The older the girls (and Q and I) get, the faster time seems to go. I have so many thoughts about this stage of the girls’ lives and parenthood these days, but it’s been a challenge to find the time to write them down. Here, though, are a few thoughts:
-I’m continuously fascinated by what a difference 2.5 years makes in a child’s life. While the girls still share many interests (they enjoy the same games and shows, for the most part), nine is just so much more mature than six-almost-seven. It’s partially personality, not just age (of course), but Zoe can be very serious and independent – and she does things (sitting and reading thick books for hours, recording things in her various journals, for example) that are more “adult” than “kid.” Avery seems so innocent and little girl-like in comparison: She’s always bouncing around the house, jumping on top of me and Q and asking to play, and she gets really excited about small things. (You should have seen her face when she excitedly described what was happening with the chick and duck eggs in her classroom – more on that soon.) A recent event at school also clearly displayed the differences: The students were marching to a school assembly and the parents were watching. When Avery walked past, she gave me a huge, happy smile and big wave; when Zoe saw me she gave a shy half-smile and quickly looked away. It’s like we have a teenager already…
-I’m also intrigued by how different the girls are when it comes to school and learning. They’re both very happy there (phew!), but Zoe seems to have more of a natural love for academic work. She’s the type of kid who does her homework without being asked and actually gets sad when she’s on a break from school. Avery, on the other hand, often has to be prompted to do her homework and especially to read (which she is supposed to do 15-25 minutes/night, admittedly a lot for a six-year-old). In school, it can take Avery a bit longer than her sister to get things (note that this could be a product of her being one of the youngest in her class, while Zoe is one of the oldest), and she can be hesitant to pipe up if she needs help. (Her teachers say she appears to do better in a small-group setting than in a large one). But she does wind up getting things and, perhaps most importantly, she does really care: Her teachers report that she is a perfectionist who always wants to get it right and doesn’t give up until she does. So I guess in that respect, she and her sister are alike!
-For the past few months, there’s been a clear pattern with the girls’ play: First thing most mornings, and most afternoons after school, they go in the back room and play Lego Friends, Calico Critters, Barbies, or Groovy Girl dolls. Unless they have a tiff (which does happen) or we have to go somewhere, they could play together for hours. It makes me happy for many reasons: I love that they’re close, that they’ve having fun and just being kids, that they can entertain each other and give me and Q time to do other things. But I’ve felt a bit torn about it lately: If they’re always playing together, that means I’m spending less time with them. And I feel guilty about rarely joining in; I know I should, but I always wind up thinking, “They’re having fun together. Just let them be.” And it is nice to have some kid-free time even when we’re all in the house. I realize as I’m typing that this is a good problem to have, and I know from almost ten years of parenting something else: This is likely a phase, and it won’t last forever. Enjoy it while it lasts, Michelle.