For her seventh birthday breakfast Dom made chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.
On the way to the farmer’s market Bella exclaimed “Everything looks different today.” Indeed everything does. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since my little wide-eyed wondering child entered the world. Everyone who visited us in the hospital commented on how alert she was. So alert and eager to take everything in. And she’s still the same, wide-eyed, eager girl, exploring the world. In the last year she’s come out of her shyness and is now quite eager to talk to anyone and everyone. But she’s definitely an introvert. She likes to retreat to her room, shut the door, seek quiet to recharge when she gets overwhelmed, much to poor Sophie’s dismay.
Last week Dom went on a walk with her and came home marveling: “I see an unkempt lawn full of dandelions,” he says, “But she exclaims how happy the people who live there must be to have so many beautiful flowers. I see a house that needs attention, she exclaims how beautiful the color blue is. I see a seedy empty lot, she sees a wonderland.” She pays attention to rocks and sticks and flowers and bushes. She has a favorite house on the block, the one with the beautiful garden, a bit unkempt and overgrown but full of flowers. She tells him the names of plants.
Bella picks radishes while Sophie watches. We were all enchanted by the red, red, redness of them.
She got seven dollars from Grandma Virgina and determined to spend them at the farmer’s market. She saw some vegetables she wanted to buy last week. When we got there she asked for some bagels and rolls at the bakery booth. Then she went for the radishes, a big pile of glowing red globes. She also eyed the baby bok choy: “That looks delicious! I want to try it.” And, “Yummy kale!” she exclaimed. Her money was spent on the radishes and a watermelon ice.
Those little dots on the left are me and the kids.
After the market treasures were safely stowed, we walked down to the beach. We discovered a jellyfish, some crabs, beautiful rocks and mussel shells, clams and bricks. A couple of tide pools were an invitation to wonder and Bella crouched to poke and prod while I tried to dissuade the boys from throwing stones into the pool and muddying the water.
Lunch was mac-n-cheese at Chili’s at her request, a nostalgic reprise of her first birthday. This time there was a lot more noise and jostling with four other kids at the table.
When we got home she launched into a complicated game with Ben and Sophie. So lovely to see the three of them playing together so nicely.
Dinner was steaks on the grill. With asparagus and sauteed radish greens and a salad—farmer’s market bounty. Turns out Bella just wanted to cut the radishes and serve them to us. She didn’t really like eating them. Oh well.
I made a lemon cake from scratch with a rather runny cream cheese frosting. Too much lemon juice in it, I think. But Bella liked it.
She told me right before it was time to open her presents that she likes books best of all. Good. I got her some.
She loved the wrapping paper. It was the filler paper from a box of something, maybe from King Arthur Flour or maybe Penzey’s. She was very excited that I’d drawn her a little picture on each package.
Sophie has a hard time when other people get presents. She wants all the shiny things. Bella was sweet and let her hold the new queen whenever Bella had to do something else. Sophie was mollified. I was very proud of Bella’s generous heart.
It’s hard to believe my little baby girl has grown into this great tall lanky girl, all arms and legs and gap teeth.
This morning I was so proud to hear her say that something was not this nor that. “Nor. She said nor.” Yes, my little girl talks like a character from a book much of the time. She’s hovering right on that threshold of reading. She can spell her own name: I S A B E L L A. She can write it too.
Bella was upset after a frustrating reading lesson and drew this frowny figure. She then made it into a scary witch surrounded by spiders, a ghost, bats, a wolf, a bear. She was delighting in scaring Sophie with ever grimmer figures in a Halloween motif.
I am so very, very blessed to have this amazing little girl in my life.
Updated. Just for fun: