Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Birthday Post: First Daughter Is Eight!

A few months ago, First Daughter turned eight. We called her Baby Girl for years, but she's no baby anymore. She's a smart, sassy girl.

She has her head in a book more often than not. She especially loves the Little House books. She has read and re-read my old copies so many times they are nearly disintegrating. She also reads The Boxcar Children books to Second Daughter in bed after lights-out. We pretend we don't notice for the time it takes to read a chapter.

It's quite nice, really, how much she reads. There are lots of books I read aloud to First Son in second grade that she reads independently. More time for Mama to kick back with a cup of tea...or something.

She loves school. She loves to work independently and she loves to surprise me by reading more than her assigned chapter or two in her independent reading book. She was a little upset when we started a new math curriculum this year, not because she didn't like it more than the old one, but because she could no longer say she was a year ahead in math. She started in the first book just like Second Daughter. Now she's in the fifth book (and Second Daughter is barely starting the second) and she loves it. Her favorite books so far have been for the People and Places studies: The Children of Noisy Village and Red Sails to Capri. She is also thrilled with her piano lessons, though sometimes I think she's more excited about moving through the book than actually learning to play the piano.

First Daughter loves to bake and cook. She can heat up tomato soup for lunch. She also makes baked blueberry oatmeal, crusty bread, bread in the bread machine, just about any kind of muffin, and lots of cookies. She wanted peanut butter cookies recently and did all of the shaping and pressing. Recently, she has been a great help in the kitchen for me. When I baked, scraped, and pureed eight pumpkins, she scraped at least a third of them. I'm not sure my poor hands could have finished without her.

Of course, Kansas Dad made the traditional pancake-bigger-than-her-head on her birthday for breakfast. We ate her birthday dinner on the china plates which she absolutely loved. She asks to get them out pretty regularly now when she thinks we're having a special occasion, but I'm not quite brave enough to make it a regular occurrence.

She loves her long hair and refuses to wear it in a ponytail. So it's quite tangled on a regular basis. She would probably let me French braid it every day if I had the patience to learn how to do that sort of thing. I let her practice braiding my hair every so often.

Her favorite kind of play involves stories. She loves Playmobil and baby dolls with Second Daughter and Ninjago or Star Wars or Chima with First Son. As long as there's a lot of talking and running around, she's happy. She and Second Daughter will set up an elaborate world of Playmobil houses nestled around the tracks of the train.

She loves when toddlers come to our house. She follows them around to make sure they are properly entertained and protected.

Of course she had a Frozen themed birthday party. I made an angel food cake (it's white!) and cake pops. She really wanted cake pops and I really wanted them frosted white to look like snowballs. They were a mixed success, but First Daughter was oblivious. She thought they were perfect. She decorated the windows with paper icicles and prepared multiple games like pin the nose on Olaf and Frozen freeze tag in which one girl was Elsa and froze everyone while another was Anna and unfroze them.

For her birthday, Grammy and Paw Paw bought her an American Girl doll. She is very careful with Bernadette and dresses her most mornings for the day and then for bed in the evenings.

For her baptismal anniversary, she wanted something French, in honor of St. Therese, her favorite saint and because her baptismal anniversary is also St. Therese's feast day. We discussed different French options but Kansas Dad decided in the end to make crepes (served on the china plates, of course). These were a huge success with the children in no small part due to the Nutella, strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce, and whipped cream Kansas Dad presented to accompany them. (Second Son talked about them for weeks and has already asked for them for his "uptisal" anniversary.)

You're allowed whipped cream sprayed directly into your mouth on your baptismal anniversary.

First Daughter still loves soccer. Kansas Dad had a big plan to switch to taekwondo and not sign up for soccer this fall, but when I talked with her about it, she cried. Small little tears as she said she wanted to play soccer but she didn't want First Son to not be able to do taekwondo because she preferred soccer. So of course we dropped everything we were doing and rushed into town to sign her up at the last opportunity.

She loves being out and about, with other kids or complete strangers. She can talk to anyone. We have to be careful what we say around her, though, because she likes to repeat what she hears adults saying. I think she thinks it makes her seem more grown up. (Silly girl! We don't want you to grow up!)

For Halloween, she was Zita the Spacegirl, ready to jump to the defense of every creature weaker than herself. She's the child most likely to help clean or to take on an extra chore. She's always the first child to volunteer to have the smallest piece or to forgo a food if there's only enough for three. It's tremendously sweet but I try to keep First Son from taking too much advantage of her.

Kansas Dad pointed out recently that she's really like a first child in her personality, and I think he's right. Either because First Son is a boy or because there's nearly three years between them, or just because she's got the helpful gene.

She's preparing for her First Reconciliation now and will soon be in the midst of First Communion preparation. She loves knowing all the answers and I hope she's learning a bit of the love of God, too.

May God bless you, Baby Girl!

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