Since school started a few weeks ago, I have noticed a big change in our 8 year old daughter, Lexi. Up until now, this is the girl who begs to go to school with a triple digit fever and vomiting, promising something along the lines of 'I'll try to puke only in the bathroom' or some other nonsense. But after one short week, she stated she is really tired of third grade. Oh, and she looked forward to when it ends. These statements were coupled with crying jags and irritability, in mother and child. (And I postponed my attempt to give up the java. I can only take so much.) I know she is entering into puberty, not uncommon these days to start earlier than my generation did. I won't go into details, as I don't want to tell too much about my very private girl, but change is afoot, and much too soon for this mama. I have been digging in my past, searching for ways to manage these outbursts and mood swings. Who knew I'd be employing my retail management skills with my kids? When dealing with a hostile customer, I often found it helpful to keep my tone as level and calm as possible, in effort to keep the ugly situation from escalating. When dealing with my daughter, I try to remain sane and understand her feelings. This can be difficult. Near as I can tell, she was angry at me one morning this week for walking near her, creating a wind current that caused her eye to hurt. Really. Apparently, I did this terrible deed on purpose. I think. So I try to put myself in her shoes, or in this case, use major sarcasm, giving her advance warning that I may walk through my kitchen again; preparing her for the loud thud the breakfast plate may make as it is placed before her. She managed to laugh and I didn't even have to give her a worthless coupon or 1-800 number, so she could rat me out to my boss. Although if I had a big boss, I think I would ask for a raise.