Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dear Bunny,

You're now a great big six and a half year-old first grader. I realized I never got around to writing your birthday letter last spring, so here you go, my big girl.

You're still not the kid to jump to embrace changes, but you have done well transitioning first to Kindergarten and now to 'big kid' first grade. Much better than I feared, from your tearful pleas to have me always keep you with me. You were happy that way, yes, but it was time to grow. Growth and change are hard, but you can do it.

This past year was the first one where you have had to deal with a good friend moving away. I remember when I was 6 and a friend moved away. It was hard, and I had only been playing with this one girl for a year or two max. Yet more changes.

You've also gotten to experience some changes that add to your life. Your baby brother Cole joined the family. Your Grandpa Russell moved nearby. You've made a few friends on our street, and have one thing that this farm girl never got to experience -- random visits from friends who come by just to play for a little while, and doing the same to your friends' at their homes.

You were a loving big sister to Carter when he was a baby, but a couple more years and the prior experience have benefited you greatly. You're such a big help to me, and also very loving to Cole. I can tell you this: given the choice between you sitting next to him and keeping Cole happy in the car and *not*, I choose peaceful car ride every time. :) You're right to be proud of how happy you make him with your antics.

You've had to learn to do some things for yourself that are age appropriate, and that has been something you have not liked -- you preferred it when I never said to go ahead and find yourself a snack, I know. However, you also get to help in the kitchen with dinner and other foods sometimes, so it's not all bad now, is it?

You're a tough kid, too. You went through more rigorous physical training this summer with Little Guards than some people ever do in their whole lives, much less s 6 year-olds. And you were on the team that won the Rambo Relay for the county! Seriously, that is one hard course, and you were selected as the girl anchor on a team that was kind of obviously weighted with the more physically capable kids from your squad. I know you wear your tee from the summer to school with pride, and again, you're right to be proud of yourself.

Some things come so easily to you. Others, not so much. Just like every other human on earth, you have your areas where you'll always need to try your best, and sometimes even that will not be enough to satisfy your own high expectations.

You become so angry when life does not live up to your expectations. Controlling your temper will probably be something you always need to work on, even when you do not *show* it. It's easy to point at ADD as the cause, since people with ADD *do* in fact tend to anger quickly. However, you've got temper on both sides in spades, you poor dear! You had tantrums inside me, I know that. I also know I was a pain in the butt as a small child. If nothing else, you come by it all honestly. Maybe I will try to teach you how to meditate someday. It helps.

You can be amazingly focused on things that interest you. Your thirst to know more-more-more is wonderful when we can satisfy it. A lot of kids your age don't want to go to a museum, and certainly don't want to look at everything in it. You become upset when we can't stay as long as you'd like. I try to supplement your education with extras in the areas that are simply not commonly taught in this age of SOL test frenzy on the part of harried educators who have to please everyone at once (and in doing so assure no one is satisfied, themselves included). Sometimes I forget not all kids your age know about the French Revolution and don't get my joke about the Barbie whose head comes off really easily being Guillotine Barbie even a little bit.

Being one of three kids is kind of like living the communist ideal of 'to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities'. I wish I could spend as much one on one time with you as you clearly crave. I wish we could snuggle just you and me each evening (I also wish that for your brothers--there needs to be more mes running around sharing a brain so that I could still have all the memories in one place). However, while you don't get everything you want, you do get what you need. I spend time with you reading and doing homework. We talk and talk about whatever pops into your head. A lot of the places I take the three of you guys are more for you than them. I try to help you along the way with things you simply can not handle -- like putting away your (grumble grumble) crayons and pencils nearly every day so that you can find them because I do know you simply can NOT keep them tidy any more than your father could, or any more than we could expect Carter to not be anal like me. Someday hopefully he'll put away your pencils, haha. ;)

You are loved for you and who you are. And not just by those of us who have to love you -- I am told all the time by adults whose opinions I respect that you're a good kid.

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