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Posted: May 7, 2013 5:56 p.m.

Children older than their years

I wrote a column not too long ago bemoaning the fact that my grandchildren were growing up. Well, I have more proof.

My sister and I meet periodically at the Tanger outlet mall in Locust Grove. It is about halfway between her home and mine. We do a little shopping and a lot of talking.

Usually my sister talks me into buying something I had no intention of buying.

"If you want it, buy it," she usually says. "I plan to leave my children enough to bury me," she will continue.

As heartless as that sounds, my sister has two adult children she loves and has nurtured.

What she means is that they are now self-sufficient, and she feels she has done her job and has the right to enjoy herself within reason.

When our visit was over and we were getting into our respective cars, my sister said that she had noticed something different about this trip.

I had not even entered, much less perused, the two stores that exclusively carry children clothes — OshKosh and Carter’s. We used to meet in front of OshKosh; not any more.

She’s right. That’s another thing I’ll miss about my grandchildren as they grow up. They no longer wear the cute clothes that they make for little girls. No more pastels, no more flower prints, no more anything cute. They have outgrown those sizes.

They also have outgrown my taste. They are no longer happy or excited when I bring them something I have purchased.

They have their own senses of style, and Grandmother cannot fathom those four styles.

After buying clothes I thought they would like and seeing those clothes handed down with the tags still on them, I decided no more buying clothes for the grandchildren unless they are with me.

Now everything has to have peace signs on it and come in colors as close to neon as possible.

Shirts have to come in layers, one ending shorter than the other. I really don’t find many of the selections available for my grandchildren appealing. When buying children’s clothes today, you walk a difficult line between in style and hoochie mama.

Somebody needs to talk to children’s clothes designers. But I guess we are talking to them in a way, as we purchase their clothing.

I don’t want my grammar-school grandchildren dressing like they are in high school.

But much of the clothing sold in stores for young children is, I feel, not appropriate for their ages.

There is something to be said for school uniforms.

I had a second jolt regarding my grandchildren growing up this week. The fourth grader told her mother, in confidence, that she knew there was no tooth fairy. (She had just lost another tooth.)

She admitted to looking for something in her mother’s drawer and finding a bag of all the lost teeth that her mother had exchanged for money.

She went on to say, again confidentially, that her mother could go on giving her the money.

When my daughter told me that, I laughed. Oh, ho, I said. She is a smart child, and she doesn’t want to miss out on the money.

But if she was so concerned about the money, she should not have admitted that she knew about the pretense.

That’s not it, my daughter said.

The fourth grader went on to explain that if her mother (as the tooth fairy) left her money for the tooth, she (the fourth grader) would secretly give the money back to her mother the next day.

She was willing to do this so that her younger sister would not know the truth about the tooth fairy.

Now how many of you found out from a sibling or cousin or friend that there really was no Santa Claus? Most of you, I bet.

There is growing up, and there is growing up. If my fourth grader can deny herself money and keep a secret so her younger sister still believes in something that is magical about childhood, she has matured beyond most children her age. And she is wiser than many adults.

The only problem is the next day, like all children, she’ll do something that will drive you nuts.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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