Sunday, July 13, 2014

First South Carolina birthday: Delaney turns 7

Delaney as a 7-year-old -- I enjoy her so much.  The thing that delights me most is her maturing sense of humor.
One night Tim and I were talking, and he told me he didn't think we should get the dining room table that we were all set to buy.  He had really good reasons that I agreed with after I thought about it, but at the time I was disappointed and looking mopey.  Delaney said, "Do you need to cry, Mama?  Go on, cry it out," she said.  I rolled my eyes at her but I was amused and it broke the tension.  At moments like this I catch a glimpse of grown up Delaney, and it makes me happy to see.  She's just so easy to get along with and to be around.

One quirk she has -- I guess she's allowed at least one -- is that she gets really put out when asked to share anything.  Tim and I emphasize the importance of sharing a lot, and the kids see us sharing all the time with each other and with them: letting a kid have a bite of what we're having,for example.  We always remind them, "We share in this family."  Annie, and to a lesser extent, Timmy, are on board with the sharing idea.  But Delaney will give you a taste of her ice cream cone only grudgingly, and Annie was disappointed when Delaney didn't offer to let her borrow one of her new sets of pajamas for the night.  Had they been Annie's new pajamas she would have shared.  We try not to make share in most cases because generosity and selflessness are not going to be learned if one is always compelled to share.  But if there's one thing she needs to work on it's that.  Still, I get that she needs to be able to define what's hers and to guard it from her greedy brother and sister, and from her clutter-phobic parents.
Just the other day, while going through boxes and bins, I encountered Delaney's "keep safe box" that she had kept under her bed in North Carolina.  I didn't know what it was at first, but through the clear plastic I could see a lot of what appeared to be garbage, and I almost dumped it into the trash.  Then I remembered.  Inside is a lot of randomness: sticks, twigs, pieces of paper, ribbons, and baggies full of human hair.  I assume that it's Timmy's hair that she collected after a couple of haircuts we gave him at home.  The deal with the "keep safe box" was that whatever fits inside is safe from being thrown away.  I wonder if she'll even miss it.  I'm not throwing it away because a deal's a deal, but I will hide it away until she asks about it.  At some point, probably after the school year starts, she'll start wanting to collecting odd things again and I'll bring out the old "keep safe box".  If it fits it's safe!

I see a big difference in her physically between this year and last year.  She's always been compactly-built and smaller than most of her peers, and still is, but her limbs have lost their toddler-like roundness and I keep noticing the length of thin leg I see sticking out of the bottom of her shorts and skirts now.  When did that happen?  Of course, for some time I've known she must be busy growing because there are many times she eats like an adult.  She devours a cheeseburger from the grownup menu, as we learned while we were eating out almost every lunch and dinner throughout the month of June. (Ugh -- so glad to be done with that.)
Delaney's actual birthday, July 8, was not the most memorable she's ever had.  After days of racing around unpacking and setting things up, and then needing to take her to the ER* one night for a few hours with another ear infection (her second ever - the first was in October), suddenly her birthday was staring me in the face and I hadn't gotten her anything.  I ran out to the Exchange and got her the Fur Real Friends Trixie the Skateboard Dog she'd been eyeing, and a couple other little things.  If I'd put a little more time and thought into her presents I probably would have tried to find her some kind of bird-watching kit with binoculars and a guide book, if such a thing exists.  She likes to watch birds and try to identify them, and she's mentioned that she wishes she had a guide book to figure out what they are.  She would also like one of those bird houses that stick to a window so you can see inside, that she says her cousin Alexa has. (Hint, hint;)  We hung up a birthday banner, blew up some balloons with the helium tank that I'd also gotten since balloons that float are important to us; and Tim wrote 'Happy birthday, Delaney" on the chalkboard since I can't stand the way my handwriting looks on a chalkboard.  Dang you, Pinterest, for ever letting me think I needed a chalkboard in my house, or that my chicken scratch would look cute in chalk.  She wore her birthday girl ribbon all day.  We ate the dinner she had chosen, cheeseburgers, and then sang happy birthday to her with the cake I'd baked from a box.  After she'd blown out the candle, we abandoned the cake in favor of gelato at our new favorite place to get treats, Common Ground.  We ate ice cream and watched the boats, the kids played at the playground nearby and then we went home and called it a day.  We'll be celebrating her birthday again next week when we have family visiting.
What else is new with Delaney..?  Right after we moved here, she and her sister learned how to ride bikes.  Back in NC, Tim had removed the training wheels and the pedals of their bikes after watching kid learn to ride bikes just by balancing and coasting around on the two wheels with nothing else.  They didn't make much progress that way.  Then while Tim was unpacking the garage here, they hounded him about putting the pedals back on until he finally gave in just so they'd leave him alone.  Within an hour or two they both were pedaling up and down the long driveway that we share with all the other houses on our side of the street.  Tim thinks she needs a new bike soon but I think the reason she's so comfortable using the brakes is because her feet reach the ground so easily.  When I was her age and first learning to ride my brand-new shiny appropriate-sized bike, I used to jump off while it was still moving and got wicked scrapes on my legs.
She remains fascinated with every kind of creature big and small, and she knows that she has just three years to go until she gets the dog that we promised we'd get when she turns 10.  We thought she'd forget but she'll never forget. She talks about it all the time, so I'd better start planning and researching what kind of canine companion we'll end up with.  I'd like to rescue a nice dog who's not very old but has already been housebroken and has a nice mellow personality and doesn't destroy things.  Until that day she gets to pet all the dogs in our new neighborhood because there are a LOT.  Everyone but us has at least one dog.  Delaney will be friends with all of them in no time.
I am sure there is plenty I'm forgetting.  This is not my most thorough birthday update.  I've been working on it for awhile because it's been so hard to just focus and get it done.  Also, Tim and I are sharing the laptop since our desktop didn't survive the move.  It's not perfect but here it is!

*I want to clarify that I don't take my kids to the ER for everything that goes wrong with them.  It just so happens that the things that go wrong usually happen at night or on the weekends, and our insurance doesn't cover urgent care, but it does cover ER visits.  Just like the time in October, Delaney spent all day Sunday looking worse and worse and complaining more and more, until finally I was like, why wait?  The ibuprofen isn't helping, this isn't going away.  Tim acts like I'm overreacting, but the way I see it is I'd rather take one kid and spend a few hours in the ER on a Sunday evening (especially if I know that the way things are, sleep that night won't be a possibility) than wait until the next day when he's at work and take all three kids to the doctor, and then to wait at the pharmacy afterward.  This time when I took her there was a lengthy wait, but they gave her the first dose of antibiotics there, and then I just had to go to the pharmacy the next morning.  So there, just in case you were wondering.

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