Sunday, November 1, 2015

Heart Letter, Month 71

Dear Lucy,

You are 71 months old today.
Guess who came to visit this month? LOTS of people and fairies and witches. It's been a busy month in our house!

Our first visitor was the tooth fairy about mid-way through the month. Your first tooth has been loose for what seemed like an eternity (and it wasn't just you who thought so) but you finally managed to lose it during lunch at school. Qiongwei lao shi met me at the pickup line with your tooth safely bagged up. We celebrated with chocolate milk and rice crispy treats and then you tucked your tooth away in the pillow Nana made for you.

The tooth fairy left you a gold dollar coin in return!
Our next visitor was Ms. Sara from Sweden. You and Kate welcomed her as if she had just been over yesterday, not an ounce of shyness or reticence in your bodies as you scaled her for a hug.
Our next two visitors arrived for one holiday event: Halloween! Both you and Kate decided to be police officers last month so we picked out your costumes and you were thrilled when they arrived in the mail, trying it on immediately.
When I asked you why you wanted to be a police, you said, "They get to beat up people."  Hmmmm....not exactly the message you should be getting for this particular vocation. Looks like we'll need to do a bit of re-educating...

YiaYia and Pappou arrived Halloween day and we spent the rainy afternoon eating good food and playing games. Dominoes with YiaYia.
And a marble/maze competition with Pappou.
The rain mercifully stopped and it warmed up enough that a few layers under your costumes would suffice for trick-or-treating last night.

YiaYia read you both a bedtime story in Greek after you had sorted your candy for the Switch Witch,
who was our last visitor of the month, taking a bit of the candy you didn't like in exchange for a small gift; a winter hat à la Ana from Frozen.
I fear the pink fuzzy balls will be rubbed clean by next month; you do love soft objects rubbed against your philtrum.

Other adventures this month included a visit to an orchard for apple picking

and a school trip to the pumpkin patch.

You've made a lot of strides this month, both physically and mentally. First of all, let me just say that you are a breeze to be with most of the time. Unless you are tired or hungry (which can be said of anyone, frankly), you are positively the most delightful little person to be with. You are a great helper around the house, always remembering to clear your dishes, get dressed for the day, and brush your hair. Helping me in the kitchen is still one of your favorite things so this month I taught you how to make your favorite sandwich filling for school: pimiento cheese.
You are showing a keener interest in letters, numbers and reading and as long as it's not something that we do later in the day when you are tired (i.e. reading to us before bed), you are engaged and happy.

But it is still in the physical arena that you shine most brightly. You have made great strides in your climbing, reaching the bell on the climbing wall:
learning to hang upside-down on the bars:
tackling the parallel slide bars at Maggie Daley Park:
and learning how to flip over on the rings.

I think your happiest new adventures, though, have to be playing soccer and learning the piano . You began after-school soccer practice and you proudly announced that you had scored two goals "against a second grader!" during your last scrimmage. When you aren't practicing piano, you love to get out the soccer ball and practice your footwork.
You began piano lessons this month with San-Nan lao shi and I have to say that I think we have found another of your passions. The focus and attention you pay in your lessons combined with your joy at coming home to practice every day (without me asking!!) warms my heart. I think I scared you a bit after your first lesson when I cried happy tears just watching you play.
One day you will understand those emotions, when you watch your child find those things that make her shine and fill up her heart. For so long I have watched you struggle trying to keep up with your sister in the things that SHE likes (reading, puzzles, math problems), only outdoing her on the playground where the approval of teachers/adults is not as prevalent. You have blossomed under the instruction and encouragement of your soccer coach and your piano teacher and it shows up in other areas of your life. I think it is one of the reasons that you have become more confident in learning those things you are not as interested in (like your letters) and that is a good lesson in itself: when you are successful and secure in one arena, you are more likely to be successful in other areas. Confidence is a great motivator.

Despite the competition between the two of you, Kate is still your favorite person to be around. I love watching you two when you aren't fighting for attention.

A few nights ago we were reading a book about racism and how you may experience it because you are not white like your sister; that you have brown skin and some people think your skin color determines your worth. You looked at daddy and me and said, "I'll just punch them in the face! Ha!"

Although I do not condone violence to meet racism, I have to admit a good deal of pride and joy in the face of your self-confident defense. I hope you keep that aspect of your personality as you grow and encounter people who may not be as accepting of you, or who have preconceived ideas of you because you are an Asian-American. There are both positive and negative stereotypes that you will butt up against: that you are going to be a driven, straight-A student, that you are gifted in math, science, music or gymnastics as well as the more unsavory biases that I am relieved to say you are too young to learn about just yet.

And this sums up a mother's eternal struggle. How to keep the light and optimism of a child's world while imparting strength and wisdom to confront the adult world. I may stumble a bit, trying to figure out the way through, but know this: I will never leave you to learn on your own.
I will try every day to be your cheerleader when you are working hard and need encouragement, to be your advocate when you need help beyond your skills and to step aside when you are ready to fly.

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