Dear Lila: You’re Eight Years Old!

Dear Lila,

Today you turn eight years old! We started your morning with the usual donuts, balloons, flowers and presents. I love showering you with attention on your special day, because you absolutely deserve it!

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It feels a little weird that you’re turning eight, because on one end I feel like you were just my little baby. I can actually feel your little hand in mine as we took on all our daily adventures to story time, play dates, the zoo and coffee shops. It was just you and me most days and it was so awesome.

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But then on the other hand you seem so much older than eight. You have a quiet maturity beyond your years. Sometimes when we’re laying in bed before I say goodnight, you tell me about your day, your friends, whats happening in school and I feel like I’m talking to a young woman, not a little kid.

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You’ve shifted away from princesses and dress up towards pop singers and begging me to wear some makeup. While I am not too keen on you growing up too fast, I am enjoying watching the amazing person you’re becoming. I tell my friends all the time that you really are such a wonderful kid. When I feel like I’m failing as a parent, I remind myself how great you are, so I must be doing something right, right??

Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 1.38.05 PMThis year you’ve really come into your own. You are so confident that it blows my mind sometimes. When I was your age I often tried to do anything to just fit in – even hiding parts of myself to appease others – but you are unabashedly yourself. This is probably why people are so drawn to you!

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Just like when you were a toddler and would ask me daily to “go bye bye sumpin,” you still like being active and busy. This year you did cross country again and got first place at championships against girls a year older than you. It was so exciting! Other sports you’ve done this year include swimming, tennis, golf, basketball and yoga. You also still love art, drawing, singing and you’re just starting piano lessons. On the rare days we don’t have anything planned, you usually beg to have a friend over to play. You do NOT like just sitting around.

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Despite having a lot of friends, you still love spending time with your family the most. You have developed an especially close bond with Alden. And he adores you right back. You love to hold him, play with him and try to get him to giggle. You’re also still very close with your cousins Mabel and Reagan. I’m so thankful for technology that has allowed you girls to play games together despite covid and living so far apart.

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You are incredibly smart and have an insatiable appetite for reading. Daddy can’t keep library books coming fast enough for you and we often have to tell you to turn the lights off or you’d read well into the night. In fact last year you read the most minutes during a school competition – 33 hours in one weeks! You definitely got your memory from your Daddy as you already smoke me in matching games. I love that you love school, learning and expressing your creativity. I often find you writing stories, plays or poems in your free time.

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I love how sensitive and open you are with your feelings. Almost every day you tell Daddy and I how much you love and appreciate us. You always express your genuine appreciation for the things we do for you, like take you shopping or have your friends over. Little things many kids take for granted, you recognize and know how lucky you are. Any time you feel angry, upset or sad, you are able to work through your tough emotions and apologize on your own later. Like I said, you’re mature beyond your years!

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These birthday letters are always bittersweet because I know you’re growing up and eventually will set out on your own. Any time I start to get sad though I remind myself how lucky I am that I got to spend literally every day of your life with you. I haven’t missed a thing and it’s been the BEST experience of my life watching you grow up.

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I hope you know how special you are to me and Daddy. We are so proud of you kiddo!!!

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

 

Dear Lila: You’re Seven Years Old!

Dear Lila,

A few days ago you turned the big SEVEN! I keep telling you that you’re not allowed to get any older, but for some reason you’re not listening. ;)

This year you’ve been more excited about your birthday than any other year. We’ve been planning your party for months now and you woke up beyond excited. Daddy and I set up donuts with candles, balloons, rainbow flowers and presents for you in the kitchen.

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You got dressed up in your “alternate dress” for school, took your class treat (frosted brownies) and kissed me goodbye.

