Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Girl at 7

The Girl had her seventh birthday yesterday. TW’s parents made the journey for the occasion, and we did the whole cake-and-presents celebration.

Even allowing for my bias, she’s a remarkable kid. Last week we caught the end of a documentary about feats that people have performed in emergency situations when the adrenaline was pumping. The narrator ended with “Superman isn’t from the planet Krypton. Superman is inside each of us.” TG sat bolt upright and declared “Or SuperWOMAN, Mister!” I gave her a high-five.

For her birthday, the only thing she asked for was books. (She got nine of them, which should get her through the week.) We threw in a couple of games for the wii, just for balance, and she liked them, but it said a lot that it never occurred to her to ask for them.

She’s more subtle than her brother. The Boy makes his presence felt through volume and energy, and his humor runs to the slapstick. TG flies a little more below the radar, but she fires off one-liners and “slow burn” expressions worthy of a comedian. And she does it with a self-possession that you wouldn’t expect in a girl her age. Last year, when her grandparents were visiting, she deadpanned that the upstairs bathroom “smelled like something crawled in there and died.” Her grandfather laughed out loud.

For all her sense of irony, though, she’s a fundamentally optimistic kid. Her world makes sense, and when something doesn’t make sense, she narrows her eyes, crinkles her nose, and holds her ground until she gets an explanation. Sense will be made, thank you very much. And, eventually, it is.

We’re hoping that she can keep her optimism and sense of sanity when she hits those difficult years. She’s a cute kid, but we’ve taken pains not to make too much of that. She doesn’t do the girly-girl stuff that some of her friends do, and we don’t push it. But she’s disarmingly sweet, and the sweetness isn’t affected.

As the younger and last child, her milestones bring with them a sense of finality. When she went to school, we were done with preschoolers. When she learned to ride a bike, that was the last time we’d teach someone to ride a bike. When TB hit a milestone, it was a breakthrough; when she hits one, it’s a breakthrough, but also an ending. Luckily for us, she’s so darn sweet about it that we don’t feel the loss until later.

Happy birthday, TG. Next week we’ll replenish the book supply again.