We had a planned family meeting last night that was really fun. The agenda items included Kali's desire to get a checking account (which has been approved by the parents and Alida, whose only contribution to the conversation when asked what she thought of Kali getting a bank account was "good") and Kali's interest in talking about having more chores/responsibilities around the house. She offered the suggestion that she be the one to do laundry - in its entirety. Not a whole lot of discussion followed on that one! She was even reasonable enough to tell us that we didn't have to wake her to get it started but that she wanted to do whatever parts she was awake for. So she and Alida just headed out to hang the load Jason started while she was still slumbering. The timing for this inspiration on her part could not have been better. Laundry seems to me to be one of those household tasks I would have little hope of accomplishing right now, other than the folding part...
Just another note on the family meeting before focusing a bit more on Kali's birthday. Our family meetings start with appreciations and then are followed with the agenda, announcements and advertisements. The appreciations section can sometimes be the most challenging part because Kali finds it very difficult to verbally express gratitude, especially directed towards other human beings, which I find disheartening (at best). Alida, on the other hand, was into it last night. I was writing just as fast as I could to keep up with her response when asked if there were things she appreciated or was grateful for. I think I got this pretty close to verbatim:
"I'm thankful for the food that we eat and glad for the cherry tomatoes to get ripe and glad for popcorn to grow and then I'm glad for raspberries to get ripe and I'm happy for, I'm glad for, anything that we eat and anything that we don't eat." And the amazing thing was that that clearly inspired Kali who added her own list of being "glad that the chicks and momma hen weren't too hard on Buttercup's chick when integrated into the flock and for rice, spaghetti, parmesan cheese, strawberries, peaches, ducks, climbing trees, water, purple, yellow, brown, grass and swingsets."
Kali also likes birthdays even though it didn't make it onto this list. This year she chose not to have a themed birthday party but to just have a sleepover with her closest friends. So the week was filled with a Tangly Woods night at the Rockingham County fair, her birthday evening at home with just our family and then a sleepover complete with pizza pockets over an outdoor fire. She seems to be adjusting pretty well to being ten - no magical disappearance of all unreasonableness but some glimmers of budding maturity and a continuation of her overall kind and helpful disposition (accentuated right now by her being a gopher for me quite often).
In honor of her 10th birthday, here are 10 of the things I love about Kali (and you might guess that in some cases the things I love the very most about our eldest can be the same things that make me fear losing my sanity, but for today I'm focusing on the love aspects of each):
- Her appreciation for and knowledge of the natural world and how she'll be playing outside and all of a sudden disappear into a climbing tree.
- Her fascination with animal breeding, especially her rouen ducks.
- Her love for learning and enjoyment of conversations about all sorts of theoretical math problems, black holes, and all sorts of hypothetical situations that seem to have little bearing on our life in the here and now.
- Her ability to completely lose herself in a book (to the point of being awake reading at 2 a.m. with no concept of the time).
- Her enjoyment in being a big sister, and her advocating for her understanding of Alida's best interests.
- Her beautiful long brown hair and confidence in her body and the way it works to allow her to take part in the things she loves to do.
- Her creativity and excitement about new experiences, discovering new places and new information about the world around her.
- The fact that she places very little importance on the acquisition of particular material goods that are deemed important by external sources.
- Her strong sense of the need for justice and her ability to stick up for herself and especially Alida when she feels that something is unjust.
- Her absolute delight in the simple things of life, like an evening at the county fair. Here she is upon arrival:
|Picnic foods chosen by Kali: pesto sandwiches, corn chips, mint tea and of course black olives!|
|Kali could hardly contain her excitement long enough to eat and I cannot interpret Alida's facial expression.|
|I think this was the "tornado."|
|This was one of Alida's favorites, just about the right speed.|
|Visiting the calves at the fair from the farm where we get our milk.|
|Kali's birthday dinner: mint tea, roast duck and chicken, fresh tomatoes, green beans and the best mashed fresh potatoes I've ever tasted!|
|Her chosen birthday "cake" - no bake chocolate peanut butter cookies.|
|She wanted to decorate her own cake for the birthday party and clearly has watched her grandma closely!|
|This was not staged - I just happened to see them piling up by age and was lucky enough to get there in time - if only the laughter could also be recorded but it's not hard to imagine.|
|She even got in on making her very own pizza pocket. :)|
|In addition to her love of the natural world, she loves some synthetic things too - yes, this is a very large marshmallow!|