Thursday, May 21, 2009

Amazing Lily

I have to say I am so enjoying Lily right now. I understand that kids--and people general, perhaps--go through phases and growth spurts, and of course, this too shall pass. But right now, school is winding up--the last day of class is June 3--the weather is at last warm, our thoughts are turning to summer, and camps, and camping, the asparagus is fresh and wonderful, and Lily is a delight to be around.

She's fun, she's funny, she's listening to me and taking my suggestions, like reading new books--I talked to Jess, a children's librarian at the Jones Library in Amherst who gave me five or six books, all of which I borrowed, and am making Lily read. The first one was a chore and then she realized how great they are and she's zooming through the rest. We like to play flute duets together. We have fun shopping together, and yesterday I even left her home alone for 45 minutes while I went to the food coop to get dinner. She's got a new bike that fits much better and wants to bike to school and to her flute lesson (!). She's going to hike Monadnock next week with school! This is a big-deal mountain, her biggest, and she's going to be way pooped afterward. I climbed it as a new 7th grader at the Charles River School and remember it as a wonderful time.

She's relaxed, and just a lot of fun to be around. Not every single time, but then, who is, every single time? I like that she's developing a sense of who she is and what she needs to take care of herself, and then she's doing those things. She gets to bed on time (mostly), for example, because she knows how cranky she gets trying to get up the next day.

We did get her the iPod. We gave it to her Monday maybe Tuesday night, and she was utterly surprised. We got a bright purple Nano, very modern, and she is having great time syncing it to her iTunes, which is mostly Broadway musicals. She's been going through my song list to see what she wants -- definitely the Dixie Chicks, she says, she likes the Dixie Chicks -- and playing the games and generally learning the care and feeding of an expensive electronic devise. One of her first reactions was about how now she'd be able to relate to the kids at school, who all have iPods and Nintendos. Not that they'd be friends with her, necessarily, but she wouldn't feel so left out.

To that end, we let her stay up and watch the finale of American Idol last night, which stretched into two hours, mostly horrible commercials. What a crappy show! I don't think Dave or I had ever seen it before, but it was mostly what we expected. We don't really watch much commercial TV and things like a giant Ford ad, with the two finalists receiving Ford cars, was treated as a new music video and not the ad that it was. In the end, of course, the two guys get the cars as gifts. And then there were more commercials. Dave and I also hated the way they made fun of the earlier, terrible singers. Yuck.

But it was fun explaining to Lily who all the ancient performers were, Queen (and of course Adam Lamont or whatever his name could have the perfect gig there, right? as lead singer?) and KISS, and a geriatric Rod Stewart. I did like hearing Carlos Santana play guitar. That was way cool. Lily liked all the music, more than we did. And now she has something to talk about at recess. Quite a balance, that: the social thing of knowing about TV shows and music and movies, and not having enough time just to read and watch good movies and go to museums and shows. I don't think I'm a snob about all this other stuff, it's just that I don't have time to watch it and to get the downtime I need.

Lily has also just come through three days of ERBs, standardized tests that Bement uses to gage how the school and the kids are doing, and to introduce the kids to these kinds of tests. She actually said they were fun, and easy. She liked filling in the bubbles.

She’s really gotten into music this year, between two choruses and flute lessons. She’s also starting piano in June. She had a solo in one chorus and played the flute in another. All her music teachers comment on how musical she is, Sarah, her flute teacher, particularly, who's really excited about how good Lily’s gotten just since she started lessons in January. Her tone is lovely, and Sarah says she’s making really good instinctual choices when she plays.

The iPod was also a reward for working so hard both academically and socially this year. She's much more easy going, much less moody. She's got more of a sense of humor and she doesn't fly off the handle shrieking and slamming doors nearly as much. She almost never whines these days, unless she's tired or stressed. She doesn't complain about kids at school any more, really, and she had a fantastic time at Nature's Classroom, the three days, two nights camp she went to with school in April. Because of that, she now does sleepovers, and had a great one this past weekend with her friends Lily and Adeline, who live around the corner. What a find that friendship has been! How wonderful they are here!

Lily has found her way at Bement. She's improved so much in math that she’s being moved into the advanced group. This spring she routinely aced the tests. She has a great number sense, her math tutor says (yes, even though we pay tution, for some reason she had to have a tutor, but that's been a find, a great gift). She likes math, she enjoys it, and that’s the best thing I could hope for.

Socially Bement is hard because it's small, and everyone comes from some place else, and her friends live at least 20-30 minutes away. (Gosh, I drive a lot! I hate it. I won't miss that next fall.) I've told her I suspect that JFK, her new middle school, would probably be like Camp Norwich socially, and she loves that camp. A guidance counselor at JFK agreed; a lot of kids from JFK go there.

Middle school will be a mix of kids she’ll like and kids she won’t, and thankfully, the friend pool will be much bigger, 200 kids verus 27, and mostly local, mostly Northampton. I told her that she'll find the artsy kids, the kids in band, the kids who are political and interesting. In the fall we expect she'll keep up with the chorus and the flute and I hope the piano, and also her theater improv class, and who knows what else. And she's psyched to get a locker. Of course.

1 comment:

  1. how lovely for you all! pre-teen through teenage-dom is tricky, true, but also full of delights.

    And AI is commercial, true, but you need to record it so you can whiz past the commercials!


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