Things I Love About Olivia (6 Years Old)

This little lady of mine. This six-year old. I love her so much. I love her laugh and her sparkling grey-green eyes. I love her funny jokes that don’t make any sense. I love her light step and the way she bounds through life with an unmatched energy and charisma. There are so many more things to love about her at this age. Here are just a few of them:

  1. She lights up a room. There’s a word for this kind of girl: bubbly. Whenever I take her anywhere she tends to meet every stranger, tell them everything about herself, exude confidence and camaraderie, and leave everyone around her smiling. Just the other day I took her to Starbucks for her birthday outing (Starbucks is her favorite place because of the pink cake pops, obviously.) Within minutes, half the restaurant was engaged in talking to her about her plans to see Swan Lake with mom and how it was almost her birthday and someday she is going to be a ballerina, too. Her laughter fills voids in a way that continues to echo even after she has gone home or gone to bed.
  2. She loves to be a big sister. This past year I have seen her ooh and ahh in a special way over Archer in all his newness. From the beginning, she seemed to have a special connection with him. He was the most calm when he was in her arms. She loved to sing to him. And now she loves to play with him and chase him and he lights up at the sound of her voice.
    And she and Henry have a special friendship. They are always inventing games together. She loves to show him things. I am often surprised by things Henry knows how to do, and he always tells me, “Livvy taught me.” Today we stopped by Olivia’s classroom and she took great pride in getting him some breakfast, showing him how to make a journal entry and letting him do all the other morning check-in activities that cool Kindergarteners like to do.
    And she and Ellie stay up way past bedtime every night. Talking and reading and giggling. We had to make a rule that they could only sleep in the same bed on weekend nights because they just like each other too much. I hope that’s always the problem they face. I often see them together, in ballet class, at recess, silently reaching for the other’s hand and holding tight. I think some of her confidence comes from knowing she has Ellie in her corner.

  3. She loves to twirl. She loves to dance. Every moment of every day. If her feet aren’t dancing, her heart is. Her ballet teacher often asks her to demonstrate the jetes (leaps) because somehow she just instinctually knows how to do them. When we went to Swan Lake, she spent every intermission jete-ing to and fro in her white dress, pretending to be the swan princess. “What’s her name again, mom?” “Odette.” “Yeah! I’m Odette!” She is also very into arabesques. The other day she said, “It’s good that we have two hands! Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to give hugs! Or do arabesques! Or hold the dustpan!” All important things, I think.
  4. She is blossoming so much in school. Her reading has taken off, and she takes so much pride in being able to express herself through writing. Reading her journal entries at school makes me laugh, and I love seeing what she thought was important enough to write down. Ellie is also a big fan of writing, and when she got a new notebook and Olivia got something else, she made it clear that she also wanted a notebook because she has lots of important things to write. Her teachers adore her. And who can blame them.
  5. She is eager and enthusiastic and always willing to try new things, as long as they don’t involve a lot of walking. We’re going to have to work on her stamina a bit.
  6. She is so delighted by simple things. A good dancing song. A great spinny dress. Sparkly shoes. New markers. A great snuggle with a special stuffy. She is easily contented and quickly at home wherever she goes.
  7. She has such a kind and gentle soul. She comforts friends who are having a hard day. She is the first to offer her favorite remedy – band-aids – to anyone who is hurt. She always wants to show people what she’s doing, write special notes on any scrap of paper she can find, and lavish love on those around her.
  8. She has big plans. A couple of months ago she wanted to be a baby doctor, as long as she could have a baby of her own, as well. Now she’s thinking more along the lines of water ballerina (synchronized swimmer). She also has plans for us to travel the world together and will often refer to,”When mom and I go on a trip all around the world…”
  9. I love being “glasses girls” with her. I know it’s not trendy anymore to match with your kids, but everyone knows I will match with her just as long as she lets me. The glasses are our bond. I always felt out of place as a child, being the only one in my family who wore glasses. I’m glad she and I are in it together.
    Since the moment she was born, I’ve always known there was something very familiar about her. It has always seemed like I’ve known her for a very long time. More than anyone, she looks like me and my family and I love to see our past and future in her eyes, in her still-small frame, in her hopes and dreams.
  10. She still loves to snuggle. She will still crawl into my lap even as she is getting so big and long. She loves to give hugs. She loves to love. When asked what she wants to do, her response is usually something like, “Never un-snuggle with mama.”

