Nora is going to be six years old next month. That sounds really big to me. I actually remember being six. She is so smart, with this snarky sense of humor. She is a giant goofball. She still likes to hide whenever someone new comes in the door or when we’re trying to get her to go to bed. She makes you feel like you are the funniest person in the world, because all you have to do is make a weird face and she will burst into laughter. Her smile is so bright. She is reading but she’s not confident about it yet. She is very social and goofy with her friends, but she is still not talking much to the teachers at school. She will whisper to them sometimes. She turns away from them, bringing one shoulder to her ear, physically uncomfortable. She is so tall and so extremely smart, and that makes her seem older than she truly is. One minute, we’re having an interesting conversation about planets and then, she is melting down, needing me to help her put her shirt on or buckle her seatbelt. There are inconsistencies in the way she grows and reverts, pulling forward and falling back. This uneven growth makes us work hard. Sometimes, we feel stuck. We never know what kind of a moment it will be—if she will be like an eight year old or a three year old. I don’t know if this is the way all kids are because she is our oldest. Sometimes, I want it to be easier, for her to have more confidence and to act in the ways she is capable of doing. But then, I try to remind myself that our biggest problem is how much she needs us, and it won’t always be that way.
There are moments when I look at her from a distance and I am so in awe, because she is so graceful, intelligent and funny. I see that she really has grown, through that uneven process of forward and back. It’s hard to always grasp this because we are so in it. The other day, I watched her through the little window at dance class. She leapt over the mats with her ponytail swinging behind her and she looked like a graceful, beautiful girl. I felt really proud. I remembered how small and unsure she was when she started at dance, and now, she just goes and does it. I try to have confidence that she will get through the hard spots to become her best self. I think she needs me to have that confidence.
Rosie is so imaginative. She is rarely just Rosie anymore— she is Elsa and Nora is Ana and they live in a purple castle. She is Dora and she tells me I am Boots and we are going to the volcano. She calls me Grandma pretty often, which I’m not crazy about. “Grandma, this is my car, okay, and I’m mama and we’re driving to the palace.” She tells elaborate stories about fairies, princesses, mamas and babies.
The most convincing part Rosie likes to play is that of a two-and-a-half year old. When she is mad about something, she cries fat tears and says, “This is not a great day!” or “No no no, this is not a great thing?” Her voice lifts up at the end of the sentence as if it was a question. Most of what she says is with assurance, but there is often a question at the end. “I said I wanted animal crackers so you get me more animal crackers now, okay?” Unfortunately, she’s learned some bad words from Nora and she knows to use them to rile us up. “What the heck, you’re stupid head and you can’t do that and what the heck, stupid, stupid?” Oh, help us. It’s only the beginning, I know. Also, when she’s mad, she’ll say “Nuffin,” to anything you ask. “What did you do at school?” “I did nuffin. NOT. Anyfing!”
At school, Rosie decided she would like to be called Rose, not Rosie. Then, she wanted to be Rapunzel. Sometimes Nora feels like just being herself and not a princess, but Rosie will not break character. Also, Nora says it’s not fair that Rosie always gets to be the good ones, like Elsa and Rapunzel. She always gets to choose! Nora is right, it isn’t really fair. This is an interesting turn of events, Rosie now calling the shots after years (two and a half to be exact) of being smooshed and sat on and ordered around. Nora still does get to call the shots most of the time, though, I think. There are these shining moments when the two of them are playing so sweetly together, when they are satisfied with the role they are each playing. They make a bear cave out of a cardboard box and blankets, get out all of their stuffed animal bears and start feeding them play food. They build a boat, look for treasure, drive the car to the bus or take Rosie’s baby doll Ra for a walk in the stroller.
Speaking of Ra, one day, we couldn’t find her. We looked everywhere until she finally turned up in a basket in Nora’s room. Then, something hilarious happened. We found ANOTHER Ra outside on the back deck. Finding two Ra’s was one of the funniest things to ever have happened to Nora and Rosie.
Rosie’s other favorite guy is Mim-mim, a white bunny that sleeps in her bed. She uses a cute baby voice when she’s talking to her, tells her she loves her and gives her lots of kisses.
Sometimes, I can’t even handle the cuteness. They really look out for each other when we’re out in the world. They hold hands and do a whole lot of hugging. Their heads are really extremely cute. I’m sure everyone feels this way about their kids, but no, for real. 😉 I complain about needing more time to myself, but then, when I’m away from them, I crave them. Nora says, “Rosie’s so cute and when I see her I just want to hug her all of the time.” That’s how I feel about the both of them.