|Jumping with her sister|
It is always a bit breathtaking to see the former day care buddies together- I remember three of those four from the baby room, and the fourth joined when she turned two. They are so big now, but I can still see the babies that they were. I struggle to believe that these kids are really seven.
Pumpkin is amazing me in so many ways these days. She works hard at gymnastics and has gotten quite strong, and overcome earlier fears about the high bars and the climbing rope. Her gymnastics gym has closed due to a zoning dispute- I am working on finding a new one, and quickly. She says she doesn't want to lose the strength she's built up.
She is fluent in Spanish now, with such a large vocabulary and strong reading skills that her teacher lobbied the principal and got a special dispensation for Pumpkin to visit a second grade classroom for reading. They don't usually start grade-swapping until third grade, I think. Pumpkin's teacher said that she is so far ahead of her classmates that she was unconsciously intimidating them, so it is better for everyone to have her visit the second grade classroom.
We're a bit nervous about what the future holds for us, as it is becoming increasingly clear that Pumpkin is really quite academically gifted. We're encouraged that the school is willing to try things to help her stay challenged, but we are also thinking about what else we might do. We don't really care if she is pushed as far as possible as quickly as possible academically, as long as she is still learning things at school and is not bored. But we also don't want to waste her capacity to learn, not because we want her to get "ahead" (whatever that might mean) but because she loves to learn. Honestly, so do I. I get that knowledge is power and all of that- but knowledge is also fun and I want to indulge that.
So we're doing more science things at home, and are expanding Pumpkin's computer use. The computer thing wasn't completely on purpose- we accidentally left the USB network dongle in after a software update, and she discovered that she could open a browser and search for things. I only found out because she told me about how she looked up what her little sister's name means. I guess she'd been paying attention when we Googled things for her. Then, a couple of days later, she figured out how to check the weather forecast for herself. I guess she'd been paying attention when we checked the temperature for the day, too. So we checked that parental controls were on, and we've left the internet active. We'll see how that goes. So far, she's mostly gone to Nick Jr's website to play games. I'm OK with that. Perhaps after a few months playing games, she'll be interested in trying out some of the computer languages geared at kids to make her own games. I think it helps to use a computer for awhile to see what it can do before you try to program it. Perhaps my opinion on that is skewed by my own childhood experience, though- I received a hand-me-down computer when I was in the eighth grade. I wrote a program to make it play "Ode to Joy" and then lost interest in it, because I didn't really know what else to do with it.
Speaking of music... we're also thinking about starting music lessons, but we haven't figured out the logistics of that yet. Between that and the fact that our summer commute is looking rough, it may be time to get a sitter instead of just relying on the YMCA program. The sitter could help with the after work crunch time and also perhaps be present for music lessons. We are fortunate enough to have the money to spend to make things easier, but we still have to find the time to figure out how to spend it, and that is not trivial.
But I was supposed to be writing about Pumpkin. She is still shy about speaking Spanish in front of us, but we saw her use it on our recent trip to Catalina. We were all out for Mexican food, and Mr. Snarky found himself missing a place setting. He flagged down the waiter and asked for some cutlery, but between his accent, his tendency to speak without moving his lips (also a Kiwi trait, I think), and perhaps his unusual (for America) word choice, the waiter was flummoxed. Someone else quickly supplied that he wanted silverware, but I heard Pumpkin supply that, too... in Spanish. She wasn't tentative or unsure, just quieter than the adults, so her offering was missed.
I look forward to hearing Pumpkin use her Spanish more in the future, as she gets more confident in her speaking abilities. I suspect that she'll be quick to use it when she thinks it will help. She loves to help- almost to a fault. At her recent "end of session" cheer performance, she was very concerned to help the other kids get into their correct positions. She truly just wants to help, but I confess that I cringed a bit at that. Luckily, that didn't last long, and I beamed with pride watching her do her jumps and kicks.
At her birthday party, she requested that her school friends sing her Happy Birthday in Spanish after we all sang in English. They agreed, and those girls belted out the song without hesitation. It was awesome.
But my favorite thing from this weekend was this: after the party, we came home to open gifts. Pumpkin liked everything she received- but she was particularly excited to open a toy horse. Petunia was very excited by that gift, too. Pumpkin held it close for a minute or so, and then she told us to get it out of its packaging so that Petunia could play with it. She is a wonderful big sister, and a wonderful kid. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year holds.