9 years

Dear Niamh

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Nine feels like you are not a little kid anymore and in some ways you are not.  You can reach almost everything you want, you can run a quarter mile in just over 2 minutes, you can ride a bike with no problems and there isn’t anything you won’t climb.  In fact, your wish at the moment is to go to a 28 day climbing trip (I said no by the way because it is for 12 year olds).

Your goal for the year is to be more kind.  In so many ways you are very kind already.  Your instinct is usually to help someone sad or hurt and you care deeply for other people.  On the other hand, your views of what is ‘fair’ sometimes make you hard to deal with because if it isn’t fair you will let everyone know.  Sometimes you let things go with no reservations, you let your little sister have almost any and every stuffed animal or toy she wants of yours.  When you draw the line though it is defended with very loud screaming.  You wrote your goal to be kinder to your sisters and I’m glad to see that is on your mind.

As oldest you get to do so many things first.  Because you are tallest you have gone on every roller coaster and crazy waterpark thing you are tall enough for.  You love the excitement and I hope you always keep that.  You are also pulled back toward your sisters when it comes to the mysteries of childhood – you are still firmly a Santa believer and also fairies and the leprechaun and plenty of other things that a more realist or pragmatic (or dull) child might have started to scoff at by 9.

 

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technically waiting for our ride to the airport, but, you waited for santa with 100x more excitement.

 

Right now academically you are in the last quarter of 3rd grade.  Your reading is OK and your math is fantastic.  Teachers like you because you are well behaved and involved.  The good friends of yours like you because of you but you are getting to the onerous age where kids are mean and anything, not ‘normal’ is ‘weird’.  Unfortunately being good at math makes you ‘weird’, jujitsu, travel and camping and certainly the SCA are ‘weird’, hobbies like sewing or spinning are beyond the pale for the dull people who apparently are the taste makers of 3rd grade.  Don’t worry, I will continue to tell you that you are outstanding and interesting and to focus on the kids that are your true friends. Who knows what sinks in but you were comforting Zoe one day and told her you were picked last in gym for something because people think you are weird and Zoe said “why do they think that?” and your reply was “they are boring”.

Yes, you spin, you do some weaving, you can sew carefully and creatively and you can draw, you can bake brownies with no help and most meals with limited help.  You can swim and dive to the bottom of the pool.  You can multiply and divide in your head.  You love our friend Cecily and are still good friends with Abby and Dana.  If there is a baby or toddler in the room you will immediately see if you can help and will play with a 2-year-old for hours.  You also still play with your sisters and there are epic games through the garden and yard and every room of the house.  You still like all the little toys but prefer your kindle games and big run around imagination games to collecting ponies anymore.

On your dislike list; doing what you are told…. seriously!  If you just did what we asked you would be perfect!  I suppose everyone needs flaws…  So even if it is a thing you like, doing it on a different timeline from your choice will make you rebel.  This includes; all chores, helping cook, actually getting out the door for swim lessons, picking up your dishes or the game or anything you didn’t personally create.  In the end, you mostly get it done but there is shouting and lectures and you pout and stomp.  The crazy thing is you will spontaneously do most of these things, including cleaning, when the mood strikes you.  Most of the time you are fine with social interactions but every so often the old chiwini comes back and you can’t handle everyone looking at you or being up on stage.  I hate to put these negative things out there but I’m sure it will be fun for you/us to look back at them later.  (I really am only ever frustrated for a few minutes and I think you know that)

It is hard to write how you ‘are’ anymore because you are getting more round as a person.  There are things I don’t know at all.  I have no idea how you are in school beyond teacher reports and what you tell me.  You are absolutely fine with going out with Cecily for a day of cooking or archery or going to jujitsu with Dad or going to parties with friends and camping with scouts and anything away from me you go without looking back.  You are always glad to come home, you are always happy to tell me about your adventure but as glad as I am for your bravery and self-reliance I’m just a little sad that you need me less and less.  You even talk about going away to college but you promise to call me every day.

 

I’m starting to do my research about how and when you hit the next milestones of life.  It is easy with a baby, they sit, they crawl, they talk all usually within a month of expectations.  There isn’t a real mark for shaving your legs or opening a bank account.  We try to treat each one of you as individuals but you are always the one that is breaking fresh ground.  We have talked about hormones etc and apparently what you remember is that they make you crazy…  not really wrong, but, we might need to keep working on the whole message.

We talk nightly, not nearly as much as you would like.  You still love me to sing to you and you take any opportunity to be carried.  You still want hugs and are considered a celebrity at school when I come to lunch with you.  You and daddy read nightly, mostly nonfiction and you have been into Greek Gods recently.  The understanding of religion (if anyone can say they understand it) is very very broad, church mingles with greek gods and a good friend is a devoted Muslim and other friends are Jewish.  My standard remark on who is ‘right’ is that there are an infinite number of ways to add up to 10, all equally right.  I feel bad you don’t have the stability that a traditional go to church on Sunday routine might give you, but, you have parents who love you and are working hard to make sure you turn out well in the eyes of humans and god(s) (and profits, and fiction, and all the things)

Over the year of 8-9 you have gone to Hawaii, PA, NY, (and the states on the way in between) ND, WI Dells, tons of places in MN and WI.  You went to YMCA day camp for a week, pennsic for 2 weeks, Sesame Place, road trips all over for events and sold over 250 boxes of cookies.  It has been a busy year and we expect nothing less for your year of 9.

Love,

Mom

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