8 is great

Dear Niamh

You are now 8, have been for a few days but I think you are still really happy to be 8 just like all your friends in school.

Friends in school are a big deal to you. Daily you are happy or upset based on who is nice or mean. I tell you all the time to ignore the mean people regardless if they are being nice that day but I remember the quest to be liked by all too. You will learn who your friends are eventually.

Academically you are doing well. You get great reports on behavior from your teacher Mrs. Larson. She says you are kind and respectful in school and play well with the other kids. You are very ahead in math, technically you finished the 2nd-grade requirements around Christmas and are working on more with a small group. Right now you are working on multiplication and division and moving right along with it. Reading is not your favorite. You can read, you do just fine until you get tangled up on a word and get unconfident… the fluency metric is not your best since it combines reading out loud, and, reading to a stranger and those are both things you don’t like. However, reading in your head you get the meaning of what’s going on and can answer the questions they ask so that makes me think you will do fine.

You are still the leader with your sisters. You contrive very complicated and long games with them and will play for hours. If they don’t want to play your way you can bend to a certain level but end up mad at them if they get disruptive (Fiona). We need ways for you to handle the anger but in general, you work with them well.

Over the past few months you have become very independent. You pack for trips, you know what we need and take care of it, you even help plan.  Sometimes your plans are so details and (ahem) crazy that we can’t make it work but I can usually see where you were coming from.  I’m going to say that you will have fantastic parties when you are older and I have no fear that you will forget to pack pants for a trip.

The independence is great but sometimes I feel like your moving too far away too fast.  You do JuJitsu 2 nights a week and girl scouts 2x a month and we subtly dropped swim lessons (because you can swim fine) because we were running out of days in the week and you noticed and have not let us forget about it.  Occasionally you get the urge to get up early and get completely ready for school before the rest of us are awake.  You usually do this so you get first choice of shows but I also think you are proud of the fact that you can.

TV is still a major source of comfort.  For years you hardly spoke to anyone and now you definitely do but you still like to retreat into watching a show.  A time when you can be alone even if both your sisters are there since it requires no interaction.  Talking to strangers usually does not bother you now IF you have a plan on what to say.  You rocked selling cookies and you are great at asking for things you need but new people you don’t have a plan for still make you hide behind me (literally).

I don’t think you can hide behind me for long… you are past my elbows already and you can wear my crocs and not look ridiculous.  Pretty soon I’m going to have to mind my sock collection or you will have it all.  On the fashion side, you are pretty mellow.  Compared to your sisters you almost don’t care at all.  This, in my opinion, proves your ‘dress only ‘ phase was really because you didn’t want to bother with 2 pieces of clothing.  You like to look pretty, you require a fresh Gi and freak out about a stain, but in general you wear a top and a bottom and its a good thing that power clashing is in fashion.

Skill wise you have taken a liking to making the loopy loom pot holders.  We all have several but I keep you stocked with loops because you really like to do it before you go to sleep.  You also like to make bracelets and chains from the tiny rubber bands and are getting interested in knitting.  Once you figure out how things loop and bind on one thing its easy to translate.  You can also cook at a basic level – you have come a long way in understanding how things cool and Dad has been very indulgent in letting you learn.  We even got you special knives and you can dice an onion better than I can.  Right now I would say you can microwave, make scrambled or fried eggs, and make spaghetti sauce.  With just those skills I think I can send you into life.

At 8 you have traveled quite a bit and are actually good at it now.  You are not the weakest link!  As long as we keep ziplock bags for puke near by you are absolutely fine.  Your lifetime state count is getting up there; MN, WI, ND, SD, TX, OK, FL, NY, PA, IO, IN, MI, OH, NJ, GA, TN, CO, TX, MO, KS, IL, AL, KY… 23:50 – not bad.  Have not made it out of the country yet but we will.  My dream of travel looks like it will be supported by my kids 🙂

As the oldest you have had to do more than your sisters and you get to do more too.  I have to re align my expectations sometimes because you are *just* 8 but you are seriously able to do a ton of stuff.  You are setting a high bar for your sisters but also leaving them room too.  There are things you avoid, things you miss, and you still can’t find your backside with both hands!  I have to apologize for the times I get frustrated because you are so good at some things, why can’t you just do everything?!?  You told me a secret, you love your sisters, but you don’t want them to know.  I think they have a good idea because half the time you are looking for ways to make them happy or do things they like and that extends to me and dad and friends and you are always looking for a way to make people happy.  I hope that never changes, in fact, I kinda hope you just stay about the same just adding in a few more life skills like laundry.

 

Love always,

Mom

ps.  You are still absolutely full of wonder and believe in fairies and luck and Santa and have a very vivid imignation

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