It is a beautiful and terrible thing to see her growing up. Beautiful because she is truly a wonderful human being. Terrible because it is all happening too fast. She lost her first two teeth this year. She started Kindergarten. She learned to read. She grew like a weed. Six. Six? Can it really be six years? I don’t know why it is that with her especially it never seems like there is quite enough time. That before I’ve caught my breath there she is, reading a whole book by herself. There she is, another year older. There she goes out into the world.

My prayer for her is that she will always feel this confident, this delighted with life. That she will always love her family the way she does now. That she will always snuggle under the covers, telling her sister secrets. That she will always love dark parties and spinny dresses. I pray that she will always have a heart of compassion for those around her who are hurting. That she will always offer a smile and a helping hand. May she always be kind and generous with her love. May she always write love notes and jete her way through life.

Oh Livvy, my love. I’ll keep you forever and ever.

 

Things I Love About Olivia (5 Years Old)

Olivia. Liv. Livvy Bug. Girl-Girl. We love her a whole lot.Feb-4610

Feb-4637There are so many things to love about this girl as she grows and changes and becomes her own person. She certainly has a dramatic flair, and yet she has a tender heart of compassion and kindness for everyone around her.Feb-48571. She is always practicing using big words. I frequently hear things like, “Oh. Peeling this orange is so exhausting.” or “I was just like panicking and panicking. The sun was too bright when we went out for recess!”
And I love hearing the way her mind latches on to things and tries to make sense of them out of context, like those big words. Or when she told me a couple of months ago, “My birthday is close to June’s birthday.” “Who is June?” I asked. “You know. He made the whole world a better place?”  “Oh! You mean Martin Luther King, June-ior.” “Yeah.”

2. She likes to tell everyone, everywhere all her plans. On our trip to Victoria we stayed in an AirBnB condo on the 7th floor. Every elevator trip she was sure to tell everyone in the elevator everything about her plans. How she was going to go to High Tea at the Empress Hotel. And how we were on our way here or there. At the end of the trip, we ended up on the elevator again with someone who we had already shared with. He asked her, “So, how was your High Tea?” And she seemed genuinely shocked. “How did you know about that?” Because you tell everyone everything. That’s how.
While Ellie is the real strategist of the trio so far, Olivia certainly makes plans, too. For her birthday I gave her the option of having a birthday party or going to the aforementioned High Tea. She immediately chose High Tea. And I think she was quite pleased with her decision, which made me very happy. I love experiential birthday celebrations. I think she’ll probably remember the experience and how special it was much more. Our day together was full of so many special moments. The girls were dressed in their fanciest dresses and we were served three tiers of treats with our tea. Olivia loved that there was a “Happy Birthday” sign made out of white chocolate for her to eat. And they could see our ferry, the Victoria Clipper, from the hotel, which was also very special. Getting to choose her special day made her feel so grown up and important.
She also likes to plan things for school. She’s had her show-and-tell planned for weeks. And the other day she told us, “It’s Happy Hats day at school so I need to wear a happy hat.” We had never heard of this event, so were pretty sceptical, but she seemed so sure, so we let her take a hat, but said Daddy would bring it back if it wasn’t really Happy Hats day. When she arrived at school, proudly sporting a blue felt cloche with a flower, she was suddenly downcast. “I really thought everyone would be wearing happy hats!” Turns out, she just had the day wrong, so she still got her Happy Hat day the next week. 
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Feb-47073. She’s the best sister. (Henry wouldn’t really cooperate for these photos, but she loves him, too.) I love to hear them play together. Ellie is getting to the age where sometimes she leaves to play with another friend and it is so hard on the little ones to be left behind. Everyone’s just happiest when they can all be together. And it works out nicely because there are usually 3 central characters in most of the storylines that they like to make believe they are a part of. Current obsessions include movies like Home, Tangled and Frozen (still). I guess Henry doesn’t have enough sway yet to get them to play DinoTrux with him. Speaking of which, they love to quote all the lines from these shows. They only get to watch movies or TV on the weekends, but they certainly seem to have a knack for soaking up the lines.
The other day we were talking about how it’s time for her to learn to pedal a bike since she’s been doing such a great job on the balance bike. After some back and forth on the subject she declared, “It has a low probability of success!” (-line by Oh from Home)

4. She loves to sing. And she usually sings very well. Although sometimes she gets the lyrics wrong, which only makes it more adorable. They’ve been obsessed with Home lately so she is always singing the songs from that. My favorite botched line so far is, “I keep falling. I keep falling for you. Like the rainfall. Like a candy bar.” (Instead of canon ball. But hey, I’ve fallen for a candy bar before, I understand the sentiment.) And she can sing a heart-breaking rendition of “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story. Gosh, we’re going to be raising some dramatic kids.

