Dear Rolo,

Today you are seven years old! That number seems really big to me. I think it must seem big to you as well because you are really excited about this birthday. I don’t mean that you are excited about this birthday party because we aren’t having a real party for the first time. I mean you are just genuinely thrilled to be turning seven! And going to 2nd grade! And just whatever else turning seven brings! Your dad and I are meeting it with just slightly less enthusiasm. We’re always excited to watch you grow but you’re just getting so oooolllldddd. And big. And hard to pick up.

You don’t need us to read to you anymore which is wonderful but also a little brutal. You pretty much have to LET us do things now. Mama, you CAN read this to me tonight if you want to. I would LIKE you guys to swim with me, but my survival is no longer dependent upon you being there. Stuff like that.

You wake up with an alarm. You just pop right up and get moving. You’re not always a ball of sunshine, but it hasn’t occurred to you yet that you can just ignore the alarm. This whole alarm business means that I no longer wake you up by cuddling with you in the mornings, or tickling you awake, or just going in and making stupid noises at you until you start laughing while pretending to stay asleep. These are the trade-offs to being a parent. You work and work to make this feral human function properly, and then when they do you realize you are mostly still around to wash their clothes.

You shower, brush hair, brush teeth, and feed the dog all on your own. I still lay out your clothes but I think this falls under the LETTING me do stuff category. Or maybe it’s because while I can admire the creativity of some of your clothing choices, I can’t let go of decorum enough to let you wear them to school. I just had no idea how self-sufficient you would be at so early an age. Good job! But also stop! I’m very conflicted about this whole thing.

You are very outgoing. Fearless in the face of social settings. Back when you had your very first piano recital we weren’t sure what to expect. Neither your father nor I would have made it through an individual piano recital as children. At least not with any grace. While you showed some normal nerves about doing well, you were actually excited for your turn to come. How many more people until me? Only six more people now! It’s a part of your personality that I don’t understand on a personal level at all but admire about you the most. You move through life with very little self-doubt. I hope that part of your personality is allowed to remain intact as you age.

You are still stubborn, prone to whiny outbursts, and easily frustrated at things like socks. Mittens that get caught in doors. Finding you haven’t done something exactly according to directions. Realizing your Kindle will die if you never plug it in. Yes, it is still dead. You plugged it in like 30 seconds ago. Still dead. No, you can’t have my phone while you wait. Or the iPad. Or Daddy’s phone. Yes, it’s still dead. Watch the attitude.

You get the idea.

95% of the time you are just happy-go-lucky. Everyone is a potential new friend. You will play forever if you can find someone willing to follow your instructions exactly. You will still play with people even if they don’t follow you around, but you would certainly PREFER they just listen to you. Your poor babysitter (a 14 year old girl) is absolutely exhausted when she stays with you. Your constant energy just wears her out. I understand.

Anecdote: Last week your father came home with a package of strawberry Pocky as a treat for you. You asked if you could have it right then. He agreed as long as you didn’t eat the whole thing because it was almost dinner time. After a while I asked if you were ready to put it away because hadn’t Daddy said not to eat the whole thing. Your response: “yeah, but he already ate one so technically I couldn’t eat the WHOLE thing even if I have everything that’s left.”

I think you’re pretty clever. I also have enough self-awareness to realize this is one of those stories that other people will probably not find that charming and see as evidence that we are raising a brat. Either way, there is a snapshot of you and your wicked little mind.

You recently discovered a love for Korean food. It’s funny because you always ask to eat at the place with all the appetizers. What they really are are the side dishes that come with the Korean barbecue. Little pickles and salads and kimchi. You only eat one of them. The cold sesame potatoes. Cold potatoes and tons of meat. You SOUND adventurous on paper, but in reality you are still just the same old carnivore.

There are so many things I could write about from this past year. Many of them sound like strange repeats of the year before. We moved! You started a new school! You adjusted well! We fly on planes a lot (though not as much as last year). What else? You are in Girl Scouts and piano lessons. You are nearly done with all possible swim lessons offered before you can join a swim team. You already qualify but we are keeping you in to improve your different strokes and rotary breathing. You may be done with soccer forever. We’re leaving that one up to you. One day when you look back and wish we had pushed you harder to be better at soccer just remember that you knocked two of your own teeth out playing peewee soccer and we made the best choice available to us at the time.

I guess I should wrap this up. You just keep growing and being awesome. We’ll keep being happy and a little sad (sappy?) on the inside. Happy 7th birthday, Rolo!


Mama and Dada (one of the last parts of your babydom that clings! You still say Dada. Never stop.)

Rolo, just as I was about to publish this post you started yelling at me from the bathroom to please engage in conversation with you. You do this all the time and I just can’t participate to your satisfaction. Like now, I’m typing in another room. I’m neither able to concentrate nor make my voice heard. It finally occurred to me to take you a book and tell you that people usually read in the bathroom. It worked. I feel like I just imparted all the secrets of the universe to you.





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