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For your special birthday lunch, you requested Lunchables pizza with a cookie treat. I tried to tell you that Lunchables are actually pretty gross, but you insisted! Sure enough when your brothers and I met you at school for lunch, you quickly decided that “Lunchables are yucky!!” Good thing I brought you a milkshake and salad from Zingos too. :)

This weekend you’re having 25 kids to the local gymnastics place for your birthday party. This is your first “big” party and you cannot wait to have fun with all your friends, and mostly to open all your presents. I’m going to be almost 38 weeks pregnant with your brother, so I called in all four of your grandparents to come as reinforcements.

What can I say about you at this age other than you are an absolute delight. You make daddy and I so proud with how sweet, considerate, smart and talented you are. You melt my heart daily with your little notes, drawings and “I love yous.”

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You are doing so well in first grade, where you’re learning to read like a pro. You recently asked us to get you a light for your bed so you can stay up reading at night. You also love making up your own stories, illustrating them and then reading them to your brothers in bed. They LOVE when you read to them!

You are also completely obsessed with art. Every morning you wake up, turn on your favorite show “Beastmasters” and get out your art supplies. By the time it’s time to go to school you’ve usually created 3-5 pieces of art already. You are also taking a drawing class at our local art studio, which you love.

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In addition to being creative, you also are quite physical. This fall you ran cross country again and placed your highest at 8th place out of 150 kids! You also are constantly on your climbing wall or pushing yourself to do new tricks on the playground.

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Beyond all your talents and accomplishments, I think what I love about you the most is how kind and loving you are. While your brothers may annoy you, you still are gentle and patient with them. You are a loyal and supportive friend to your classmates, and respectful to those around you.

Daddy and I love spending time with you because you’re so enjoyable to be around. On days where I feel like I’m failing as a mother, you always find a way to pick me up with a hug or by telling me “you’re the best mom ever.”

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Honestly on those days when I feel like I’ve not lived up to my best as a parent, I think “well I must be doing something right, because Lila is such a great kid.” And you ARE! Thank you for paving the path as the oldest in our family.

I can’t wait to see what new things you discover in your seventh year. I love living life alongside you and watching you grow up into a spectacular little girl.

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Love you always,

Mom

 

Dear Lila: You’re Six Year’s Old!

Dear Lila,

A few weeks ago you officially turned six. I can’t believe how much you’re growing up right before my eyes. You are abeautiful little girl inside and out.

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For your birthday we give you the option to do a party or an experience and for two years now you’ve chosen an experience (which I secretly love).

We spent the weekend of your birthday, just you, me and daddy, in Chicago. We took you to all our favorite places from when we lived there like Pizanos Pizza, the Shedd Aquarium and the Water Tower Place. We spent a special lunch at the American Girl Doll store and swam at the hotel. You were in heaven!

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Daddy and I talked after the trip and both said how much we enjoyed spending time with you. You’ve hit an age where we can take you anywhere without any worries. We love seeing the world through your eyes and talking with you about all sorts of things like whether Santa is real or not (you’re on the fence), how you like your new house (you like your bedroom, but miss your neighbors) and who your best friends are at school (your cousins are still tops).

I also told daddy that I think I am going to really enjoy parenting slightly older kids (not that the young years aren’t sweet of course). I just love how inquisitive you are and how we can experience life together. I think six is going to be an amazing year for you.

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You are thriving in Kindergarten. Your teacher said you are a “joy to have in class” and that you are friends with pretty much everyone. You come home every day from school happy and seem to really enjoy learning. You are especially interested in learning to read so you can stay up in bed reading at night.

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This year you’ve also gotten more into sports and other extra curricular activities. In addition to golf, swim team and acting, you tried cross country and did so well! You placed as high as 15th out of 170 kids and I got a glimpse of our future as bleacher parents. :) You also have gotten into baton twirling and walked in your first parade this past weekend. I have a feeling you will excel in whatever activity you choose to do.

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You’ve become such a sweet big sister to your little brothers. They idolize you! When you’re at school they ask where you are and when you’re home they beg you to “chase me Yaya!” I’ve been so impressed with how sweet and patient you are with them. And often I catch you helping them navigate conflict over toys and sharing. They are lucky to have you as a big sister.

