Happy Birthday to my Bee-girl! Yes, someone let that kiddo turn nine. NINE. I mean, who would have thought I’d ever get to the point where I’d barely have any smallish sized kiddos at home? Not the me who was sitting on the couch crying because the girls wouldn’t, for the love of god, stay in bed and go to sleep after Hour Three of trying, that’s for sure. I never thought it when Bee happily bit every child in her daycare, or looked me straight in the eyes and dared me to throw away her toys because she wasn’t picking them them up, or on any of those nights when I cried myself to sleep after Bee’s fourth accident of the night. But lo and behold, Bee-girl did turn nine and while she might not believe in the magic of band-aids and the wonder of George the Dinosaur to protect her and smoosh monsters dead, she still believes in catching frogs and making wishes, and yes, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. So if you ask me, she’s turning nine in the best way possible. And just in case we forget…
10 Things Bee Really, Really, REALLY Loves:
1. Cooking and baking. Any time I’m in the kitchen, Miss Bee is yelling to ask if she can help. Each time, it’s like she’s asking for the moon. “Oooh! Can I help?” she’ll beg, with a twinkle in her eye. I hardly ever make their lunches any more, and never the muffins. Bee girl has it under control. In fact, she’s been slowly taking over the kitchen she was approximately three.
2. Dogs and cats and frogs and anything else she can convince you is a “pet.” She and her sister both love dogs – which is good, because they have a small herd of them at their dad’s house, and two at ours. Her sister claims to love them mom, but it’s Bee who actually takes care of them, not just when the mood strikes her, but all the time. She’s the one who cuddles on the couch and soothes them and then sleeps with Bam the Destroyer each night so The Destructive One won’t have an anxiety attack.
3. Playing mama. Bee loves when she’s not the littlest. She loves being an auntie to her niece (who is almost two!!) and loves helping with Xman when he is around. She plays with them, helps them solve problems, gets them through difficult rounds of whatever video game they’re playing (hey – all in the name of auntie- and sister-hood) and does whatever she can to make everything all right. I can’t decide if it’s just part of her adorable little self, whether she likes soothing the part of her that used to be anxious when she was the littlest, or just likes being the guy the guy counts on. Whatever the reason, she’s great at it!
4. Choose Your Own Adventure books. This one is really new and might be my favorite. Because BOOKS. Bee is a very reluctant reader, but happened to pick up one of these again the other day. It’s the not the first time she’s seen them, but it’s the first time in a long time. And I think the interactive aspects finally struck her. Because she read it for an hour that night, and then asked if we could go to the library to get more. If you guess that she has a pile of them wrapped and waiting for her in her stack of presents, you’d be right!
5. Doing the splits to freak us all out. Bee is pretty bendy. She loves gymnastics and stretching and dancing…and doing the splits. Because that just does not look natural and we all react. Strongly. Which makes the Bee-girl giggle!
6. Gardening. I don’t know where this came from, but it certainly wasn’t me! I have such a black thumb, it’s not even funny! But my Bee-girl loves plants flowers and watering whatever’s growing and tending to everything. There’s a patch of weeds at the corner of one of the raised garden beds, and Bee is convinced – because it’s so tall – that it is wheat. It is wheat, and she is going to harvest it. Good googly moogly, she even asks questions about how to do it.
7. Calico Critters. Bee is convinced that she can buy all the pieces and then save them, the way Auntie Kim saved her Precious Places pieces, so that one day she can sell them all for millions. There may or may not be catalogs and spreadsheets involved.
8. Nature walks/looking for frogs. If it’s a weekend morning, you can find Bee-girl (and usually Xman, her trusty sidekick), outside looking for frogs or grasshoppers or any other interesting and non-bitey victims to catch and put in a bucket.
9. Earning marbles. Bee is much better than her sister at collecting marbles. She doesn’t might putting in a little sweat equity if it means watching her marble pile grow. She’ll vacuum, wash windows, refill the dog food container – whatever (ish) I can throw at her. Bee might be the most stubborn person I know, but when the girl is motivated, ain’t nothing’ gonna stop her.
