I can’t believe another year has passed. Bee-girl is eight – EIGHT! And I’m pretty sure she’d tell you that turning eight is super-great, despite the blues little sister someone was feelin’ last night. (I’m not really holding her to them – she was worn out after a very exciting birthday weekend at her dad’s house.) When she’s not lingering on everything she can’t do or get away with anymore, Bee girl is smashingly, fantastically so full of Bee-ness that it takes my breath away. Sure she has her shy moments, but I’ve never met a child more confident and sure of who she is. Not that Bee’s confidence spills over into everything she does – she stumbles and falters like anyone else. No, I mean more about who she is. I know 30-somethings who aren’t as sure of themselves as my Bee-girl!
Which is why I am very confident about the things Bee likes and no-way-Jose does not like (at all!). Because she will either bowl you over with a tackle hug or give you her patented Really? flick of the eyes when confronted with them.
10 Things Bee-girl Is Madly, Crazy in Love With:
1. Annoying her sister. One of my favorite things that emerged as Bee came even more into her own this year was the realization that she can both adore her sister and try to annoy the bejeezus outta her. It’s like Bee said to herself, Wait a minute. Nothing bad happens if I step out of my sister’s shadow. Even if I then blow a raspberry at her. Like Bee’s new persona “Stacey” that she came up with because everyone says how much she looks like Gracie. So she invented an evil twin – and then ran with it when she noticed that it drove. Gracie. ba-na-nas. Didn’t hurt that the grown-ups all cracked up, too, so Bee feels like she’s sharing a joke with them. All the power!
2. Fashion. Bee calls herself “a fashion girl” and it’s true – she loves clothes, shoes, and anything to do with clothes and shoes. She pulls together the cutest outfits (some that I never would have put together), will make fashion boards with outfits cut from magazines, has fashion shows with her Barbies and Polly Pockets, and will sit for hours if I get her a sticker book filled with outfits and dolls to dress. As long as Bee-girl doesn’t get lost in the weeds and get hung up on appearances, I’m good with the obsession. It’s nice to have something all your own.
3. Chocolate. Bee is silly enough to think she loves chocolate more than I do…but even I have to admit, it’s close. Sometimes if we’re going out to eat and there aren’t any options that Bee likes, I treat her to chocolate cake from the dessert menu and call it dinner – because sometimes you just need that. And also because Bee isn’t scamming me – she is a “home-cooked meals” kinda gal and we can only eat pizza out so many times.
4. Dancing. When Bee was little, it was bouncing. It’s what Tiggers (and Bee-girls) do best! It’s morphed a bit into dancing. Bee leaps and pirouettes across the floor, shimmies and shakes to tunes in her head, and busts a move without provocation whenever actual music is on. That girl always hears music and isn’t scared to boogie on down. She likes to have fun and ain’t nobody gonna stop her! The girls still play “Introducing…!” all the time in front of the TV with their microphone. It’s so fun to sneak peeks!
5. Pets. Allll the pets! Don’t tell Gracie…but Fenway is Bee’s puppy right now. Fen loves both her girls (and her mama)(in that order), but she loves Bee-girl best of all right now. Bee’s attention isn’t as singular as Gracie’s – she can flutter off and forget she was just playing with the dog without even noticing she’s doing it – but she never has a sharp word for Fenway, either. And Fen follows her like she’s the Pied Piper. And then there are the four dogs at her dad’s house that she dotes on, her relentless searching for Friedrich when we’re at Auntie Kim and Rhi’s house, and somehow she batted her eyelashes and sweet-talked her dad and stepmom into getting a weeks-old kitten for her birthday.
6. Cooking. Bee is still in love with baking and cooking and helping me in the kitchen. And as she’s gotten better at it, she’s earning a bit more freedom, too. Bee-girl can bake a cake with minimal supervision, and makes a mean cheese-and-ham scrambled egg, too! I see culinary school in Bee’s future – that’s how much my Bee loves the kitchen!
7. Puppy dog eyes. I think this is born out of Bee’s love for mischief, because it started as a joke. She’d bat her eyelashes and make puppy dog eyes and we’d all laugh at her and tell her how cute she looked and that she was good at it. So then Bee-girl started making puppy dog eyes for real (if you can count laughing and the sparkle of mischief that glinted in her eyes as “for real” still). She knows she can talk us into many, many things if she pulls this stunt. Again – all the power!
8. Self-validation. Remember when I said Bee-girl knows herself and is down-deep good with herself? I wasn’t kidding. Add into the mix that Bee’s inherited my stubborn nature, and what happens is this: Bee cannot be swayed by any outside opinion. It can bolster what she already thinks, but you can’t talk her into changing her mind. Her opinion about what she’s wearing, what she’s doing, or how she’s acting – you can agree with her and inflate what she’s already thinking, or you can disagree with her – but you can’t change her mind. It’ll come in handy when she’s a grown-up, but it’s pretty intimidating when you’re her mom!
