Our girl is six!

I love seeing the ways she is drawn to certain activities. She loves making art and will spend hours or days working on a series. She's creative with her use of materials, often layering paper and cloth or bits of trash from the recycling bin. She plays around with attaching things in different ways. She doesn't ask first, how to do something. She dives in. Sometimes it's messy.

Her knife skills are improving and she can help with chopping fruits and vegetables.

Last year at this time she wouldn't even ride on the balance bike, but a friend's birthday party at the Wheel Mill - an indoor bike park near our house - helped her gain some confidence, and by spring she was riding a two wheel pedal bike with no training wheels. She ran a race and got a trophy for first place in her age group. She runs through the woods so light on her feet that even M is impressed. She can climb up and over anything and when she jumps down from something high, she reminds me of a cat. Wednesdays are her favorite day of the week because that is the day for gymnastics class.

She learned to read. Her penmanship still needs work, but she spends lots of time writing. She leaves us notes, grocery lists, copies of her daily schedule and stories. I often find post-it notes around the house, labeling various objects. She reads short books on her own, but also is really into listening to audio books - which for some reason we all call "books on tape" even though none of them are ever on a cassette tape!  We read chapter books to her before bed. We've read nearly the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series together this year.

She loves listening to the classical radio station and asks us lots of questions about things she hears the DJ's say.

She started kindergarten. Even though she was attending a public Montessori school for the last two years that was a "big kid" school in many ways, this seemed like a huge milestone. She started at a new school right in our neighborhood that has a pretty heavy environmental focus. Her interest in animals and plants has deepened and I learn a lot from her. She lost two teeth. She became a regular customer for a few vendors at the weekly market and handled lots of transactions completely on her own.

We moved her into her own room when cousin Sam moved out. I think it's really good for her to have her own space, away from Marko. She still sneaks into our bed some nights, though.

She still talks all the damn time and is quite forward and friendly with anyone she meets when we go around town, friend or stranger, child or adult. Our annual ice cream social was the highlight of her summer and she went door to door to invite neighbors. She is quick to find playmates, but she doesn't have anything like a best friend. She can have a quick temper, with us especially. She stomps and throws things when she's mad, and has a very low tolerance for anything she perceives as unfair. She's a great big sister, maybe a little too bossy sometimes, but is right there for her brother when he needs her.

When I think back six years ago, to the weeks and months when she first came into our lives, her Laurel-ness was apparent from the beginning. It's so obvious in retrospect, but I remember all the daydreaming and wondering that I did about what she would be like once she was out of the baby stage. But in so many ways, she was telling us who she was even back then.

Our job as her parents is not to train her to be a certain way, although that is sometimes tempting to me, but rather to help her be the best Laurel she can be. Now that the early labor-intensive years of hands-on parenting are more or less over with her, we are easing our way into the next stage. It involves more emotional pain on my part, because it means letting her make her own mistakes and sometimes these are hard to witness. But sometimes those mistakes lead to such incredible growth or take her in an unexpected direction, and it makes me look forward to the years ahead.

Happy 6th birthday, Laurel!

1 comment:

Mary McKinley said...

What a lovely look back to see how far she and you have come. She's such a treasure. Thank you for sending the picture of her opening my birthday present. That made me so happy. I've thought of her art a lot as I've been viewing so many Georgia o'Keeffe paintings and scenes in this beautiful country that is so new to me. Love, Aunt Mary