Monday, January 9, 2012

Someone is seven

In all the hoopla over holidays and the New Year, someone's milestone got lost in the scrunchled up wrapping paper and discarded boxes.

I asked her not to look mad, for once. See, it's possible.
  Bloggily speaking, anyhow. In real life, the preparations for and recovery from the celebrations of sevenhood can be directly tied to several balls dropped this holiday season, including a) half the Christmas cards not leaving the house until too late to actually arrive before Christmas; b) several ungifted or subgifted members of the extended family; c) the singing Christmas decorations never managing to get paired with batteries (this one wasn't so bad, actually); d) probably something else that I am forgetting. Like baking. I meant to bake this year. It didn't happen.

We had 14 girls under the age of 8 in the house. Miraculously nothing got broken. Note: the soundtrack for this picture is all girls shouting in unison "Tramp-o-leen! Tramp-o-leen! Tramp-o-leen!" while they jump up and down. In unison.
A girl and her doll, united at last.

So. Seven. It's an amazing age, or at least the seven-year-old we have constantly amazes me. M. and I joke that what she really needs is a production studio. And a workshop. And a warehouse. And...a trained staff. At least once a week Helen comes to me and in between bouncing up and down on the couch or petting her favorite stuffed animal or brushing her hair with her exciting new brush she describes in great and casual detail how she's going to build a car for her American Girl Doll, or a bed, or a teepee, or a desk. Then she wants to get started right away, and when I stutter-- "Um, but, I'm actually making dinner right now," she bursts into angry tears. At any one time she is busy making sets for the stop-animation movie she's making, or a book about a girl in the city, or a box full of Kings Cibul (King's kibble) for her Pick-a-Pet store. Her half-done projects are all over the house. I may come back from a run and be commandeered to help sand teepee poles, or wield the hot glue gun, or listen to her new project, which is to get "my very own puppy," which, sadly for both us, turned out not to be My Very Own PuppyTM but an actual live puppy, "either a fox terrier or a chihuahua but not from a pet breeder place because those cost like $400."

"Ack! No! We are not getting a puppy!" I said, a veritable portrait of parental understanding and graciousness.

Tears, and a refusal to eat dinner until a puppy was promised and/or bought. After I'd gotten my shoes off and peed, and discussed the matter with M., I softened my tone a little (although just to be clear: we are *totally not* getting a puppy, for the love of god). Helen was not distracted and insisted we set a timeline. I refused, gently but firmly, to set a timeline. Tears.

It's unavoidable that many of her projects end in disappointment and despair, especially since we have neither a workshop nor a full-time trained staff. However, what is an amazement to equal her idea-generating brain is the fact that, actually, a lot of her projects do get completed. There's the Squirrel Stop game, sitting in its box under the counter. The book describing our trip to Yellowstone, which languished for months before finally being finished up in an afternoon. The doll bed. The doll desk. The million and one movies and stills featuring her stuffed animals in our digital camera's memory card. Most of these are just what you'd expect from a seven-year-old: cardboard and flimsy, with spidery writing and odd-shaped cutouts. She doesn't waste a lot of time laboring over the final product, in other words. But a few are actually really good, good enough that I find myself wishing that if I could grant her one fairy godmother wish it would be this: follow-through. (Actually, if I could grant myself one fairy godmother wish it would be follow-through.) Because when this girl harnesses her persistence to start a project to completing her vision of how the project ought to turn out, she's going to be a force of nature.

This photo kind of says it all.

1 comment:

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

I hope you hang onto these posts and turn them into a book for your daughter when she turns 18. (My Mom did a photo book of me for that b-day - one pic for every year, growing up.) 7 years old is such a wonderful time. They are relentless, aren't they? I see a lot of you in her... :)