Turning 7 Years Old
While French is still her second language, her mastery of English is becoming rather scary. If she sees words somewhere, she’s reading it. It doesn’t matter if is a minor sign saying the hours of a business, or a major one like the strata rules for our outdoor pool, she wants to read it. …The problem arises when she is starting to master spelling and typing to go along with her reading skills. She has quickly learned how to type messages to family and friends on my iPhone, and has also managed to post selfies with a message to Facebook without me being aware.
I have spent the past year learning and practicing mindfulness, and yet it may be my daughter who is the one that I should be learning from.
Ever present and aware of the people around her, Kylie is quick to observe what people are doing and who may be there. Her eyes always have been able to find the young mothers with babies, but now she is expanding that awareness to everyone else. This is especially true with kids; she is always on the hunt for kids from her school, and quite eager to say hello to them the moment she sees them.
Her personality continues to develop and shine in public, with several parents from school commenting on how pleasant she is to them, expressing their fondness for her genuine honesty and curiousity. Her smile is contagious on the playground, the library, and the coffee shops and restaurants we’ve visited. Regardless of where we are, her smile and personality brings out the best from everyone else. There is hardly a situation where she shies away from saying hello to someone and asking them a question.
This year has been a year of transitions for her. A year where she developed a strong friendship in grade one with a friend, only to see that friend move in the summertime. Several times a week, they were on the phone together and one of the first things my daughter wanted to do was to play her friend a song from the iPad. That song was ‘Count on Me’ by Bruno Mars. Kylie would be singing the song to her friend, Caleigh1, which includes the lyrics:
And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me
Everyday I will
It was tough for me to listen to this song, with Kylie singing, almost every day. I can’t imagine what they felt not being able to play with each other after school or have regular sleepovers. Kylie has been handling the situation better than I ever could in my life, a testament to her maturity as a little girl.
Something else has been strengthening this year that I wondered about a year ago:
By the time I write this next year, I am sure she will be wanting to converse with these strangers in her non-native tongue.
This has actually happened, several times. The first happened while exiting a hockey game, when she was talking to some boys a few years older than her, and a woman walking behind us picked up on her attending a French-immersion school in Kelowna. She asked her in French whether she could speak the language, and Kylie had a brief conversation with her using as much French as she could. The other memorable time was in a park when she saw her grade one teacher. She approached her and spoke French, almost entirely. Every time she had to say a word, but didn’t know what it was, she’d pause to think and try to remember. Her love and mastery of the language is astounding, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Kylie’s confidence with technology is leaping ahead faster than I could have imagined. Her comfort with the iPad is rather surprising. Navigating the screens and apps is one thing, but she’s gone a step further than I would have expected. She’s using Siri much more often, voice dictation to send longer text messages to people, and getting pretty quick at finding the emojis she needs to communicate how she’s feeling or what she’s thinking. She’s real quick to pick up on when something is going wrong, as well, when a screen is slow to load or showing a message that it shouldn’t. Instead of asking for help, she tries to resolve the problem herself, sometimes with success. On top of all that, she’s been exploring the Playgrounds environment on the iPad, used to teach people how to code in the Swift programming language. She’s quite interested and eager to learn more. If that curiousity continues, she’ll be programming her own iOS apps in a few years.
There is so much more that could be written about this remarkable little girl that is a huge part of my life. These words are always the hardest for me to write, not because I struggle to find them, but because my eyes keep welling up. Tears of joy after reflecting on everything that has happened this past year. Yes, there are countless challenges as a parent with a child: yelling, frustrations, tantrums, are all part of the process. 50% of parenting (if not more so) is having constant doubts in what you are doing is right and beneficial to the child. Balancing out all those difficult moments and the periods of doubt, are the moments of reflection when you see the actions you are doing are right, are good, and your child is heading in the right direction to be a meaningful part of society.
The first six years have been exhausting and rewarding all at once. I wish I could relive it again, because I’m not sure I’m fully prepared for what’s happening next.
Kylie received multiple books for Christmas, all of them fun, challenging chapter books. She was pretty excited for them all, but there is one book that she has absolutely devoured in the past week: The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls. Basically, the book talks about the changes girls will be going through in the coming years, and the best way to take care of the body. She’s been sitting on the couch regularly to read several pages, and is now 3/4 of the way through the book. Moments after, she’s telling me her latest discoveries, taking a picture of one section for her mom to let her know about something, and asking questions of my family that they aren’t fully prepared for. The latest example of the latter happened in the car ride on the way home tonight. She asked my brother whether he used tampons, he answered, no and said he had no place for it. Her response, “You could put it up your butt!”
There was plenty of laughter in the car with that, and all I could think was, “Never change, Kylie, never change.”
Happy 7th birthday, Kylie.
Kylie’s Favourites 2016:
Show: Friends Lego
Book: Berestain Bears - any book.
iOS app: Garage Band
Pronounced Cal-lee, their poor teacher. ↩