Monday, June 29, 2009

Now You Are Eight

For your eighth birthday, I made you eat bugs.

Ripping the wings off of butterflies. Aiee!

And sleep outside, on the ground. In a tent.

And have a sleepover that lasted three whole days!
BFFs, baby!

So, even though there was only one guest and very few presents, I think we can call it a success.

Through bad timing (apparently summer birthdays are hard to schedule around) and great distance from the invitees, we went from 4 potential party and sleepover guests to one. Oh well. Fortunately, you rolled with it and we turned it from one night into two nights, plus pizza, ice cream and a movie out. Also, running and screaming with your BFF for two and a half days straight has been a thrill for you both. Talk about late nights!

This last year has been tough on you and I. Hell, who am I kidding? These last two years since your brother and sister were born, have been tough on you. And me. You've gone from the first and only to the eldest of not one, but two crazy babies. Your limelight wasn't just stolen, it was hijacked, mugged and punched in the face repeatedly. You've responded by becoming the best whiner ever! You now throw yourself onto the floor at the least provocation.

Requests that cause you to throw yourself onto the floor (Apparently from their sheer weight on your soul!):
  • Brush your teeth
  • Brush your hair
  • Get dressed
  • Get ready for bed
  • Clean your room for 15 minutes
  • Put your dishes in the sink
  • Get in the car and put on your seat belt
  • Take a bath
  • Do your homework
Why do I ask you to do all of this? Because I am the strictest mother in all creation. It's true. Just ask around. None of the rest of your friends have to do these things. Nope. Not one. I have all of these expectations of you. You know, that you'll be clean and possibly healthy. But you know what? Now that you're eight maybe all the rules will change? Maybe you won't have to take showers anymore and brush your hair? Yeah! Maybe we'll try that! I feel certain that your attitude will completely change once I let you do everything you want and nothing at all that you don't want.

Uh huh.

But wait! After spending the last couple of days observing you and your BFF, I realize that you're perfectly normal! Apparently all of the whining and bad attitude is just a stage! Woo! Maybe you'll break out of it soon. I can only hope. It's either that or you'll have to fish me out of a pitcher of mojitos because this is the toughest time I've had with you. It's very painful. But no one wants to hear that.

You started taking piano lessons and you appeared to be a natural. I hope you'll pick it back up in the fall, when school starts. I love listening to you play.

In twelve days, you'll be heading off on your very first trip alone for three weeks. You'll wing off to NYC to hang out with your Aunt Dawn, Cousin Janet, Aunt Cindy and maternal grandparents. You are going to have such an incredible time, your head may just pop off with all of the excitement! Zoo trips, shopping, museums, camping, and seemingly endless playdates with cousins and grandparents and new friends-to-be. Maybe you'll miss us, maybe you won't, but you'll have the chance to find out what it's like to travel on your own and live under someone else's rules for awhile.

I noticed that you keep getting taller. What's up with that? Your clothes keep shrinking, but I'm not yet ready to admit that you're actually eight. You know, two years shy of double digits. That's really weird. Next thing you know, you'll be entering the third grade midway through August and starting the whirlwind of school, playdates and projects again. School has been kind of hard for you, mostly because of all the girl drama you have with your friends. Or frenemies, as they seem to be. I wish I could help you make better friend choices, but considering how well I did when I was your age, I can't really say I'm surprised at your choices. I just wish I knew why you stopped being the leader and have started being a follower.

Hopefully that will change.

You officially learned how to ride a bike this year! After spending the last couple of years throwing your bike to the ground and blaming it for crashing you into the sidewalk repeatedly, we handed you off to Aunt Jenni for biking lessons. She performed magic on you, apparently, because you came back knowing how to ride a bike without training wheels. Now, with a little more practice (That dreaded word!), maybe you'll stop using your feet to brake.

You still don't like doing physical things since you can't be perfect at them the first time you try them. We keep tossing you into new sports and situations, hoping something will stick. Maybe karate in the fall will help? We can only hope!

You still devour books, but for reasons we can't understand, want new books but don't want to read new books. I don't get it. Really, I don't. When I was your age (get used to that saying, kiddo), I absolutely inhaled every book I could get my hands on. I read everything that was laying around in the house from Reader's Digests to Harlequin Romance novels to science-fiction to Black Beauty to The Exorcist. (By the way, what the hell was that doing in our house? Gaaaaah! Not a book a 13 y/o girl should read.) If it had words on it, I read it. The fact that you want to collect books and yet read The Trumpet of the Swan for the 40th time boggles my mind. It's like we have to convince you that new books are just as good as old books.

You've gotten strange about food. Whereas you used to dip everything you ate into a sauce of one kind or another, you suddenly want nothing to do with sauces. Not even ketchup. Is this a girl thing? Something you picked up at school? I don't get it. Next thing you know, you'll tell me you don't like salmon anymore and then my head will explode.



When you play with the twins nicely it makes me very happy. For a few minutes you make them squeal with laughter and chase them around. They love you so much it makes my heart ache to watch the three of you. Sometimes I watch, but mostly I'm probably trying to make dinner or clean up after all of you. It's crazy, but the magical Cleaning Fairies still have not found our house, so someone has to keep picking up all of the discarded food/shoes/toys and I guess that someone is me. When you keep them busy, you make my life easier and I really appreciate it. Not having a short person attached to my leg makes getting food in and out of a hot oven a lot less tricky. (Have you ever tried pulling food out of the oven while fending off a pair of 21 month olds? Feels just like being a goalie in soccer or like a defender in basketball. Except, you know, it's burningly hot and the opposing team is crazy. And short.)

When the playing turns to screaming, that part is not so much fun. I know you didn't mean to hurt anyone (mostly), but you did and you need to own up to it and learn from it and stop doing it. I know, it's a lot to expect from you, but there it is. Strict mommies like me have all of these rules and not hitting your brother and sister are on the top of the list.

During the good times, when we have put the twins to bed and it's just you and I and your father hanging out, that's when I like you the most. We can just settle down for awhile and focus on you, which you like. Sometimes there's even time for snuggling. You don't get as many as you used to, it's true. Hint: Being stinky doesn't help.

This year, I'll try harder to have more patience. Maybe you'll try harder to be more polite to me. We'll do our best together in our parent-child relationship, because even when it's really really hard, I'm certain that you know that I love you, just as I know that you love me.

Even when you're yelling the opposite.

I love you, my little monkey. Happy birthday!


Dawn said...


alessa said...

I went through a stinky faze too. It will pass. Eventually.

alessa said...

Are the first and last photo's of stinky faze or did she win the brushing hair fight?

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Alessa: first and last are definitely Caitlin. We came to an agreement about the hair cutting off. We cut it off, she mostly brushes it now and I don't have to hear AS MUCH whining.

There's STILL whining, just not as much.

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