More fun lyrics include: “It’s the circle of life. And the moon destroys it.” and “I’m like a shooting star. I can’t go far.”

5. No matter how big she gets, she’s never lost her love of cuddling and being touched. She loves to get massages from Aunt Mallory. And when I asked her what she wanted to do on her special day of no school she replied, “Never un-snuggle with mama.” That made my heart happy. There’s a lot of love of adventuring and doing in this house, but I love that this one always reminds me of the importance of just being. Of just holding each other. I feel so rushed sometimes with our crazy schedule that it’s hard to carve out the time to give her the space to just never un-snuggle, but I sure do love that she is so vocal about her need for it. She is the one who reminds us to slow down and enjoy being present with each other.

Before her first day of preschool I asked her if she wanted to get a new outfit for her first day of school. “No,” she replied, “I just want to stay home and pick flowers and make ‘Liv and Mama’s Famous Pasta Sauce.'” So of course, we did just that. I love that, given the choice, she will always choose the more thoughtful, more intimate option. She doesn’t need many things to be happy, she just likes to enjoy people and being loved on. I hope that when I grow up, I’m just like her.
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6. She is so compassionate. She always notices other people and their circumstances. When her siblings get in trouble and maybe lose a toy or go to a time-out, she is the one who gives them her own special stuffed animal, or goes to check on them in time-out to see how they are doing. She has great concern for anyone who isn’t feeling well or needs some extra love. When Henry visited her classroom and took part in Pre-Kindergarten for the day, she gently showed him around her classroom, showing him how to sit criss-cross-applesauce with his hands in his lap at story time. She let him sit by her to paint and read him a story. She’s not bossy, but rather invites him in to everything she’s doing and makes him a part of the class. Which is the same thing she does at home. She’s the perfect bridge between Ellie and Henry, creating the atmosphere where all three can get along contentedly. Feb-46887. She is so funny. She is always cracking us up with her jokes and funny comments. And this funny wide-eyed look she likes to give when she’s goofing off. She is usually pretty enthusiastic about life and whatever it is she is doing. I love that duality in her, a love of adventures and silliness, combined with a perfect contentment to just be at home, doing nothing but spending time together.

And she has some pretty funny things to say: “Henry! It’s a special day! You get to sit by me!” //  “My childhood was a long time ago.” // On our way to the car one day she sneezed and then said, “Mom, I’m allergic to my brother!”

Feb-4789And finally, An Interview With Olivia:

Favorite Color: Pink and purple.

Favorite Animal: A giraffe. Because they like to gallop.

Favorite Toy: Jessie. And also the phone. And my Rapunzel toy.

Favorite Stuffed Animal: Talentod, Sea Sparkle and my kitties. And my foxy pillow. Because my foxy pillow is snuggly.

Favorite Food: Sushi!

Favorite Song: Hello and all the other songs by Adele.

Favorite Activity: Snuggle.

Favorite Memory of the Past Year: Going to High Tea and eating the birthday sign and the chocolate cup and all the special treats. Going to Murchie’s and sharing the special treats around in the circle. We went on the ferry and I loved that part. I like when we went to the lake house and swam with my flower floaty.

Who is your best friend?: Amelia. I like playing with her.

What do you want to be when you grow up?: A doctor. A baby doctor! And then I’ll check your baby!

What are you looking forward to about being 5?: Playing with my kitties. I don’t want to go to kindergarten. I’m not ready for it.

Anything else?: I like to eat ice cream and pizza! And I like in Canada when I saw lots and lots of water fountains.

She’s the best. And I’m looking forward to another year learning from her and laughing with her and snuggling her. So glad she’s ours.