Thursday, August 25, 2016

Second Daughter's Birthday Post: Eight Years Old

Last month, Second Daughter turned eight years old. For her birthday, she received a parakeet, courtesy of her parents and grandparents. (The bird isn't very expensive, but she also needed a cage, toys, food, and all such things.) It's a blue and white one, quite pretty.

Second Daughter has been less excited about pancakes-as-big-as-your-head for her birthday breakfast than the other kids, so this year Kansas Dad started her day with ooey-gooey-cinnamon-bars from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. (Oh, yes, they are heavenly. You can find lots of delicious recipes on the website, but this one is only in the cookbook.)

For her birthday dinner, she requested ribs. Usually we wouldn't be quite so extravagant, but we had some ribs in the freezer from a sale and Kansas Dad loves to eat them even more than Second Daughter does. It's another Smitten Kitchen recipe. (I'm sensing a theme for our celebratory recipes.)

We co-hosted a birthday party with a dear friend of hers who turned seven a bit later. They had a bird painting party. My contribution was this dirt cake (made with all gluten-free goodies given to us by another friend!).

Kansas Dad said it was "a fine example of its genre" and that's about as good as it gets with me and birthday cakes. The painted bird cookies were something else altogether, a contribution from the co-host family. Aren't they beautiful?

Second Daughter's current favorite foods: ribs, spaghetti (without sauce), Smitten Kitchen chocolate peanut butter cake, enchiladas without sauce on top, yogurt without fruit chunks. Vegetables of all stripes and colors are her least favorite foods.

Second Daughter loves to play in sand. She likes to sit and let it run through her fingers, onto her clothes or shoes or into a pile. Our recent camping trip to the Rocky Mountains was like heaven for her. Just look at all that sandy dirt right at the campground!

Oh, and water. Second Daughter loves water! She'll still pour water from one container into another in the sink. Back and forth, until inevitably something spills.

Second Daughter excelled in her swimming lessons. She was disappointed in being paired with Second Son; she thought he held her back. She insists she can do whatever the older two do in the pool, and perhaps she can.

The girls have been taking a sewing class at a coop. I never expected them to learn as much as they have since they only meet for an hour once a month but it's really been amazing. One of the best aspects is how they'll patch together little bits of cloth to make gifts. Second Daughter made a yellow-bellied marmot for her grandmother. Just because.

She's just started second grade and is excited because she'll receive First Communion next spring. She started piano this year, too. We were prepared to limit the lessons to five or ten minutes but she's done so well she's having thirty minute lessons just like the older two.

first day of school
For the first time, she's reading a few books and narrating them to me. So far, I am totally impressed. Her narrations from Saints for Young Readers for Every Day are detailed and lively. She asked for more books to read independently and narrate, so I'm considering our options. Quite a few of the second grade books I've selected are still too hard for her, I think. Then again, she recently decided to read the Harry Potter books so perhaps she can manage more than I think she can. (That's almost certainly true.)

Her favorite lesson is science, which is a continued study of Birds using The Burgess Bird Book for Children (we have a different version) and a coloring book. She also claims to enjoy handwriting and copywork. Her least favorite lesson is dictation.

Her favorites books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Junie B. Jones series, the Little House series, lots of bird books (especially those with colorful birds of the parrot family).

Her favorite games: Skippity, really just about anything anyone will play with her, though she's on a Munchkin* strike at the moment (angry about something her brother did to her character in the game, though I'm not sure she remembers quite what he did)

She will often skip her screen time, preferring instead to read and watch the others play. (This may have something to do with her options now that our two first generation Kindle Fires finally died.)

She loved crafts of all kinds. We have a craft bin full of bits and pieces of paper and crafty materials that she digs into on a regular basis. We have a new book for her art this year and I think she's going to love it. The very first week she was painting with watercolor crayons.

She begged to play soccer and waited very patiently for the fall, so we're going to give U10 a try. (First Daughter will play as well as they can be on the same team.) She taught herself to ride a bike and also loves to roller-skate and ride a scooter.

Second Daughter is a wonderful friend to our goddaughter, who is three and just adores Second Daughter. We're with them about once a week and she almost always includes the little one in the play.

I was reading over last year's birthday post for Second Daughter and marvel at how much is still the same. She loves the same play and games, being outside, observing birds, and reading. She still makes me crazy by saying "Don't worry, Mom" when I know very well that means to increase my worrying!

May God bless you, Second Daughter, in this momentous year!

* 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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