Monday, November 16, 2015

First Daughter's Birthday Post: Nine Years Old!

First Daughter turned nine a few months ago. Now our children are 11, 9, 7, and 5 until December, which I think is fun.

Her birthday party was a little delayed because Kansas Dad was teaching and I signed us up for a field trip on her birthday weekend. She decided on a literary themed party and asked her friends to come dressed as favorite book characters. First Daughter was Laura from Little House on the Prairie. We started the party trying to guess all the characters. (Believe it or not, we had two girls dressed as Violet from The Boxcar Children.) We also played charades with book titles. I made little "books of books" for them to decorate and take home with pages to fill out on favorite books, quotes, books to read, things like that.

Favorite books: all the Little House books, the Harry Potter books (she was Ginny Weasley for Halloween), Molly's Pilgrim, Secret of the Night Ponies, and pretty much anything I read aloud.

Her gift from us was a bow and arrow. Kansas Dad found a compound bow in pink (like this one), therefore easily distinguished from her brother's bow. Now they go out and practice together. (I'm comfortable with the bows, but am adamant all other children present stand behind the archer.)

First Daughter broke her arm roller-skating early in the summer. She was out of all the action (swimming, roller-skating, bike-riding) for months! She struggled, because she loves to be outside and active. She had just successfully earned her yellow belt in taekwondo and had to stop practicing that as well.

It was a bad break, but she was a trooper through the whole ordeal. The doctors and nurses all marveled at her bubbly attitude and threshold for pain. (At one point, Kansas Dad even wondered if there might be nerve damage because she was so uncomplaining. When they assured them her nerves were fine, he started to think about Wolverine...) An adult would have needed surgery, but she managed well with a couple of different casts. In the end, she was wearing a waterproof brace, which meant we could sneak in some end-of-summer swimming. Hooray!

I discovered it was nearly impossible to keep her long hair clean and brushed with her broken arm. I convinced her to let Grammy take her to a salon to have it cut so it would be more manageable. I promised her it would grow back.

Here she is with her cute new haircut, her cute new glasses, and her arm as good as new!

After shedding the brace, we visited a state park for a last swim of the season.

Favorite games: Munchkin*, Agricola, Bohnanza, Scrambled States of America game, and Dixit.

She infuriates me sometimes when she refuses to understand idioms, but I understand she gets it honestly. Kansas Dad does the same thing; he's just better at judging whether I'm in the right mood for such things.

She talks. She chatters. She sings. She hums. She moans. She whispers. She bursts. She is almost constantly moving and constantly making noise. The only time she is still and quiet is if she's reading a book. Even then, she's often reading aloud to one of us some passage that strikes her fancy (and likely giggling so much we can barely understand her).

She told me ages ago she couldn't read signs very well, but I thought maybe she was just trying to be silly (a common occurrence). I finally took her for an exam when she complained that she couldn't read a clock. Sure enough, she needed glasses. She picked pink ones, and the super cheap ones because she's like that. (I imagine she figured she liked them well enough. I'm not sure they are very comfortable for her, though; I think I'll encourage her to upgrade a bit next year.)

Favorite foods: yogurt with fruit, chicken enchiladas, stir fry, rice, apples, pears, dumplings, egg rolls, and strawberry ice cream.

She's very helpful in the kitchen. She can make two kinds of bread, just about any muffin, and tomato soup.

First day of school - 3rd grade
First Daughter is in third grade this year. She is reading almost everything independently. I work with her on grammar and spelling (tackled in the same lesson), dictation (twice a week), memory work (because you have to recite it to someone), some science experiments and demonstrations (yeah, adults are good here), and Greek myths. She could really read the myths herself, but it's called Classic Myths to Read Aloud, so I thought I might as well.

Favorite lessons: piano, maps, and independent reading.

She insisted on doing written narrations, so I allow one a week. Her oral narrations are...let's say "thorough."

She takes piano lessons and is learning a version of Angels We Have Heard on High for the Christmas season.

Of all the children, she is the most likely to get up early and start her lessons.

Intrepid First Daughter
She loves being with other people. Once a week we spend a day on piano, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and nature study with two other families. I'm certain it's her favorite day of the week. (Packing a lunch is another great bonus. When you're homeschooled, a packed lunch is always a treat.)

She started her orthodontics this month and already has an appliance for her upper jaw. It's uncomfortable and she finds it hard to believe the next 18 months will go quickly.

She wants to do everything her big brother does, bemoaning the necessity of being in the Level 2 Catechesis class, the 3rd grade class on Sundays instead of helping in the nursery, and sitting in the pews rather than serving Mass.  She and First Son are usually together, though he is almost three years older. She does love to play Playmobil with Second Daughter, though, and sometimes bemoans the fact that she must choose between them if they both want to play with her.

First Communion in March
Last year, she was the only girl in her CCD class which she handled gracefully. This year a girl has joined her class, so she's no longer alone amongst boys.

May God bless you in the coming year, First Daughter!

* Please note that Munchkin, while a favorite game in our house, is not right for every family. Many of the cards are inappropriate (and have therefore been modified by the grown-ups here).

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