Maren’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Heart, began calling the children (the five-year-olds) writers the very first week of school. Some, like Maren, could write their own name, but others were still practicing. Yet, Mrs. Heart called them writers: she called out their identity, and the twenty-four little people in the class are rising to the challenge and becoming writers. It is fascinating to watch through the occasional classroom glimpse, the parent-teacher conference, and the litany of papers that come home in the daily folder.
Maren is writing: she has embraced the idea of sounding out words instead of worrying about spelling. She writes us letters. She labels her pictures. She is writing books. I’m proud to say, “I love my Mommy” is a common theme in her work. Her friends, her family, her church, her school: this is what makes up her world.
I need to remember this sweet development: her pride in her work, the thrill that she can read back to us what she has written, and the confidence she has in her ability to be understood. She is no longer tied to the rules of spelling or the perfectionism that was looming this summer. Mistakes are okay. Mistakes don’t make it wrong. We learn from mistakes.
My favorite part of the writing is the phonetic spelling. The title of this post is Maren: “five and a half,” taken from one of Maren’s recent works wherein she celebrated that she is halfway to age six. She is angry with me that I dared allow her to be born after her closest friends. It is appalling to her that she did not come out of my tummy first. What am I supposed to do besides tee hee these lamentations?
She is an independent little thing. She prefers to take her own shower, unless I let her have a “play bath” with Greta, which means that there is ample time to dawdle. She can make her own peanut butter and Nutella sandwich for lunch. When on playdates, she makes the parent-in-charge call/text me to check and see if she can have a dessert/treat when offered; she feels she must have permission from me to indulge. (Who is this kid?) She is a rule-follower, obviously.
I’m afraid to shop for her without her coming to the store with me. She’s picky about what she wears; she prefers girlie dresses, tights, skirts, and flair in her wardrobe. Most mornings we are able to negotiate without tears, so I have it better than some. She has a style, and I think she’ll keep growing into it.
She makes eight pieces of art, on average, on any given day. I have Dr. Seuss-like piles in various storage corners because I think like she does: each one has value and is special. It is hard to part with her artwork; it is a timeline of her life in it’s own right.
The best part of my day is when she comes in my room in the morning (when it is after 7am; before 7am is not a happy moment) and I tell her, “Good morning, beautiful girl.” She always wants snuggles in the morning. As a baby/toddler from the age of four weeks to three years, she never wanted to snuggle. Now that she’s fivinuhhaf, we are still making up for the lost snuggle years.
Maren is more knees and elbows than baby squashy; when did that happen? She still says “fink” for “think” and “quartersack” for “cul-de-sac” and “sha-sposed” for “supposed”. She’s in the in-between age: her friends have increasing importance, and I’m not quite the center of her world the way I am with Greta. She’s growing, her heart is beautiful, and I’m so proud of the little girl she is today.
Please Jesus, let us share a lifetime of happy days together.