9. Catching bugs. Dear buggies in my yard: I’m sorry. Bee-girl has been scooping up grasshoppers, lady bugs, moths, jumpy things – everything but spiders, wasps, and ants – and putting them into her bug motel. She thinks it’s great fun! Every night she goes out into the yard, and every day I let about 20 guys free. I’m glad she’s not scared…but I feel kinda bad for the inmates.
10. Make believe and magic. Bee loves playing pretend. She still plays Barbies and dolls and house and Polly Pockets with abandon. She believes in the Tooth Fairy and sends letters back and forth with her. She believes in fairies and that she might see Tinkerbell. She thinks the rabbit who lives in our yard is Peter Cottontail and that he pooped jelly beans on our patio because he knows the Easter Bunny. In other words, Bee is still all the best parts of being a kid. I hope Eight doesn’t destroy that, or we might have words.
10 Things Bee Does Not Like (And You Can’t Make Her):
1. Homework. Bee is not a great student. She struggles and works for every little thing. It’ll make her a great college student because she’ll know how to study, but right now, getting reading homework done is like pulling teeth. But worse.
2. Spelling. Bee is never, ever, ever, ever going to be a decent speller. She can’t hear the phonetics and her brain can’t piece together the rules. Nothing about it is intuitive for her. Let’s hope that’s not a prerequisite for a world-class chef.
3. Orange chicken (unless it’s Panda Express). Oh, Bee-girl. Ask her what her favorite food is and she just might tell you orange chicken. I know she loves the kind from Panda Express, and…wait, no, that’s it. I’ve tried cooking every other recipe I could find, and we’ve made all of the pre-fab frozen entrees I could find, too. Gracie’s having a good time with the experiments because she’s liked most of them. But Bee-girl? Not so much.
4. Going out to eat. Bee likes home-cooked food. Going out? Not so much. She’s not a picky eater, and she doesn’t mind trying new foods (she’s much better than her sister, actually), but she just doesn’t like going out. There are two or three restaurants where I know she’ll eat. Otherwise? Forget it. Not that it matters much because the only time we go out is on staycations. But still – you like to know you’ve got options.
5. Scary movies. One thing I love about Bee is that she knows herself so well. (Have I mentioned that a time or a hundred?) So it doesn’t bother her one single bit to tell me a movie is too scary for her and she’ll just go play in the front room. She doesn’t think she’s missing out. She won’t try to push herself and then pay for it later – she is just fine bypassing all that nonsense. Which is probably a great big GIANT blessing, because Bee gets nightmares like I do, and she’s not the best sleeper.
6. Reading. Bee is not the biggest fan of reading time at our house. I have to force her to read on her own or to me. And when it’s time to read out loud as a family? She tries to sneak into the front room to play, and when that doesn’t work, she starts playing in the living room where she can listen – only she forgets to pay attention.
7. Wearing sneakers. It’s a fight all year making Bee wear sneakers to school on gym days. “But Coach says we can wear boots when it’s cold out!” “But, Mom, I can’t wear sneakers with that skirt – they look dumb and they don’t match!” Oof. I appreciate that Bee will wear alllll of the eleventy hundred shoes she owns, but fighting about sneakers when she needs to wear them is not high on my list.
8. Things she’s not good at. Bee hates when her sister and I put on Jeopardy. She won’t play board games unless she thinks she can win. She’ll quit in the middle of something – not with the attitude of a sore loser, but because she sees something shiny and would much rather follow the sparkles. She’s not mean-spirited or grouchy about any of it (unless she’s really tired), its more of a “life is short; why spend it doing that when there’s all this other stuff! I could be doing” kinda thing.
9. Taking medicine. It’s a good thing Bee is “the healfiest” as she’ll tell you, because she cannot take medicine. She gets all worked up about it, convinces herself she won’t be able to swallow the pill in question, and then that makes her alien gag reflex kick in. Before you know it, she’s spewed the drink, the half-dissolved pill, and everything else all over the floor or the bed. Because will she stand over the sink? Of course not. Sigh. She’s going to be eating chewable Tylenol when she goes off to college.
10. Sleeping without Bear. In her heart, Bee knows she’s getting too big for “snuffed” animals. (Hey – at least she says “snuffed.”) Her eyes say it all as she gets Bear off the floor and pulls him up to the top bunk with her. I had a stuffed animal to hug after nightmares all the way through college; I’m not ever telling her she can’t have him. I made a rule when she was little that Bear had to stay in bed so we wouldn’t spend two hours looking for him each night, and she does much better about that. There are only a few times now when she’ll come out, sheep faced, and say that she can’t find Bear. I think she could sleep without him if she had to…but it wouldn’t be great sleep. And I get that.
So there you go, sweet-hearted girl o’ mine. A teeny, tiny glimpse of who you are. There aren’t enough words to say what you mean to me, so these tiny, ineffective lists will have to do. Love you!!