Dear Lila: You’re Nine!

Lila,

You turned the big nine about a month ago. We celebrated with your annual balloons, flowers, presents and donuts for breakfast. Then we had a joint birthday party with your friend Bubba at the gymnastics center. Your classmates had so much fun celebrating you two and you got about a mountain of presents.

This year was another great one for you. You are doing awesome across the board in school, sports, your friends etc. This year you won the Cross Country championships again, made the 10U travel softball team and are playing in two basketball leagues. I love watching and coaching your sports! You also made it into the gifted program at school and continue to challenge yourself across the board.

I am in awe of your confidence as a young girl. I was always a bit awkward and very self conscious at your age, so it is so cool to watch you be so confident. At a cross country meet, a boy in your class was razzing you saying you were going to lose, and instead of getting your feelings hurt, you razzed him right back with a good comeback. The whole thing ended with you both laughing. This confidence will serve you well as you grow up and take on the challenges of middle school and junior high.

You are at such an interesting age where you’re kind of between being a little kid and being a tween. On one end you want to do more grown up things like go to bed later, walk to your friends houses on your own and pick out all your own clothes, yet on the other end you still want us to do your bedtime routine and set up the Christmas elves each night (even though you don’t believe any more).

Growing up isn’t always an easy thing. I still remember crying in my bed as a girl about your age because I was sad about getting older. I can tell you’re in a bit of that emotional stage right now too. Dad and I are trying our best to give you some freedom while also honoring your desire to still be a “little kid” when it pops up.

One of my favorite times with you in before bed when we sit and talk together. You tell me all about school, your friends and confide in me your worries. I feel so lucky that you feel comfortable talking to me about your life. You actually paid me the best compliment ever recently when you said “mom, I love talking to you. You should be a therapist!”

It’s very important to me that you know that I always have your back, I’m always on your side and nothing you could do would make me stop loving you. My goal is for our relationship to stay close as you grow up so you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, knowing I am here to support you.

You are an amazing kid who makes me incredibly proud. You are wise beyond your years, truly. Thank you for being a great leader among your siblings and for giving Daddy and I grace as we figure out this parenting job with you first.

Keep being you and show the world what a special person you are.

Love you sweet girl!

Mom

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