Summer is a busy time for us in so many ways, but two of the most momentous events that occur each summer are our daughters’ birthdays. Our youngest turned six in July, and she celebrated her big day by inviting friends to our neighborhood Fourth of July picnic. There was a bar-b-que with a copious amount of potluck dishes, a live band that sang Happy Birthday to her, as well as potato sack races and other family yard games. The kids played in the sand and water at the riverfront beach area, enjoyed an inflatable water slide, and basically just ran around and had a good time.
Our oldest daughter turned nine in August, and she celebrated with her first slumber party. It went surprisingly smoothly. She spent two days cleaning the house from top to bottom and decorating for the party (with no prompting from me). She made a list of slumber party activities and managed to check them all off. Items on the list included:
- Have a pillow fight
- Do a craft
- Dance Party
- Eat Cheesecake
- Watch a scary movie
The movie they chose was “Coraline,” based on the Neil Gaiman book. For the craft, we decorated eye masks and ear plugs for the ultimate in beauty rest accessories. Each girl got to take home her own customized set the next morning.
My daughters have been talking about an Elf on a Shelf character that a few of their friends own. My five-year-old decided to christen one of her little teddy bears as her personal elf. She named him Stocking. Her eight-year-old sister thought it’d be fun to join in the game, and started moving him to new spots now and then when her sister wasn’t looking. Her little sister is now convinced that the elves gave her teddy bear “some of their elf magic and made him a real elf.”
Big sister went so far as to leave a note from Stocking the elf-bear. It read:
“This is Stocking. I do really have magic. Your sister is very nice, and so are you. I’ve made your Christmas present already. Hopefully you won’t get in any more fights with your sister, so I can give you the present. I was waiting a long time to tell you because you were at school. From, Stocking. P.S. I love the name you’ve given me!”
I accidentally closed my car door on the tiny hand of my seven-year-old daughter. Thinking fast, my husband picked her up started to carry her back into the restaurant we had just left. Before they got to the entrance, she insisted that he put her down. She quickly pulled herself together and calmly asked for ice when they got inside.
I stayed in the car with my youngest daughter, and when my big girl returned to the car, I was crying and apologizing for having caused her such pain. She was dry-eyed and tried to reassure me with, “That’s okay, Mommy.”
She’s always had a high pain tolerance, but she’s also simply the bravest girl I know. As I inspected her swollen and purple fingers, guilt ate away at me like the Ebola virus.
We took her to an urgent care center where they x-rayed her hand. Fortunately, nothing was broken, and she claimed it was already feeling better, despite how awful it looked. She didn’t complain or make a fuss. I am so proud to call this amazing girl my daughter!
My four-year-old has been experiencing separation anxiety when my husband leaves for trips. He’s a pilot, so it’s an unavoidable aspect of our weekly routine. She usually recovers pretty quickly, but she frets every time he leaves.
On our way to school one morning, she told me, “I wonder why I only cry when Daddy leaves and not when you leave, Mommy. I guess I just like him a lot. I like you too, but different.”
Our daughters think that Christmas is on Sunday this year because my husband had a trip to Frankfurt and isn’t getting home until today. We’re celebrating today as “Christmas Eve” and tomorrow as the main event.
People still have to fly where they need to go, which means Hubby often has to work on holidays. It’s not at all unusual for us to have Thanksgiving on Friday or Easter on Saturday. Halloween’s about the only one we can’t switch. This is probably the last year we’ll get away with this sort of trickery though, now that they’re getting older.
In the mean time, Merry Christmas (Eve)!
I’m so thrilled that my children enjoy reading as much as I do. My four-year-old and my seven-year-old daughters both beg for books. We go to the library about once a week, and they usually like to sit down right there and start reading their books before we even check them out. My seven-year-old loves the bookmarks that the librarians sometimes have on hand for children, and she’s very proud to mark her place in a chapter book. We allow them to stay up for a specified amount of time in bed before “lights out” each night, so that they can read. My oldest usually turns her lamp out when she’s supposed to, but then we sometimes catch her still reading by flashlight. She usually starts and ends each day with a book.
My four-year-old daughter has decided that she’s not satisfied with the name her father and I gave her, and she’s opted to choose a new one. She’s now insisting that everyone call her Elliana, which she spells “Leano.” She’s now writing it at the top of her art projects at preschool and at home.
My four-year-old has a habit of piping into a conversation with totally unrelated nuggets of information that she finds interesting. She’ll tilt her head to the side, and in a serious tone of voice, offer up a random fact totally unrelated to the subject at hand. Here are a few recent examples:
- As we were driving my oldest daughter to school and discussing the fact that she is now a second grader, my youngest had this to say, “A spork is both a spoon and a fork.”
- One night at dinner, we were discussing our day. My youngest added her thoughts, “A giraffe’s neck is bigger than ours.”
- While we were getting out of the car to go into preschool, she procrastinated with, “Wait, I just have to close these websites.”
- She’s even interrupted her own conversation with a sidetrack random thought. “I get very upset when I don’t get what I want. And, how do rockets get into space?”
At dinner, we sometimes play games with our two young kids. ”Take a bite, and then…”
We’ve found that this encourages eating, because they must eat to play. Plus, it’s a good way to visit and pass the time during meals without turning on the TV. Our oldest daughter is highly competitive and likes to “win” the game, while our youngest just likes to eat and play.
Tonight, we played “Take a bite, and then tell me a word that starts with the letter…” We chose letters at random — F, A, S, L, and then we hit P.
My little four-year-old proudly offered up, “Popcorn,” “Pretty,” and “Pink.”
Her seven-year-old older sister gave it some thought, and then blurted out, “Psycho!”
Our second grader asked her father at breakfast this morning, “Dad, are you ever going to be in a band?”
He doesn’t play any instruments or sing, so he explained to her that it was a rather unlikely possibility.
But she persisted, “You could learn to play the guitar. It’d be cool if you were in a band.”
At seven, she’s already concerned about whether or not her parents are cool enough for her.
Our four-year-old daughter also thought it would be a good idea. “I could play piano in Daddy’s band.”