with a range of different experiences can offer a lot of great advice to each other on how to stay connected with our girls...and how to stay sane through all of the changes. So let’s share and see where it goes.

After all, we tweefos gotta stick together.

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