If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you might have noticed that I don’t share much personal info about my girls anymore. I never made a conscious decision to “retire” them from the blog, but as they’ve grown out of toddlerhood into bona fide kids, I’ve tried to respect their privacy as I would anyone else’s. This is a learning process for me, as it is for many bloggers I think: how to write about our real lives without violating the real people in them. It’s been a challenge trying to find my place on the continuum between Anne Lamott’s permission to write about anything that’s ever happened to us and Darren Prince’s conviction that we shouldn’t publish encounters with other people without their consent, and I don’t always get it right. Sometimes I regret having used someone else—even anonymously—as an example. Other times, I regret that I didn’t share a story out of fear that it might offend someone. And what about the times when I’m aching to dedicate a blog post to my girls but don’t want to trespass on their privacy?
Well, that’s not actually a hard one, in the end…
Natalie and Sophie have read this post and given me permission to proceed, though Sophie contends that it’s too short. I guess this just means we’ll have to do it again soon! </disclaimer>
I used to write monthly letters to the girls but stopped being able to keep up with them when I got a job a few years back. Once I found time to restart the habit, so many months had passed that the whole thing overwhelmed me, like an overflowing bin of photos waiting to be scrapbooked. I tried a couple of times to write backdated letters—how cool would it be if the girls could go into adulthood with a keepsake letter for every month of their childhood?—but the project had gotten too big, and I was too busy, and it is with no small amount of disappointment now that I admit that ship has sailed.
My longing to remember and preserve the infinite editions of these two rapidly growing girls has not abated, but I’m trying to allow myself the grace to be just their mom, not their biographer. “Pics or it didn’t happen” does not apply to mamalove, no matter how many moments we forget to Instagram. Still though, I don’t want this stage of life to slip by without a memorial, without my taking the time to acknowledge and marvel and really see this nine-year-old and this six-year-old that somehow, inexplicably, are mine.
So without further disclaimers or ado, here are my favorite things about these ages:
What I love about 9-years-old
- 9 always has something to say. ALWAYS. Even while she is brushing her teeth, her mind is so full of exciting bits of information that she can’t help it if a few burst out. She’s always ready to offer helpful advice or fill in knowledge gaps in a conversation (Seriously, how does the girl know so much?? I would be afraid to go up against her in Jeopardy), and when she talks about her plans for the future—currently, to be an artist/scientist—you’re liable to find yourself lifted right off your feet by her enthusiasm.
- 9 is an emotional rainbow, covering a wide and dazzling range of moods in any given day. This can be… exhausting. But it can also be beautiful and mesmerizing, like watching a newly hatched butterfly unfold in increments. Plus, I find new admiration for my daughter every time she identifies her own emotions and tries to work with them (as opposed to my lifelong strategy of bingeing on sugar and waiting for it all to go away).
- 9 is an infinite loop of curiosity and creativity. She devours books and films, absorbing details that I never would have noticed, and then sprinkles elements of them into her own fantastic stories and drawings. (If you ever come to visit, I’ll show you her “Car Wars” poster above my writing desk. It’s every bit as awesome as you’d imagine.)
- 9 is officially a Big Kid, something my mama-brain struggles to keep up with. I’m still getting used to the aura of capability around her, the responsibility she takes both for herself and for any younger kids she might be with. I watched from the balcony today as she walked her little sister home from school, hand in hand, and it made my heart feel tender to the touch… both because she’s growing up so quickly and because she’s doing it so well.
What I love about 6-years-old
- 6 is hilarious—uninhibited, mischievous, and endlessly entertaining. This child makes us laugh more than any comedian, ever. She’s a genius at inappropriate humor, a master of comic timing, and the author and perfecter of the gratuitous shimmy. I cannot imagine life without her gap-toothed giggle, so I guess this means she’ll need to stay six forever. That would be just fine with me.
- 6 approaches every single area of life with earnest. The way this kid runs—pell-mell forward, full-speed-ahead—reflects the way she goes about learning and loving too. She puts her whole weight into creative pursuits and her whole heart into relationships. She feels everything full-strength… and this is a strength for her, because a sensitive and open soul has the capacity to love the whole world. And she does.
- 6 has the energy of about 37 healthy adults. Where it comes from, I can’t imagine, unless she took most of mine in-utero and is now cloning it in some secret lab accessible only by hula-hoop. She never walks when she could be running or stands still when she could be dancing. Even her eyes are boisterous (see photo above). Simply writing this paragraph makes me want a nap, but I have to admit, it can be fun to have people around who keep you on your toes. Especially ones you can put to bed at 8:30.
- 6 is a snugglebug. She’s as affectionate as a puppy, and cuddling with her before bed helps me forget my sadness that we’re done with the baby stage. There is something deeply healing about having a child melt against you, comforted by your closeness; is it any wonder that 6-years-old leaves me melting in response?