Dear Rolo,

Today is your eighth birthday, and you are very excited! I think this stems from the fact that after not doing a birthday party last year, we went ahead and bit the bullet and scheduled one this year. It is probably the cause of the zit on my face. And the one on my chin. You, of course, have no such social/party anxiety, and so I’ll tuck mine away because it clearly makes you very happy.

Let’s see. How was the road to eight for Rolo? Well, this was a rougher one than some of the others have been. We have been at odds with you on and off throughout the year. However, when I look at the year overall, I can see that the pattern is tied closely to the school year. A big part of me hopes (knows deep down) that when you move on from this particular school year, we will have fewer conflicts. Every kid has one of those school years, and with any luck, we’ve got yours almost over and done with.

Over the last year you have somehow aged more than just one year. It seems like you’ve jumped to a preteen at least two years too soon. You grasp sarcasm better than my middle schoolers and get in trouble often for your withering attitude. So. Often. You have picked up a love of current pop music from kids on the bus. You read at a level that sometimes gets you (and me) in trouble. You recently took a graphic novel to school that showed two middle school characters kissing on a bench. This proved too much for the second grade set, you included. You may read and comprehend at a high level, but deep down you were still seven and “EEWWWW, THEY’RE KISSING! EVERYONE COME LOOK AT THIS BOOK!” I got an email from the teacher on that one.

Speaking of kissing, you are super NOT into the notion of romance. I only mention it because of the vehemence with which you aren’t, and not because I think you should be. You are highly mortified when people on television or in your books have the audacity to express interest in one another, even verbally. I remember feeling a little like an odd man out in elementary as other kids started chasing each other around the playground and sending messengers to find out whether so and so liked so and so. This does not seem to be your reality. Everyday you come home with tales about your class playing Dinosaurs v. Wolves or Marvel v. DC or Dinosaurs v. Batman v. Superwoman type games on the playground. The rules are ever-changing and incomprehensible, but it seems to be entirely gender neutral. I like that.

You still love all your dolls and stuffs, but right now you are mostly loving playing video games, Hot Wheels, and board games. Oh my goodness, you have such a burning passion for playing card, dice, and board games. You are very, very good at them. You are a sore loser and an obnoxious winner. You are able to keep track of rules and strategies better than your father and me. It’s almost uncanny.

You’ve always shared a love of youtube videos with your dad. You guys are currently back on a Hot Wheels kick. You and I watch the mesmerizing/satisfying cake decorating videos together. You especially love to watch people that do survival type videos, but only if they don’t talk to the camera. All three of us like to watch and listen to the Rainbow Connection and It’s Not Easy Being Green songs every night. I think you would love to have a youtube channel of your own because that is one of your favorite things to both pretend to do, and to actually create when we’ll indulge you. We recently made a Dragon Fruit tasting video. You also like to make cooking shows when we cook together. You call it Baking with the Barrons even when we aren’t baking.

It was a pretty big year for you. This is the year that you went to London and Prague and your first sleep away camp and your first non-family sleepover! You chose, independently of us, to play basketball. You are getting so independent. Not so independent that you open the lids of your own beverages or pick out your clothes everyday, but definitely in some other ways.

We can’t believe we have an eight year old! That seems old. How are we in the 8 to 10 range already? It means I’ll turn around tomorrow and you will be ten. That seems unreasonable. As always, I enjoy experiencing each new age with you. I even enjoy each new age when I am 30 minutes into a lecture about how telling a half-truth is the same as lying, or when I am peeling your face off the piano keys where you’ve plopped it in an overreaction to hitting the wrong notes, or when I have to take multiple half days off work to get you to the orthodontist so that you can make room for all of your teeth. Even then I enjoy watching you at each new age. Let’s see what year eight has in store for us!


Mom and Dad





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