8 is pretty great

This is a special birthday post for a really special kid. Yeah, this kid.

Hey Kirsten,

You’re 8!!! You were looking forward to turning 8 so much and I’m so thrilled that it’s finally here! :)

For your birthday this year, you wanted a huge party with fireworks and life sized balloons and a giant cake, but then I was all “WHAT??!! How about a day out at the pool, extra hugs, no balloons and a much smaller cake?” and you were immediately like “Yeah ok sure sounds fun!“, no questions asked.

You’re such a great kid and everyday, I’m thankful that I get to have you as my baby. I kind of miss having you as a tiny baby, you were so adorable and squishy with your crazy chubby cheeks. I had the best time munching them. I tried to munch your cheeks while you were asleep last week and I’m sad to say that they’re extremely unmunchable these days. Also, you swiped me away with your sleepy hand, so I get the idea. Ain’t no more munching for me. I guess 8 is where the munching stops.

Watching you grow up has been one of the greatest joys of my life. And it’s extra special because you’re so much like me. You and me, we’re cut from the same cloth. Rule followers. Overachievers (ahem, model pupil award, congrats again!). People pleasers. Problem solvers. Non-confrontational (most of the time). A little bit bossy but it’s only because it pains us to watch people doing it wrong when there’s clearly a better way to do things (although we try really hard to rein it in). We like people to like us, which is both good and bad. Big crowds make us uncomfortable and we’re most happy being with family and a handful of good friends.

I know all the potential pitfalls that come with this particular personality trait and I hope you make different mistakes than I did, because those that I made aren’t worth making again.

What kind of mistakes? So many. We’ll talk more about this but here’s one:

One time there was a sports meet in school and we were all grouped according to houses to cheer for all the runners. When it was my brother’s turn to race, I thought I was being cool and badass by jeering him instead of cheering for him. I was such a brat and that was a totally bratty thing to do, which I immediately regretted but it was too late because it had already been done. The craziest thing was that I liked my big brother and I secretly wanted him to win – I just didn’t want to look like a baby in front of all my friends.

If anyone ever tells you that it’s not cool to cheer for your siblings or whatever, do it anyway because taking stupid coolness advice from other kids is the very definition of uncool.

Although looking at how much you adore your brothers and baby sister, I think you already know this.

I know being such a good kid can be a drag. You’re always expected to do the right thing and give in to the little babies and be the thoughtful, responsible older kid. When the mayhem escalates, you have to wait your turn while we sort out everyone else. I’m sorry it seems like we take you for granted sometimes. I want you to know that mommy appreciates all the things you do and I’m so, so glad you’re my baby.

Actually now that I think about it, you’re also pretty different from me. You’re basically like a superior v2.0 upgrade with more awesome features. You’re not terrified of lizards and bugs. Lizards are the bane of my existence but you’re like “I don’t even care if a lizard climbs on me, I’ll just flick it away.” Just so you know, I’ll fight a lizard with my bare hands for you if I have to, but since you don’t mind fighting them yourself…well thanks!

Also, your pain threshold? Very impressive. When you fell and split open your chin, you were so calm even when it hurt and blood was pouring out of your face. You sat bravely through the stitches and at the end of it, you just smiled and said “Phew, that wasn’t so bad!” I had a similar stitching incident on my finger (while trying to cut frozen chocolate) when I was about your age and grandma will tell you that I was nowhere near as calm or non-screamy.

In a few years, we’ll have to navigate the teenage situation that parents of teens try to warn me about. Hey, promise you’ll talk to me ok? In return, I promise to listen without judgement. I will however, offer excellent advice and also ice cream.

I know I say this a lot but one more wouldn’t hurt – mommy loves you so much! Happy birthday, sweetheart.

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