Friday, October 30, 2015

Dear Mia, Part 16

Well, holy cow, I had no idea it had been over a year since I sat down to record you.

In a way, not much has changed. Your personality bloomed and stayed that way, but a lot has happened in the past year I feel the need to remember.

The first thing I think of if I need to describe you is how FRIENDLY you are. Mia, that is not a word I would ever use to describe myself, you definitely get that from your father, and I am solidly okay with that, but I couldn't be more in awe of how easily you make friends and how kind and nurturing you are to all of your peers. 

You draw pictures and write notes to all your classmates at school. You are sad when a particularly shy child doesn't want to play with you. You reach out of every single one of your classmates. You definitely have your crew that you play with the most, but you never exclude anyone. Three or four moms from the class have approched me to tell me (and sometimes thank me) for how kind and nurturing you are to everyone in the class. I am so incredibly proud that this is the mark you are leaving on people, but at the same time I don't really feel like I can take credit for any of it. You were born a shining star. 

Last year there was a boy in your class named Abe that you said you loved and he adored you back. All summer you said you were going to marry him. Unfortunately, he is now at a different preschool, but you've latched onto a new little boy named Johnny. I couldn't have imagined that at 4 I'd be counseling you on not smothering a boy and worrying that you were being distracted from school by boys. Lord help us in your teenage years!

Over the summer you begged me to teach you to read. Grandma bought you some early readers and we joined the library's summer reading program that required you to read for 20 minutes a day, and now I'd say you are a reader. You can pick up most early readers and figure them out. 

You also learned to ride a two-wheeler this summer. It's obvious what things in life are important to your dad and me by what skills you picked up this summer. 

You and your sister play together quite a bit, but girl, you are bossy. And your sister is no doormat. So I spend a lot of time refereeing. You want to script out every game you play with her and get mad if she doesn't understand what's going on or loses interest and wanders off. It's either you bossing her around or the two of you wrestling until someone gets hurt. Pretty exhausting. I'm trying to step back and let you guys work some things out on your own, but it often ends in tears. 

You still love to play with your stuffed animals more than anything. You play a lot of imaginary games by yourself. You love writing and making up stories. You love any sort of craft. You go through stacks of paper coloring and drawing every day. You love looking at books. You love maps. You love helping in the kitchen. You still love to sing and perform.

You had a dance recital in May for tap and ballet, and as your class entered the stage the whole audience did a collective "aaaawwwwe," and you gave 110% percent. While other girls froze with stage fright or had to look around at others to remember the steps, you just got up there and danced your little heart out. 

Over the summer you took gymnastics and dance classes. You also took a swimming class and are so close to swimming on your own without any floaties. Next summer you'll be there for sure. This fall you did soccer. There were only 2 other girls in the class with about 15 boys and you were not the least bit intimidated by anyone. 

You are a giant among your classmates. You are one of the oldest and definitely one of the biggest. You are as tall as your cousin Abby who is almost 6.

You still love school. You are going 3 mornings a week now. Honestly, if I could have put you in kindergarten this fall I would have. But going from only 2 mornings a week to three has suddenly put into sharp focus that soon enough you will be at school more than you are home with me. For four plus years now you've been my side kick, and soon you'll be having so many of your experiences apart from me. I'm not often nostalgic, but this is a hard thing for me.

A few weeks ago you told me you wanted an American Girl doll and all my childhood dreams of passing down my own dolls to my daughter someday came true. Now we are making our way through the Molly and Kirsten books, which is an interesting experience as the Molly books talk about World War II and bombs and the Kirsten books begin with her best friend dying of cholera. Education! 

Over the summer you got to do lots of new things like see fireworks, go to a minor league baseball game and go camping. This is one of my favorite parts of parenting, getting to relive all of these firsts through you. 

You also got your ears pierced and did not even flinch, you only cried when I noticed your lip quivering and said, "It's okay to cry," but you stopped immediately when you were offered a Lollypop. I had some mixed up guilt afterward about the message I was sending that "beauty is pain" or something, but you seem to love having your ears pierced, so all is well. 

Grandma and Grandpa moved at the beginning of the summer and now live only about 15 minutes away. I am just so excited that you get to have a relationship with them I never really got to have with my own grandparents. You've had a few sleepovers at their house and we get to see them a few times a week now. 

For Halloween you dressed as a Dalmatian because you love 101 Dalmatians and your favorite character on Paw Patrol is a Dalmatian. In a world of little girls dressed as princesses, you definitely make a statement dressed as a dog. Not that you (or I) are trying to make statements, but I find it so fascinating how uninterested you are by the princess culture for the most part. 

I don't usually do this, but I feel compelled this time to talk a bit about things that are going on in the world today. There is a deep sense of unrest, at least for me. There are horrific terrorist attacks, far too much gun violence, and racial tension. But in the last year we've also seen the federal government recognize gay marriage. Things are so scary but so hopeful at the same time. I write about this hoping that you might look back knowing the world you grew up in and seeing how far we've come. Hopefully this fear will all be a distant memory. If I've done nothing else by bringing you and your sister into this world at least let us tip the scales even a hair in the direction of love and acceptance and peace. 

Favorite colors: purple and pink
Favorite TV shows: My Little Pony, Paw Patrol
Favorite movies: The Muppets movies, 101 Dalmatians, The Lion King
Favorite foods: Pancakes, fruit, grilled cheese, hot dogs, any kind of ice cream, candy, baked goods
Favorite books: The Nutcracker, American Girl books

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