Thursday, May 19, 2016

Annie is 7!

Today we celebrate seven years of Annalise Elizabeth. Today when she woke up, Delaney and Timmy were unloading the dishwasher for her. She was scheduled to do it this morning, but I guess they didn't think it was right for her to have dishwasher duty on her birthday. There was a cluster of balloons attached to her chair at the table, all filled with helium. Only the glimmery mylar one was still standing this morning; the rest had fallen during the night. Yay for the glimmery one that had been inflated at Bi-Lo and not with a two-year-old helium tank in our closet! She asked me to fix her hair in "two pigtails that are high and coming out the side; and then braid the pigtails." She accessorized her school uniform with dangly heart earrings and the arm candy she never leaves home without -- a stack of colorful ponytail holders on her wrist. When I asked her to smile for a picture, she struck a silly pose. Tim asked her if her teacher was going to have the class sing 'happy birthday', and she emphatically said no. He asked if her friends at school knew it was her birthday, and she said no. I asked her if her teacher knows not to make a thing out of her birthday; or would she be upset if she did? Annie told me that there's going to be a sub today who won't know. Annie loves her birthday, but doesn't want it celebrated at school. It's a puzzling contradiction, but those are part of what makes Annie Annie.
Despite her best efforts, she's reached the age of seven with every single baby tooth intact, one with a charming chip. Two days ago, she came home from school and told me about a plan that she and her friend Avah had come up with, to get her to lose a tooth. The plan made me so nervous I wondered if I should stop her, and texted Tim saying as much. It involved Annie on a trampoline with a string tied to the tooth and something else. Since Avah had recently lost a tooth a few months before, with the aid of a string tied to an arrow, I knew she meant business. But Tim didn't think I should stop them, so I decided to let the free-range parenting side of me win (it usually does), and just hope for the best. A couple hours later she returned, telling me about how the tooth had started to bleed and hurt, and that had been the end of that. I do think it's safe to say this is her year for the Tooth Fairy.
Her pottery painting birthday party on Saturday was a resounding success, to the delight of myself and the mothers of the other girls present. Even though she had asked for this party, we all know that she doesn't always enjoy being the center of attention. (See the first paragraph, in which she is keeping her birthday a secret at school.) But Annie must have decided to embrace it for one day, because she really seemed to relish the role of birthday girl, and she was so excited about everything. She thanked everyone for their presents and even gasped and said, "I love it!" a couple times. The gift she was most excited about was a little blue turtle named Powder who moves like a real turtle and can swim. She got it from "Other Delaney" down the street. "Other Delaney" was so happy to see Annie happy.
First grade has been good for her. She remains happiest sitting at a desk with a book or busywork, but her teacher tells me that she's been growing more comfortable with speaking in front of the class and working in groups. This is huge. Last year in Kindergarten Annie would ask her teacher for math worksheets to do instead of "stations", in which kids get to move freely around the classroom and do a number of different activities. She's in the gifted math class this year, and I am proud of her, although I worry that the term "gifted" can put pressure on a kid. I never had to worry about that. I think at her age I was still counting on my fingers. (Who am I kidding, I still count on my fingers!)
Annie told me one day that she'd made her math teacher laugh so hard that the other class had been disrupted. I asked her how, and she told me that when the teacher had said, "I laugh like a pig," she had replied, "I would agree with you." I laughed too as I envisioned her saying it, solemn and wide eyed. Her teachers probably love it anytime she pipes up.
This is how she left her bed this morning: a pile at the foot that includes Shel Silverstein's mug on the back cover of The Giving Tree. It is messy, and the shams are on the floor as usual. But it is made.
Today when she and Tim get home, they will make the cake that she picked at the commissary: dark chocolate fudge on top and bottom -- interesting choice. Then we will eat her favorite dinner, tacos. Afterward we will sing 'happy birthday', eat cake and ice cream, and she will open presents from us and her grandparents. I couldn't ask for a better day. Happy birthday to Annie!


  1. This is such a touching birthday post! Love the little anecdotes about Annie - I feel like I know her. Happy birthday to your sweet girl!