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At home your favorite things to play usually involve legos or art supplies. You also can never get enough of daddy chasing and tickling you. In the evenings before bed you will organize your brother’s to do a “parade” around the kitchen. We put on marching band music and you all throw pillows up in the air as if they were batons.


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We all love your playful, creative spirit, Lila. You make our family so fun and lively. Watching you grow up is one of the great joys of my life. I know how special you are and can’t wait to see all that you become. I hope you always stay as happy and silly as you are now at six.

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

Dear Lila, You’re Five!

Dear Lila Kate,

You turned five years old on November 18! I wanted to write you a post on your actual birthday, but of course things got a bit hectic. You and your brothers sure do keep me on my toes!

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This year for your birthday we celebrated at Disney World by taking you and your cousin Reagan to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. You girls were in heaven getting your hair done, nails painted, glitter put everywhere etc. I love that you are still into princesses, dresses, jewelry and other girlie things. I have heard little girls can outgrown that shortly after five, so I wanted to soak it up with you while I can.

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Four was such a transformative year for you. You began to really think about the world, your place in it and how you want to experience life. Your big emotions from age three calmed down and you began to do things that show me you’ve matured a lot. Things like saying sorry unprompted and really meaning it, sacrificing what you want for your brothers, offering to carry my purse to the car when my hands are full, bringing your dishes over to the sink without being asked and having fun playing games even if you lose.

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Nothing has made me more proud of you than when your teacher told us at parent conferences recently that “Lila is one of the nicest kids in class.” More so than knowing your letters, numbers etc, I care most about you learning how to be a good friend, to be kind to others and to love yourself. You make me so proud in this sense every day!

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You love your family so fiercely that sometimes daddy and I joke that no five year old has been more obsessed with their parents than you are. You would honestly rather be with us over any one else in the world. When I leave even to run to the store, you follow me out the door asking for at least five rounds of hugs and kisses.

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You often say “I’m never going to college! I’m going to live with mommy and daddy forever!” Secretly, I would be happy if that actually happened. I want you to experience all the world has to offer, but I hope you are forever close to us (even if it’s just in heart). You are my best little buddy and I love having you always by my side.

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Since the arrival of your brothers, your life has changed a lot. It would be very normal for you to feel resentful of them, but you have never once acted harshly towards them. At most you will tell me you feel jealous if I’m spending time with one of them or try to also sit on my lap if I’m holding one. I try to give you lots of one on one time to let you know that you’re very very special to my heart. You are such a fun big sister – always chasing the brothers until they fall in a heap giggling. They adore you so much.

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We’ve tried to keep your life unscheduled so far. You mainly go to school in the mornings and then are home with us the rest of the time. We do little outings to the library, coffee shop or park. I figure you have a lot of time to explore hobbies & sports and I like our calm, quiet life! You already show a lot of aptitude and interest in a few things like singing, art, music, golf, running, swimming and acting. I’m looking forward to when you really start finding your passions.

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I am told often that you are a carbon copy of me. Right now you love “looking like mommy.”  I hope as you get older that continues! You are very tall (just like I was) and are off the charts for height. You’ve already lost two teeth and have your “7 year molars” coming in. Being so tall so young wasn’t always easy for me, but so far you think its so cool that you’re “the tallest in class!” I am going to do my best to help you to always love yourself and to think being tall is a great thing (because now that I’m an adult, I see that it so is!).

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Leading up to your birthday I told you that I thought you should just stay four, since mommy didn’t want you to get older. You said “No mommy I have to turn five! But I’ll always be your baby, remember?!” The truth is I love watching you grow up. I know what a special honor it is to be with you every day as you experience life.

I still can’t believe you are five! It seems like not long ago I was dreaming about what being a mom would be like. Whenever I would think about it, I always dreamt I had a daughter. You are everything and more that I dreamed of and I feel so lucky that you are mine.

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Happy birthday sweet girl!

Love always,

Mommy