10. This one particular oversized blue sweatshirt. The girls’ elementary school has a uniform policy. Sweaters or sweatshirts have to be solid navy blue or white. I bought one for Gracie, who decided she didn’t like it, or maybe it was just (more likely) that Bee had lost all of hers, and so she started wearing this huge, way-way too big sweatshirt during the school year. And loved it. She would wear that thing every day, dirty or not. Much to mama’s chagrin. But there are only so many battles a mama can wage…
10 Things Bee-Girl Does Not, Does Not, DOES NOT Like Now Or Ever, World Without End:
1. School. Bee loves her friends and her teachers and the general idea of this school thing. But having to try so hard and constantly struggle? oooh, my Bee-girl’s feelings take a hit.
2. Going out to eat. Even though I’ve long given up making Bee-girl pick something to actually eat, Bee loathes the few times we go out to eat. She’s pretty particular about how her food tastes and while she has places she loves to go, HEAVEN HELP YOU if you want to eat somewhere else. This one has been on her Me No Likey list since the beginning of time and I don’t expect it to change. Which means she’ll change her mind next week.
3. Losing games. This one has been a reappearance recently and I’m not sure why. Unless it’s because she’s so overwhelmed with so many other changes and challenges that something had to give? But lately when we’re all playing games, if Bee’s not doing so well, the tears are quick to pop up. She’s just as quick to hide her teary eyes in her lap or a pillow, or, barring that, will make an excuse to go to the bathroom. So she’s trying. But oh does she feel the sting.
4. Brushing her hair. Bee-girl has been growing her hair out. She loves her long hair. The problem is…it snarls. It snarls bad. Probably worse because she won’t brush it. Sigh. So every so often, I lather it up with expensive conditioner and comb through all the tangles. Because she’s my Bee-baby and I loves her, I don’t even lecture her. I say soothing little nothings and wipe away the tears because it already hurts enough.
5. Putting away socks. I bet you $1,000 I could find no fewer than 6 socks lying around my house right now, and I bet at least three of them are in weird places. Bee-girl cannot put away socks to save her life. They’re lying around in bunches, all inside out, all where they left her feet. Under tables, beside couches, under desks, near the TV, behind doors…anywhere but the dirty clothes basket!
6. Moving at any speed other than her own. Bee has one speed: Bee’s Speed. You can’t make her move slower, faster, or any other way other than how she’s already jiving. Trust me – 9 years of trying.
7. Getting talked to. I was going to say “yelled at”, but it doesn’t even have to be that. When Bee knows she’s done wrong, she feels it all the way down to her toes. Her shame is bottomless – even when it shouldn’t be. So it means I use a lot of gentle voices with big, meaningful words because I know my baby is taking it in, and I don’t want to pile on. I just want her to not do it again. Now if we could just get that lesson to stick…
8. Having clothes picked out for her. My fashionista will NOT abide by anyone choosing any clothes for her. It doesn’t matter if she has to wake up in the middle of the night to switch them out – she has, and she will. No one picks out Bee’s clothes unless their name is Bee.
9. Staying still. I don’t think I’ve seen Bee stay still unless she was asleep. She’ll skip, dance, jiggle, shimmy, hop, shoulder dance, bounce, or do whatever it is. If she’s home, she’s usually doing gymnastics across the living room floor. Or running. Or some other kind of something, but she is definitely moving. Even (especially?) when she’s supposed to be still.
10. Being in only one place at once. Bee loves being with all her peoples – my baby has a very large village! She loves being home with me and her sister and Jeff and Xman and her puppies. She loves, too, being at her dad’s with her dad and stepmom and herd of pets and stepsister and niece (when they visit). And she loves seeing her cousins. And wants to travel back home to Massachusetts to see her family there. And play with her school friends. My sweet-hearted girl is always talking about what she wants to do with her people when she sees them next – you know she is always thinking with everyone and damning space and time that she can only do so much at once. Lifegoals, baby girl: fix that teeny, tiny conundrum, would ya?
So there you have it! A little piece of my favorite 9 year old ever!