Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New year, high gear

After a whirlwind Christmas season, punctuated by shopping, company, guests, family, and a change of venue for the holiday, I'm finally able to sit down, breathe and write. And realize that the new year is here (January is almost over?) and with the resolution season comes a whole new high gear.

Earbaby is nearing the end of her second term. Grades are better, though Latin is still a challenge, and may keep her off the honor roll this time around. But she is determined to get to high honors, despite all the distractions of countless projects from each subject (she had plenty of homework through the two-week Christmas break), and of course a busier and busier social life. She is planning on squeezing out as much of every day as possible.

Her most exciting new project is her first job. For two hours one day a week, she will be babysitting a toddler. I was so surprised at how excited she was at getting this opportunity. There was the "her own money" aspect, but just the idea of babysitting appealed to her in a way I never would have imagined. She's been a helper for some of the toddler classes at one of her dance studios and has talked about having to help them use the restroom, the nose-pickers, the ones who sneeze in their hands and then want to hold yours, you know, the typical stuff mommies do without a second thought. None of those seemed to get her too excited.

Yet the idea of caring for a little one on her own made her practically jump for joy. She went on her own to pick the little girl up, and decided she could manage even when the little one cried. "She's all right, I'll call you later," she said and she confidently made her way down the street.

EB has become nothing if not confident. She is navigating this city more and more like a pro. When she had to change her tutoring session to accommodate her babysitting, she decided she could come to her dad's work to meet her tutor after school. No longer is she always requiring a ride to her destination. She has become more familiar with hopping on the train and looks askance at friends who lack the confidence to do the same.

Sometimes I wonder if there's too much freedom, then remember hopping on the train and going downtown with my friends at her age -- in a city about four times the size of her hometown.

This year is already starting off with a bang. Her New Year's Eve was spent in the company of friends with a dinner downtown and a sleepover. My husband and I realized then that we had probably seen the last of New Year's Eve with EB, watching The Three Stooges marathon and eating questionable Chinese takeout. She's moved on to bigger and better plans.

Her higher gear has also included a return to gymnastics competition. After two years, she competed in her first meet, and actually did better than expected, considering that she didn't even realize that she had a meet until a week before. And considering the butterflies and the fact that she didn't remember her floor routine from two years ago, until a video was found on our backup drive. Yet, once she was back in the thick of it all, she had a good time.

Now every week is an adventure. A master dance class sent her over the moon, despite her being sore for a couple of days afterward. She's getting ready for two semi-formal dances and a fancy sweet 16 party, and trying to sneak in a few community service hours at the church, or her old school. Then there's movies, skating with friends, cheerleading, basketball games and plenty of homework.

There just aren't enough hours in a day for all she wants to do. The idea of forgoing one activity (do you really have to go to that basketball game?) sends her into a rant of how we never let her do anything.

So, when possible, we give her the space to go full tilt, as long as she keeps up with her obligations. She's learning that hard lesson, especially after missing a cherished dance class because she got held up in traffic after going to a basketball game when there clearly wasn't enough time to do both.

Oh to have the energy to go high gear. I wish I could join her in her endless pursuit of friends, fun, frolic and festivities.

Just watching her makes me want to take a nap. In fact, I think I will. Somebody has to.

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