Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear Gwen: Month Seventy

Dear Gwen, 
Today you are seventy months old. It’s only two months until your sixth birthday, and I have to admit, that concept is causing me a fair amount of difficulty. Six years old? I just can’t fathom it, honestly. Five years old was amazing, a milestone to be sure, but six is a real departure – a genuine transition from child to big kid. I am not ready to be the mom of a six-year-old. But of course, I get no say in the matter.

You continue to enjoy school a lot, and it seems you are getting fewer time-outs now, which is wonderful.  You recently told us of a play your class was doing in Music/Drama class: “Green Cheese Pie,” wherein a group of astronauts travel to the moon to see if it is really made out of green cheese, meet the Moonkins who live there, and then eat green cheese pie with the Man in the Moon.  You were one of the astronauts.  You also told us about a day when, at centre time, your teacher got out the Play-Doh for the first time, and while all the other kids rushed to play with the Play-Doh, you leisurely made your way through each of the other centres, enjoying the fact that you had each centre all to yourself.  Your dad and I laughed so much when we heard about this, because it is EXACTLY what we would have done!  For some reason, this prompted your teacher to name you “Queen of the Centres”, a title that we understand has never been bestowed previously.  You are, of course, pretty stoked about this!

We have added a new hobby to our list recently – geocaching.  After trying this out with our friend Ryan and his mom a few months ago, I decided to download the app and try it ourselves.  The first time I suggested this as a weekend activity, you went crazy with joy and COULD NOT WAIT to try it.  You and I ended up going out to one geocache at a local playground, which coincided with a playdate we had there with a friend – and then when the playdate was finished, we headed home to pick up Dad and went wandering in our own neighbourhood to find two more caches.  Three successful caches in one day!  It was pretty fun, and of course you were crazy about the concept of treasure hunting.  I think we will be doing more of this in the future.


Our friend Val gave you a bit of a sewing lesson this month.  I had posted on Facebook that I wanted to buy a remote control holder, because we now have FIVE various remote controls and without some way to corral them all, they end up being strewn about in countless random locations throughout the house and THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY I JUST WANT TO WATCH TV WHERE IS THE BLASTED REMOTE.  Anyway, Val responded that it would be really easy to sew one myself, and I responded that it might be easy for her but it wouldn’t be easy for me, and she insisted that it was so easy my five-year-old could do it, and I said, “GREAT, I will bring her by on Thursday.”  And so it was that you and I showed up at the church’s quilting night, wherein various people bring their sewing and quilting projects and get to use the giant tables in the church hall to spread out their work.  We brought Timbits to bribe Val for her help – she provided the fabric (pre-cut!), the thread, the sewing machine, and the plan.  You and Val worked the sewing machine while I sat nearby and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to contribute to this project.

Eventually – and unsurprisingly, as it was the end of a long day and SEWING IS BORING – you lost interest in the project and ended up playing on my phone while Val finished sewing.  Val would be very annoyed if I did not mention that I ironed some of the fabric in between all the sewing, but that was my sole contribution to the project – you and she did everything else.  The finished product looks and functions great, and I am so pleased with it!  You seemed to have fun with sewing (until you got bored of it), and hopefully you will try it again someday.  I am glad to have people like Val around to teach you these skills that you will NEVER learn from me.  Also, because I can’t possibly let a teachable moment pass me by, I pointed out to you that I had tried sewing a lot of times and was still absolutely no good at it, and that in life you would be really good at some things, pretty good at lots of things, and absolutely terrible at other things – that you would not get to be super awesomely good at every single thing you tried, and that that was perfectly okay.  (This may have been because I had just watched the “Beginner Pottery” episode of Community).

You are starting to be able to read, and it’s pretty amazing.  I suspect you can actually read more than you think you can, but I have to be pretty crafty about the moments I choose to push and the moments I don’t.  You can get quite resistant to the process and I definitely don’t want reading to be unpleasant for you, or for you to feel that once you can read by yourself, Mom and Dad won’t read to you anymore.  So I always try to let you have a good mix.  Sometimes you get on quite a roll and it is really something to see – I think you even surprise yourself with it.  I see a similar process happening with piano – you are more capable than you think you are, but somehow not as capable as you feel you should be, so this stresses you out and sometimes prevents you from trying at all.  I have to work hard to keep the experience light and fun and positive for you, but in both cases I feel it is completely worth these efforts and that your confidence will improve with time.

Here is a page you read to me a few days ago:

This is not something I want to talk about in your newsletter, Gwen, but I have to.  A couple of weeks ago, our house was broken into and several valuable things were taken from us.  Dozens of pieces of jewelry – some cheap, some expensive, many irreplaceable, all sentimental – are gone.  Our Playstation, which we used as a DVD and Blu-Ray player, is gone.  And most devastatingly, the computer which had your entire life documented in photos and videos is gone.  I feel absolutely heartsick over that loss, and so angry at the people who took those precious memories from us.  This blog is so closely linked with those photos: I include photos here with every post, and each year I put together a lengthy musical slide show on your birthday.  This means, on the one hand, that I can download the photos I’ve previously posted here back to a computer – they are not lost, as hundreds and thousands of others are.  But on the other hand, it means that I don’t have much to post here that I haven’t already posted.  The photos for this year’s slideshow are going to be much more scarce, and that makes me really sad.  I try to tell myself that your dad and I grew up without having hundreds of gigabytes of digital evidence of our adorableness, but that doesn’t take away all the sadness of this loss.

But, just so this post doesn’t end on a down note, here is a video I still have (because it’s still on my phone): the video of you singing, “Canada in My Pocket”.

I love you to the moon and back, my Gwen, and I’m so glad you’re my daughter.  Thanks for bringing us so much joy and laughter, even in the midst of difficult times.  I hope you know how proud we are of you, today and every day.  





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