On Sunday you turned six years old. Six. Like it now takes TWO HANDS to show how old you are. Not that you use your hands to show people your age (in fact, you haven’t done that in years), but it’s the principle of the matter. Six is a big deal, just like you.
We were able to celebrate your birthday ON your actual birthday this year. It’s was an amazing day and that was in no smart part due to the fact that you planned it yourself. Sure, I helped with the execution, but every aspect of the party was because you decided it should be so. I asked you what you wanted to do for your party and without any hesitation you said you wanted an art party. This is a great representation of you because you LOVE art. At any given time our house either looks like an art studio or an art gallery. So you said you wanted to have a party at My Masterpiece Art Studio (I was totally on board because this meant the art could happen somewhere other than in my house!) and you promptly started listing off all your friends you wanted to invite. It was a great balance of friends from your class, old friends from preschool, and your tried-and-true playgroup friends. Then you proceeded to tell me your vision for the food (Pizza. Easy peasy.) and cake. You had an elaborate plan for a cake, covered in fondant, that looked like an artist palette. Since we were going to be having quite a few kids at the party, we decided to make the cake as well as cupcakes (which also looked like artist palettes but instead of fondant they were white chocolate candy melts with M&Ms for paint blobs). The party was a smashing success and everyone in attendance had a great time. You sure know how to plan a party, sis!
You started kindergarten this year and it has been wonderful. I’m still a little in shock that you are in school all day, every day, but you handled it like a champ. You love your teacher, your friends, and everything about your new school. You even handled the transition to a uniform better than I expected. Since you are my little fashionista, I thought you would feel restricted, faced with conformity, but I think it really simplifies things and eliminates a lot of social/peer pressure. I know it definitely makes picking out your clothes in the morning a much faster process! You recently finished the first trimester of school and brought home your first report card. You got mostly all M’s and pluses (which sounds like a bad thing, but it’s really quite fabulous) and your teacher had only glowing things to say about you, pointing out that you are “very responsible and a great role model for [your] peers.” I couldn’t be more proud of you if I tried.
Just before school started you also started playing soccer for Milltown United. You were very excited to finally be able to play soccer “outside” (you had only ever played in a gym) and your Dad was one of the coaches. It was so much fun to see you running around with your friends and being a part of a team. It took a few games, but once you started actually paying attention to the game (instead of talking to your friends or playing with your hair) you were quite good and would generally score a goal or two per game. You were always quick to remind me that it wasn’t about scoring goals but about having a good time. And you certainly did that.
It’s not really news anymore that you are a big sister, but it needs to be mentioned that you take your role as “Big Sister” very seriously. You and Hadley are quite the pair. I am constantly catching you two playing together or cuddled up somewhere. As Hadley gets bigger, the two of you just seem to get closer and closer. You are always showing her how to do things, helping her out, and glowing with pride when she learns something you taught her. A few days ago you had your Carols and Cookies Christmas performance at school and Hadley kept squealing with delight and clapping loudly throughout the songs (and not strictly at the end of songs, as is customary) but instead of getting embarrassed for something your little sister was doing, you were genuinely delighted. You could see that she was proud of you and you took it for all it was worth.
One of your big accomplishments/milestones this year was that you learned to ride a bike without training wheels. Santa brought you a bike a couple years ago and you were happy to cruise along with the training wheels but as soon as we took them off to help you learn to ride with two wheels, you quickly lost interest and preferred to zip along on your scooter. Finally we encouraged you to try again and as soon as you hopped on, something just clicked and you were off! It was awesome watching the delight on your face as you cruised around (and around and around!) our cul-de-sac. We could hardly keep you off of your bike and it quickly became one of our new favorite family activities!
(We quickly realized we needed to get you a bigger bike.)
It seems the older you get, the braver you get as well. You aren’t afraid to try new things or step outside of your comfort zone. You are becoming quite the little thrill seeker and I love getting to accompany you on these exciting new adventures. Over the summer we took a trip to Utah and in an attempt to make it more of a fun vacation, we visited Park City. When we got there, you and I decided to try out the Alpine Slide. As the one operating the controls (the brake), my goal was to get us safely down the mountain in one piece (and not traumatize you in the process) but you kept shouting, “Faster, Mama!” and “This is AWESOME!!”
We aren’t the only ones who think you are pretty special. This year you were invited by our friends Nick and Krissy to be a flower girl in their wedding. You’ve been a flower girl before (twice, in fact) so I shouldn’t have been surprised that you did a wonderful job. You were a model flower girl: smiling sweetly for all the photos, perfectly sprinkling rose petals down the aisle, and even helping with the other (much younger) flower girl by showing her the ropes and setting a good example of proper flower girl behavior.
You are also showing signs of maturity and demonstrating how responsible you are. You have had your eye on an American Girl doll for quite some time. We told you that if you saved up enough money, we would take you up to Seattle to pick one out. The day finally came when we decided to take you to our credit union to count up the contents of your piggy bank. Thinking you’d have a hard time hitting the rather steep price tag of the AG doll, we decided you had been so responsible to save your money and working hard doing extra chores around the house that we would split the cost with you. Well, it turns out we underestimated you! You had enough money to buy the doll and then some. But we stuck to our deal and decided to put the rest of the money you had saved in the bank in a savings account we opened just for you.
On our next trip to Seattle, we drove a little north to the nearest American Girl Doll store so you could pick out the doll of your dreams. You decided on a My American Girl doll that looked just like you (light skin, layered red hair, and brown eyes). You immediately named her Alice and she has been your
prized possession constant companion ever since.
Another big thing we did this year was grow out your bangs. I know it’s not a complicated thing, growing hair, but it was a test of patience… for both of us. There were many times when I was cursing your bangs and I just wanted to grab some scissors but you held strong. You made the choice to grow out your bangs and you stuck with it. I was very impressed. And you look simply amazing. Though I am a little concerned with how much older you look without bangs. I mean it’s a little ridiculous, no?
As I mentioned earlier, you are quite the artist, but I also have to add that you have amazing handwriting. You have been working really hard on sounding out words on your own (instead of always asking us how to spell things) and I just love finding little notes from you scattered around the house. For your birthday one of your friends gave you a journal and the other night you stuck it into your new sequin-covered purse and took it with us to Zoo Lights. While we were waiting for a school choir to get ready to perform you sat down off to the side and pulled out your journal to jot down your thoughts. Right then and there I got a nice glimpse of what you are going to be like as a teenager.
Not that I would expect anything else, but you are becoming quite the little mini me. You are always helping me out and wanting to be involved in everything I do. You are natural leader and are always trying to take charge and help any way you can. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this aspect of your personality. There isn’t anything I do that isn’t better with you by my side.
With any strong personality, there is bound to be a certain level of sass that comes with it. And you certainly have that! I’ll never forget the first time you came home from school and knew something that not only did I not teach you, but that I did not know (it was probably something you learned in Spanish class. Languages were never my thing). It was like your whole world flipped upside down. There was something YOU KNEW THAT YOUR MOTHER DIDN’T. (Shocking, I know.) You walked around all smug for at least an hour raving about how you were smarter than me. I’ve raised you to be strong, confident, and proud of yourself… and it was bound to come back to bite me in the butt eventually!
Well, my sweet girl, it has been another wonderful year with you. I have truly enjoyed watching you grow, change, learn, and discover. You are such an amazing friend, daughter, and sister. We are all truly blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for all you are and all that you do. I love you.
All my love,