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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Maggie is 11!

Maggie turns eleven tomorrow.  She is all long legs, quick temper, and thoughtful card maker.  A dream combination.  She is quick to scream at Schroeder, but she won’t neglect making him a birthday card. At Christmas, she proposed that the siblings draw names and make each other a gift.  Most of her siblings were resistant.  D’arcy said, “This idea will NOT bring me joy.”  Maggie sewed a little purple felt stuffy for Schroeder well in advance.  D’arcy drew Maggie in her Pickle (a stuffed dinosaur) Halloween costume.

Maggie chose aviator style reading glasses that make her look like Gloria Steinem in all her feminist glory.  She doesn’t know who Gloria is, but she knows she looks good. She is deeply committed to curating her look.  She often braids her hair wet to get a solid wave after two days.  Her braces have come off...for now.         

In the spring, I asked her if she wanted to play soccer.  After a year of being secluded due to Covid, I was ready to get the kids outside around their peers.  “No.”  She told me she “wasn’t a sporty girl”.  And, yet, this fall, she decided to play volleyball.  

She worked her way through watching “Boy Meets World”, one of my faves when I was her age, and has moved on to watching “Grownish” and “Blackish”.  She is definitely ready to be grownish.  She is coding and playing piano and listening to musicals on repeat.  Maggie is passionate about LGBTQ+ rights and committed to wearing a rainbow necklace and bracelet throughout Pride month.  

She attended a sleep away camp for the first time this summer.  Twice actually.  She went once with her siblings and cousins and then attended a different camp with her friend, August.  At the second camp, I dropped her off and dumped all my friend baggage on her.  “Give your friend space.  Don’t talk her ear off the whole time.  Read the room.  Be open to making other friends and taking space apart during the week.”  

For her birthday, she wanted to take a group of friends to Color Me Mine, a pottery painting studio.  We have a van full of kids heading up there tomorrow.  She asked for art supplies, fidgets, and mascara for her birthday.  She’s been going to my bathroom for a month to use my mascara.  I find myself squinting, trying to remember how old her sister was when she did such things.  They are just far enough apart that I seem to have forgotten.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

D'arcy is 17!!

D'arcy is seventeen and a senior.  She's back in school full time (for now) after a year of Covid craziness.  We are hoping this virus gets under control so she can finish up her year and go on her senior trip to Belize. 

She has a permit, a bank account, and a check book.  Her full schedule doesn't allow for a steady job, but she's out their busking and babysitting to earn some money. 

She's a night hour away from getting her license.  Her flexible schedule while doing virtual school allowed me to take her out every Wednesday last winter, and we let her drive all the way to South Carolina for vacation.  She conquered driving in downtown Atlanta and the Tennessee mountains.  She was not great at turning or staying in her lane when we started, but I think she's almost ready.  I've been the kind of driving coach that yells, "Is that how you want to die?" when she pulls out without being able to fully see what's coming.  We haven't been in too much of a hurry because she will still be predominantly taking the redline to and from school and practices. 

The redline and friends with cars has given her a lot of new freedom.  I no longer have to plan activities to fill her summer.  Instead, I'm just trying to keep track of where she's going, with who, and how she's getting there. We use an app to track her and it even gives us an idea of how fast her friends are driving.  But that doesn't replace a good ol' text from her communicating her whereabouts.  She has asked questions recently like, Can I have a beer too? and Can I sleep over at a boy's house with a whole group of friends?  She's trustworthy but I'm learning how to maintain boundaries unemotionally with teenagers.

She has a great group of friends that survived some relational challenges last winter.  They come to each other's sports games and exchange baked goods at Christmas and birthdays.  They play tennis, picnic, swim, watch movies, and play frustrated games of monopoly.  It's beautiful to see your child loved. 

It delights me to watch her hit serves playing JV volleyball and lose with class on the tennis court.  She ministers to me when she sings up front at church.  She is toying with the idea of going to IU (Indiana University) next year.  She wants to major in a math or science, minor in music, and have some sort of cross cultural experience.  I want her to really consider the financial implications of college without closing her mind to possibility.  It's fun to feel the change coming but not have it fully revealed yet. 

Until then, you'll find her in her third floor walk up attic apartment (that happened this year!) writing essays to finish IB, watching New Girl or Gilmore girls on repeat, listening to musicals, making delicious macarons or playing Olivia Rodrigo on the piano.

I have been rewatching Friday Night Lights, and when Tami Taylor said this, I teared up. "I got my dream.  I went to a good school. I got the degree I wanted. I met your dad, and I had you.  You're my dream, baby.  I got what I wanted.  I got it all.  And now it's your job to dream up whatever you want, and I will support you to the ends of the earth to do that." Excited to see what's ahead for this gal.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Penelope (DaBaby) turned 8!

Penelope turned eight at the end of May.  She's a little thing with a confident, independent spirit.  She likes a good anime and often turns on her lo-fi hip hop music to chill.  She (briefly) started studying Japanese on Duolingo so she could eventually stop using subtitles. She thinks her bangs hanging in her face give her an anime look, but they make me crazy! 

She loves to draw.  I find her often with a sharpie in her hand.  And she wrote the sweetest little book that I think is good enough to publish. She prefers a cold can of sparkling water, and tells some seriously bad jokes.  An example would be, "Don't be sad because sad backwards is das and das not good." She plays a whole lot of Roblox, and is always wanting to spend her money on Robux which to me is the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet.

Like all her other siblings this year, she celebrated with a backyard movie party.  She wanted to watch Dumbo live action because her siblings never want to watch it with her.  She invited a few of her fave friends from school including a couple of boys she became better friends with during Covid.  While we waited for the sun to go down, they got some Nicey treats and tattoos and played at the park.

Penelope played soccer for the first time. She played defense, and it was so thrilling to see her stand her ground with boys much taller than her as I screamed from the sideline.  She said winning makes soccer more fun and would often have a gut feeling about whether they would win on the way to a game. 

All her siblings went to sleep away camp this summer, but it still makes me nervous to think of my littlest bit swimming in a lake without me.  She was happy to be an only child for the week, though.  She angled me into buying her some new shoes while they were gone.  She wanted Crocs and I thought if I bought her the exact shoe she desired (with clouds and rainbows), she might keep them on.  Keeping shoes on is an ongoing fight with Penelope   Unfortunately, she is just as likely to take them off and complain that her feet hurt or are too hot.

She did get to host a bearded dragon in her room for a week this summer.  Her second grade class pet was taking a summer tour around Indy.  P was already familiar with holding and feeding him mealworms.  We kept him in her room so Georgia wouldn't lose her mind.  Nacho decided to shed his skin while he was at our place.  I secretly loved him.

Despite Covid, Penelope rocked second grade.  She was proud to "finish" dreambox (a companion online math program), and her reading exploded.  At the beginning of the year, she only wanted to read graphic novels.  Other books "didn't have enough pictures" she said, but she decided to reread a book I had read aloud to her about a pig in the city.  Then, she read the follow up book. Plain ole novels became appealing, and she also decided she would add pigs to the list of animals she loved.  Now she has two stuffed pigs, a cork pig that she made at craft club with our neighbor Rebecca, and two ceramic pigs that used to be my mom's.  (My mom collected pigs in the '90's.)

All the older kids can't believe she's feels so old for someone they remember being born.  Forever that baby we all love.