I’ve been a mother for eight years now and I’m like 75% sure I’m not doing it right. It’s unfortunate that there’s no real way to tell until I’ve really screwed up. I need a warning sign somewhere between “isn’t always happy in group settings” and “burns down the house”, but right now I’ll have to settle for “says he’s part of The Dark Side but gives really good hugs”.
I can’t even begin to sum up Evan in a post the way I do for babies, because when you are eight you are a whole human person. He understands things like reading and math and sarcasm and other important life skills. He is old enough to be trusted with important jobs and responsible enough that I can tell him the rules and I am mostly sure he will follow them. We’re getting close to being allowed to stay home alone, which might be the most real milestone I can imagine.
He can ride a bike, read a novel, carry the laundry upstairs, pay for something at the store, make his siblings breakfast in the morning, do all the dog-related chores and work all the technology in the house.
And here is Evan in his own words. Happy Birthday buddy, we love you so much!
Six is a lot of years. It’s one-third of the way to 18, which I immediately regret both thinking and typing. But there is no denying Evan is a big kid, well on his way to being a full grown human who barely even needs me. He’s way too busy watching Star Wars while building Star Wars Legos while playing Star Wars Legos on the iPad to even notice I’m offering him food.
Evan actually asked to be left at Kid’s Quest for his birthday. That’s the child care half of the arcade at the casino – for the low low price of $11/hour you can gamble while they entertain the crap out of your kids. It’s an excellent strategy for the casinos since kids aren’t allowed on the gaming floors. And they are REALLY GOOD at entertaining the kids. Which is why Evan asked us to leave him there for his birthday. I basically begged him to hang out with us as a family instead, starting a long slow descent into me being his super uncool mom.
I felt sort of guilty all weekend that Evan wasn’t getting a Big Party. It was what everyone (both family and not family) expects and what the kids are used to when it comes to birthdays. But now that he’s in school and has a whole list of friends I’ve literally never met I figured we could switch over to “fun activity that in the future we can invite a few close friends to join us in doing”. After he opened his presents on Sunday night he declared turning 6 was the best birthday ever, so obviously my guilt was unnecessary and he still felt special for his special weekend.
Evan is a super nice, fairly sensitive kid who is a total people pleaser. I’m focused on being more mindful of that trait and working with his teacher to make sure she keeps it in mind when he’s struggling in class. Last week she had to call me because he was sitting in a chair refusing to do the ONE worksheet he needed to finish before he had free choice for the rest of the day. She said it happened the week before and he had literally sat, pouting, head down for 2 full hours. I asked her if it was possible he had made a mistake (he had) and was just upset with himself (he was) and if she could maybe offer him a hug before she gave up and punished him (she did). It turned out that was all he needed: he bounced right back to the happy, sweet kid who wants to do a good job and I got nice notes the rest of the week assuring me he was behaving perfectly.
So what I’m saying is having a kid that’s old enough to be upset for ACTUAL REASONS instead of things like “cut their strawberries to small” or “asked them to put their shoes on” or “changed their diaper” is pretty cool. Even if you do hear a lot more fart jokes.
Here’s how we celebrated the big S I X.
Dinner at Margaritaville, because what kid doesn’t love watching a giant blender fill up with tequila? (No, that’s a serious question, the kids love that part.)
MOAR BABY GOATS:
Cake and presents:
Evan’s birthday interview:
(Please ignore the Caroline and Lincoln background noise, they were actually really quite compared to their regular volume.)
Today my baby girl is turning fourteen. No wait. FOUR. She’s turning four. But sometimes it sure feels like she’s turning fourteen, with the sass and the attitude and the confidence and the hilarious things that come out of her mouth. She wants a pink unicorn for Christmas – a REAL unicorn, not an imaginary unicorn. And not a purple one. A PINK one. I told her maybe Santa didn’t have room in the sleigh for a unicorn so she could maybe ask for something smaller and she agreed toy ponies would be OK for now. She’s accommodating like that.
She has asked to take tap dancing lessons now that she is four. I’m not really looking forward to all the tap dancing practice that is sure to follow, but since she stomps around “tap dancing” in her sneakers anyway it really matters very little if she’s signed up or not. Caroline loves to perform and if you ask her she will sing you a completely improvised song about a mermaid who looses her baby and then finds her again and lives happily ever after, complete with an interpretive dance, since everything includes an interpretive dance. Getting her coat on involves an interpretive dance. Brushing her teeth involves an interpretive dance. Screaming about how I ruined her life involves an interpretive dance.
Caroline is VERY excited about her birthday plans. Tonight she and I are going to see The Nutcracker at Mohegan Sun. It looks fancy, with an orchestra and a chance to meet the dancers. I’m just as excited as she is, since I really really want her to love it. I have a very magical memory of going to see The Nutcracker when I was little and I’m hoping this can be a tradition for us on her birthday. Then Saturday we have her mermaid party. I feel less prepared than I have been in previous years (being trapped inside by the cold limits my water-based games and activities) but between a zillion different kinds of sugar to feed the kids and plans to fill the house with balloons I think the kids will have a good time. And if not Caroline can do some more interpretive dances for them.
Happy Birthday to the craziest, happiest, sweetest, bravest, most adorable little pixie mermaid ginger I know, Caroline Noelle!
Please enjoy Caroline’s 4 year old interview. Last year’s interview is here. I let her watch it just before this year, so she answered some of the questions the same to be funny, not because they’re true. She’s too stubborn to argue with though.
I asked her this morning how she liked being four, and she said “How about I try on all my shoes and see which ones fit me. Cause I’m four and four is BIG BIG BIGGER.” Sounds like a plan.
Bonjour! No I'm not French, it just sounded fancy. Sorry for the confusion. I'm Suzanne, a 33-year-old mom, photographer, Navy wife, blogger, baker, and amateur at pretty much everything else. The stars of the show are Evan, born 4/5/09, Caroline, born 12/19/2010 and Lincoln, born 7/23/2014, with baby number FOUR due at the end of August 2016. We live in Connecticut and enjoy it very much except for most of February and March. You can find more of my photos (or even hire me!) over on my photography site, Ginger Snaps Pictures. I love hearing from you so if you have questions, stories or ideas to share, email me at email@example.com .
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