Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anna at Six

Oh, my sweet child. Where to start this post? You have grown and changed so much over the last year - that I find myself searching your face for glimpses of the baby girl I first held in my arms.
It is so hard to believe you are already six - it seems like a moment ago that I heard your first cries and looked deep into your eyes. Yet - it is hard to recall my life without you in it - it feels as if yo u have always been with me - always been a part of me - that I can't quite remember you not being here. You were (and still are) the blessed answer to our prayers - the joyous ending to a long struggle to start our family. You are the first child - the eldest sibling - the first person to make me a mother.

I am so blessed.
At six years old you are striving to gain your independence. I'm having a hard time letting you go - not because I want to hold you back - but rather because I marvel at your capabilities. You are such a smart, articulate, outgoing little girl - with the know-how and determination to do just about anything you set your mind to.
You love to help - and while you may not want to start to help (because you are absorbed in whatever other task happens to be occupying you when I ask for assistance) - once you start - you want to do more. Just the other day I was cleaning the downstairs of our house - sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom - and I asked you to help pick up some things you'd left in the living room. At first you protested - then came 'round and decided you wanted to help - only to be angry that I'd already finished dusting - and you didn't get to help spray the cleaner and wipe up.

You love to draw, color, paint, sculpt - basically do anything involving art. I think this is how you decompress after a full day - or how you settle yourself if you are overwhelmed. I've come to learn that when you are in a new situation and start looking around for a piece of paper and a pen - you need some space. And your drawings are so good! So very very good. I try not to be biased (as I'm your mother, and by default, think you are brilliant.) But so many other moms, teachers, bible school teachers, random people in restaurants stop me to say 'oh, my - she is so good at drawing!' that it's hard not to believe you have a special gift when it comes to art.

You are articulate. We laugh and joke that you are five going on thirteen -but the reality is - you are now six going on twenty-six. Seriously. I wonder sometimes how you have grasped the English language so well - and marvel at your extensive vocabulary. Perhaps it comes from the hours upon hours we've read to you - from the time you were a newborn (actually before - we were the dorky parents who read to you in utero) until now. I'm so thankful you still love to read. I can't imagine having a child that doesn't appreciate a good book, or the feel of pages in fingers as you turn them - eagerly anticipating what happens next in the story. I love that we've instilled this in you.

And your reading skills are coming right along. You are reading at a high level for your age - at least your class. You are very ahead of the curve - so much so that your Daddy and I are worried that you might not be challenged enough in school. You breezed right through the list of "High Frequency Words"your teacher sent home at the first of the year. And the 'homework' assignments have not challenged you in the least. Thankfully we'll meet with your teacher soon - to determine the best path to keep you working and not allow you the opportunity to get bored.

You have a lovely demeanor - and funny sense of humor. You help me remember that life is imperfect and messy at times - and to look for the silliness around me. You love to smile and giggle and be silly - all attributes of a fun six year old girl. You still love to play dress up - to play with your Barbies - and with your 'daughter' (a doll you received for Christmas last year from Santa.) You play so well by yourself - are so independent - that you easily lose track of time when you are wrapped up in your pretend world.

You are always thinking - sometimes I think I can actually see your brain working - the wheels spinning in your head. I see you whispering to yourself as you work something out - as you ponder the answers to the questions you ask - compartmentalizing and filing them away.
Which sometimes, okay, often times, leads to problems for you ... as you tend to be so wrapped up in your thoughts that you don't hear when we're talking to you - or sometimes don't respond very well. Meaning we have to ask you several times to do one thing - and even then you don't realize or remember what we've asked - because your mind is elsewhere. And we're working on that - helping you stay focused on the adults speaking to you - so that you stay on track. Thankfully, this has not posed an issue for you at school - it only seems to happen with mommy and daddy.....

You adore your little brothers, and love to play with them. At times, bossing them around - big-sister syndrome and all. Which isn't so much of an issue yet for Jack - but is for James - when he doesn't want to play your way. But we're working on that - and I know you are trying hard to be the good big sister - and lead by example. By showing and exhibiting patience with them. (Which is a hard thing for me to do myself - the most impatient person on the planet.)
But all in all - you are a love. You try your best at everything you do. You give the sweetest hugs and the biggest kisses, and nightly ask me to sing you a lullaby while I stroke your hair and you drift off to sleep.
I am so proud of you. I wish I could somehow fully explain just how much I love you - my little Giovanna - my six year old baby girl who is growing up right before my very eyes.
So on this day - on September 21, 2010 - I wish you a very happy birthday.
With many more to come.

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