Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dear Gwen: Month Seventy-Two

Dear Gwen,
Today you are seventy-two months old.  Six whole years of Gwen.

You continue to astound us with your creativity, your humour, and your joy.  I recently had a meeting with your teacher, where she spilled the beans on a secret you've been keeping from us: YOU CAN READ, like totally full-on read.  You little stinker, why didn't you tell us?  Maybe you thought we'd stop reading to you if we knew the truth, but in any case, the word is out.  Mrs. Murray told me that the class had received a letter, and you, having never seen the letter before, nonetheless picked it up and read the whole thing out loud to the class.  BECAUSE YOU CAN READ.  She also told me that an Educational Aide is coming to the class a couple times a week to help you with a Grade One reader, a book that no one else in the class is working on.  We are so proud of you!  When we questioned you about this, you didn't seem to think it was a big deal, although you admitted you were really enjoying the reader.  Rock on, Gwen!

Your math skills are also really impressive.  We had the following exchange a couple of weeks ago:
Mom: There are twenty altogether, half on this side and half on that side.
Gwen: So ten on this side, and ten on that side.

It took me a minute to realize you'd just divided twenty in half, without even being directed to do so.  You are clearly a genius!

 A big milestone happened this month: you lost your first tooth.  It took me by surprise, since I'd been told by other, more experienced moms that "even once it starts to wiggle, it can take 4-6 weeks to come out, so don't get too excited."  You and I were both excited about your "wiggler", but I downplayed it somewhat, knowing it could still be a long wait until any real action took place.  I certainly still have memories of my own wiggly teeth, hanging by a thread for what seemed like week after excruciating week, and the knowledge that actually pulling it out would hurt, even as the flapping tooth itself drove me crazy and got in my way.  All of this was still a long way off, I thought, which was why when you came home from after-school club last week and asked me to look at you, I nearly flipped my lid to see a perfect little gap where your tooth used to be.  I hadn't even had a chance to warn you that sometimes it hurt!  And there would be blood!  And here you were, one tooth short and proud as anything, and I hadn't even been there at the big moment! 

Apparently the moment came and went without much fanfare at all: it didn't hurt, you told me, and it hadn't bled.  You had bit into a granola bar at after-school club and POP, out it came.  One of the leaders quickly rescued it and put it into a Ziploc bag for you, thank goodness, because now it's time for the TOOTH FAIRY!  Your heroic dad produced a perfect little box for you to decorate with stickers and pictures, and encouraged you to put your tooth inside, with no mention of the traditional "under the pillow".  The next morning, before even waking up fully, you told me in a thick sleepy voice that the Tooth Fairy must have come, and that you needed to check immediately.  You were pretty thrilled with the $2 she left for you.

This month also marked the beginning of your long-awaited Hip Hop class, which you are really enjoying.  You have learned some good moves, like the bounce, the grapevine, and the hip rock, as well as revisited some old favourites like "jump across the river" (which seems to be a staple in any children's dance class, no matter the genre).  You continue to be challenged by the concept of staying on task and focusing on the teacher's instructions for the entire 45-minute class, but despite your need for redirection, you are clearly learning, with some choreography being repeated and shown off at home.  I hope as your attention span gets longer that you will be able to attend dance and other physical classes, at is is obviously something you enjoy.

I wrote last month about your interest in making and sending cards for the people you love.  You decided recently to "mail" a card to Dad, and after I convinced you that you didn't actually need a stamp (because they are expensive!), you agreed to just put the card in our mailbox, which hangs on the outside of our gate.  When you finished the card (complete with envelope), you put on your coat and boots, marched out to the gate, REACHED UP AND OPENED IT, walked out, then reached up on your tiptoes to put the envelope inside the mailbox.  Then walked back into the yard, closed the gate, and came back into the house.  It seems like only last week that we built a fence to keep our future offspring safely trapped inside, but clearly, you are only here because you choose to be.  What a startling revelation.

Your passion for arts and crafts continues unabated, and our house is full to bursting with your creations.  You brought home yet another interesting picture the other day, and hastened to explain to me what it was: a girl with wings, flying over a mole, "like in my poetry book."  I knew exactly which book you meant, and even what poem.  Here they are, side by side: Frank Newfield's illustration for Dennis Lee's poem "Flying Out of Holes", and your interpretive fan art.

Well, that's it for this month, Gwen.  We are really excited about celebrating your sixth birthday with you, and all the things this next year will bring.  We love you bigger than space, and are so happy to be your parents.


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