Friday, September 16, 2016

Caroline 7 is Heaven

Caroline,

Your seventh year has been oh so sweet. It just keeps getting better. It is a privilege to watch you grow into a young lady - to discuss real life issues and to watch you learn.

Parenting has gotten complicated this year in a new way. I'm sleeping through the night most every night. Physical exhaustion is not a part of my daily routine, but my heart has already been broken for you as I've watched you be disappointed, frustrated and hurt. You're an empathetic young lady and you feel all the time. I'm praying for God to guide me as I mother your tender heart. Your tenderness is a gift and I pray it will bring God glory.

I read a book about mean girls in the early elementary years - yeah, it breaks my heart that I needed to read that book to help my first grader. There was this girl, who you kept calling "friend" but she was using you. There were times when I wanted to really tell you what I thought of her (not good thoughts). But you can be pretty bossy a leader in your own right. I'm comforted by this. If people won't enter your imaginary world, you continue even if they laugh about it. Though your heart may be sad, you don't waiver and you tell people exactly what you think. You really aren't a very good follower except with adults. You are always the kid presenting the ideas, making the decisions and when/if they don't follow you continue, often by yourself. So the book is also helping me teach you to listen to others. Good leaders listen.

You've read so much this year. I can't emphasize that enough. I estimate that you have read about 1500 chapter books this year, but the reading machine isn't just for chapter books. You tear through any books you can get your hands on. Before your 7th birthday you had read some pretty difficult books for a 6 year old including The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Peter Pan by J M Barrie, all of the Mary Poppins books by P L Travers, the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (at least 3 times), and countless Boxcar children books. Now that you have upped the ante and are reading longer harder books, you are going through fewer every week, but you still read between 15-20 chapter books a week on top of school and goodness knows how many little books each week. The chapter books include anything from Boxcar children level to classic children's novel level (3rd - 7th grade). This summer you read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, A Little Princess and King Arthur

By February, we had to establish a new rule with you at school. You weren't allowed to have any books at your desk. Even after library time, you had to turn over your new library book to your teacher. You were and still are unable to hear ANYthing when you are reading. Once I was volunteering in your room and the teacher called the students to the carpet, everyone went to the carpet except you and you didn't even notice. You were engrossed in a book.

I actually grappled this year with whether the ability to hear while reading is a learned skill or something you just get better at as you get older. (I have not found anyone who knows for sure or any literature on the matter so I still don't know)

Another scenario that played out at school was you hiding a book just under your desk to read it while the teacher was teaching. I walked into your classroom one morning and saw you doing that. You didn't even notice I had walked in the room. We had a talk about deception that day after school and how any form of deception is lying.

Finally, we (with your teacher) decided to take books away while at school. You read plenty at home.

You have continued to enjoy piano this year. I love watching you get excited for a particular piece to play or when you go back through your old books to play some of your favorites. I also love watching you help Lucy. More and more we are able to do some duets. That is also a joy. One day you will be able to do duets with your sister. I look forward to that.

You seem to be more average height this year in your class especially by the end of the year. I think my short genes are starting to catch up to you. You were 70% in height at your well visit.

You moved to a new school again this year and I love how easy this transition was for you. You were not afraid. You were in a special accelerated class for students and had Mrs. Bryant who was amazing at taking each student to their next level. We are forever spoiled and I'm sure no teacher will ever measure up.

You quickly excelled in your class and finished first in your class in the race of Math Facts. By the end of the year you had passed Division 6s (able to take a 25 question test on Divide by 6s in under 2 minutes). You also were 3rd place in the entire school for Reading Counts points. Reading Counts are points collected for books you have read and taken a Scholastic test on for comprehension. I know I'm biased but you could have easily have been first if we had known about it earlier. We didn't start until mid-October AND you only took tests on about HALF the books you read all year.

During recess in the Winter, Mrs. Bryant had several options for indoor activities including dancing and board games, but you always preferred to make crafts. You would come home with the strangest crafts like paper babies and paper stores all make from scrap paper with old tests written on the back of them. You are always creating something.

Caroline you were are first strong-willed child. You have a mind of your own and when it is set it is hard to change it. Mostly so far this has been a negative. There have been tantrums and melt-downs. But I'm starting to see a lot of positives. On a few occasions this summer. A friend of yours would want to do something I would not approve of - like sprinkle sand on the carpet in your room  - and you wouldn't do it even though everyone else participated - you didn't. And some of the girls at school left you out of their group because you don't have Shopkins. But you have never once mentioned getting Shopkins. You could careless what is cool.

Caroline, you are smart, creative and beautiful. Being your mother is the greatest joy of my life. You teach me so much about life and God. I'm excited to watch you lead and create this year.

Love, Mommy