Monday, April 1, 2013

when bacon is your back-up plan, you know you're doing ok

Saturday night, after the birthday cake was baked and the presents were wrapped and the bedroom surprise was complete, I stopped cold. Oh no. Do we have sausage? Ainsleigh had asked for pancakes and sausage for her birthday breakfast in the morning and here we were, concluding our midnight decorating escapades and I began to worry that I didn't have her preferred pork product. As I voiced my concern to Joel, I followed it with, "Well I know we have bacon, so that can be our back-up plan." Joel very slowly shook his head at me, "If that's our back-up plan, then I think we've got a great plan."

This year, for Ainsleigh's bedroom decoration, we crept into her room and strung crepe paper streamers from headboard to footboard. For anyone considering these kinds of shenanigans, let me impress upon your mind just how crazy loud everything is in the middle of the night. Streamers are VERY LOUD. And this makes for a lot of GIGGLING. Which is also VERY LOUD. Luckily, Ainsleigh sleeps like a rock. We were a little concerned that she might wake up and freak out that she was in a spider web, but considering we put snakes in Donovan's room this year, I guess we're going for the freaky.

Par for the course, she loved it. And we not only had bacon, but we also had sausage. In the morning, I said to Ainsleigh, "Would you like pancakes and sausage, or... pancakes, sausage AND bacon?" She semi-pursed her lips while squinting at me through appreciative eyes before pointing a single finger-gun at me and saying, "Mom, I like the way you're thinking. I'll take all three."

For her birthday, among other things, she got "Just Dance 4," a video game that promotes family bonding and endless entertainment, mostly at the other performer's lack of coordination. In years past, whether it was MarioKart or Super Mario Bros. or just about anything else (except maybe bowling), Donovan quickly surpassed Ainsleigh. She has always been a great sport, though, either opting out of playing or at least laughing at herself. This is one of her best qualities, by the way. I didn't realize just how GOOD Ainsleigh would be at Just Dance. I won twice, but she blew everyone else out of the water (myself included, at times). And what was hilarious was that as soon as was declared the winner, she'd give a very aggressive, "Yes! I owned that!" Which is so opposite her usual c'est la vie attitude.

I was happy for her, though, and how she declared, "Finally! A game I'm GOOD at!" This seems to be how life is going for her right now. We recently had parent-teacher conferences, and Joel and I were thrilled with how she is doing. She is your average, or slightly above-average fifth-grader. I don't think you can fully appreciate "average" until you've been told your child is below-average, or needing an intervention. It has taken a couple years of trying things and laughing at ourselves and then also trying not to cry (too much). But here we've found our niche and I feel like we can say, "Yes! I owned that!"

Her teacher laughed at how she continually surprises him. "Sometimes I'm sure she's not listening, so I'll say, 'Hey Ainsleigh, are you with me?' and then she'll totally regurgitate everything we've just talked about." I had to laugh with him. That's so totally her. It looks like she's zoning out (and, maybe she is -- maybe that's how she works), but really she's absorbing.

This first baby of mine has consistently thought outside the box. She is more of a curves and swirls and accessories and secret nooks kind of girl. She has made ME have to think outside the box. This has not been comfortable for me. I love straight lines and clear borders and obvious boundaries. Because of her, I have had to look at learning and parenting from a different angle. But in the process, I've seen things I never would have. I've seen those curves and secret nooks that mainstream schooling doesn't recognize.

We're beginning to stretch into the world of hormones, I think. I casually gave her a sports bra to go under tank tops for our rec center workouts. I mentioned I could get her some white ones to go under shirts if she wanted (she quickly shook her head, despite me seeing the telltale blue peeking out of her neckline, indicating she wasn't wearing it just for workouts). I may just put some in her dresser for her to test out. While I'm not going to push her to grow up, I'm not afraid of her getting older. She has always done things on her timeline in her way and I look forward to what other things I will experience because of her.

For instance, she requested rack of lamb for her birthday dinner (and it was Easter - how appropriate!). And garlic mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. And for dessert, a banana coconut cake. I found one with a chocolate whipped cream frosting topped with a dark chocolate ganache. These are things I wouldn't have thought to do, were it not for a girl who looked at that figurative box, shrugged, and then turned her back on it in favor of the world around her. It was one of the best meals and cakes I have ever eaten. I love this girl so much that sometimes it physically hurts. I can't believe it's already been 11 years.

Now I need to go perfect my dance moves before she gets home...


Rebecca Rynders said...

Oh rack of lamb. Austin has been wanting to make that forever, and he just bought some so I am sure he will be calling you soon for the recipe and help!