Saturday, August 13, 2016

Love Letter, Month 79

Dear Kate,

You are 79 months old...and riding a bike all by yourself!
Daddy helped you stabilize yourself and after a few falls into the grass and squeezing your hand break so hard that you broke it, you finally got the confidence to have him let go.

I have to confess that you were the one I was most worried about with this move since you expressed so much hesitation and fear about it. You developed some deep feelings for quite a few people in Chicago and were in tears at the thought of leaving them all behind. Fortunately, not only have you had some of your friends visit but we have been able to visit them back in the city. We went back to help your best friend, Chengze, celebrate his 6th birthday. I don't think you made Daddy too happy by sitting so casually in Chengze's lap though!

You were thrilled when he came out here for a visit before he moved back to China last week.

Zadie also came for a happy visit.
Our other big visitors this month were YiaYia and Pappou which always brings happiness to your heart. You played endless games of Connect Four and chess with Pappou, pressed them both into reading and learned to roll dolmades with YiaYia.

But I think your fears about moving here have been allayed mostly because of the new friends you have made. You and Lucy were invited over for your first playdate this month with D. You especially loved that she had a zipline in her backyard!

Your favorites are, as is usual with you, the older kids, and in this case, the lifeguards. You know all the lifeguards and spend most of your time at the lake either chatting with them, convincing them to throw you or lift you onto their shoulders, helping you catch a fish, going in the boat to retrieve a ball that floated away or even face painting during rest period!

You have gained many new "big brothers and sisters" and you are reveling in it. You were thrilled when one of your favorite lifeguards, Austin, came over to babysit and ride bikes.
You made lots of new friends by joining the swim team which had their end-of-year swim meet this month. You all competed against each other for fun and had a jolly good time. Your other favorite lifeguard/babysitter, Corinne, was also your swim teacher.

At your last swim lesson, Corinne gave me your level 4 skills checklist and this is what you have learned:
1. Headfirst entry in both compact and stride position.
2. Swim underwater for 3-5 body lengths.
3. Feetfirst dive, submerging completely.
4. Survival swimming in deep water.
5. Front crawl and backstroke for 25 yards; breaststroke, back crawl and butterfly for 15 yards.
6. Tread water using 2 different kicks for 2 minutes.
7. Push off in streamlined position on back and begin dolphin kicking/flutter kicking for 3-5 body lengths.
She wrote, "Kate and Lucy were joys to have in class this year. All of their hard work and determination has really paid off. They always had a positive attitude (even when we were doing some of the more difficult tasks!). I really had an amazing time getting to know them. They are favorites of all the guards!"

With all of your new-found swimming skills, you have been keen to watch some of the Summer Olympics in Rio this month. Your takeaway from all of the feats of athleticism we have witnessed was to remark, "They're doing all of this just for a medal?"

When we aren't at the beach, we have been keeping busy with all kinds of new activities. First up was planning for and making your first supper from start to finish. You also got to use a sharp knife for the first time. On the menu were individual cherry cobblers and a beef/veggie ramen dish.

We explored the local pool where you spent 5 hours on the slides and diving boards.

One rainy afternoon was spent seeing what we could mix together to cause the most reaction in your science kit.

The biggest surprise this month, though, was getting your very first kayak! You L.O.V.E. love yours and ask to go out nearly every day. After learning the basics of paddling at the beach, you were soon ready to head out and explore the lake.

You've done a bit of growing up this year, both physically and emotionally.

On the physical side, these were your stats at this month's checkup with Dr. Ettner: (with last year's stats following):
Weight: 47 lb (43 1/4 lb)
Height: 45 1/2" (43 1/4")

You also lost your second tooth this month!
Moving to a new place is always scary but you have learned that you can make some great new friends and still keep your old friends. And though you and Lucy do have your skirmishes (mostly having to do with who will get most of my attention) you still find her to be your first and best friend.

One night before bed I checked in on you and couldn't find you in your room. I finally found you curled up in Lucy's bed with her.
 On a recent shopping trip, you both pooled your allowance earnings to buy best friend necklaces.
Lest I lead you to think it is all sunshine and roses though, this was an exchange you had with Nana a few days ago:

Nana asked you: "What do you and Lucy do in the morning if you're up before Mama?"
You: "Argue."

Nailed it.

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