Four and 2/3rds (and almost 3/4ths)

Yikes, it’s been longer between updates than I realized. It’s been a marathon few months, not least because Laurel seems constantly to be in some kind of developmental transition. Her emotions are running high (translation: lots of boundary-pushing, upsets and meltdowns), and she’s starting to sound, at times, like an absolutist/teenager; when we say no to something in one instance, she breaks down, saying she’s “never” going to have/do whatever-it-is. Or when she expresses a desire and we say no, she claims we’re “not listening to her words.” The difficulty, now, is trying to explain to her what “never” and “not listening” mean, and why they’re different from what she’s expressing in her pique of frustration. This happens more than once a day, lately. Also, curiously, she is way more interested in pushing boundaries and doing what she wants — to the point that negative consequences are not really a deterrent.

Kids; just when you think you’ve got their number, they change their number.

Anyway, lots of wonderful stuff is happening, too. Laurel is still drawing and writing a lot. We’ve been to so many birthday parties this fall, for her friends and ours, and for each one she’s made at least one drawing/card. Some have received a few pieces of artwork, and a lucky few have received whole manila envelopes full, including a birthday crown. (Here’s her Uncle Nathan wearing his.) Art is a daily part of her routine, and when she gets some downtime, she pulls out the pens, crayons, paper, scissors and tape and gets to work. Around Halloween (more on that in a moment) she learned to draw skeletons, so whole sheafs of paper were covered with them. And, more recently, multicolored spiders. She’s so busy and creative. But we have to pay attention to keep up our stock of paper, tape and other office supplies.

A couple of months ago, Laurel needed a haircut, and insisted to the stylist that it be short. She got it, and really likes it. (In fact, she says she now wants a buzz cut like her Uncle Tyler’s.) However, it’s also caused her to make more random proclamations like, “Just because my hair is short doesn’t mean I’m a boy!”, which makes me wonder if kids at school are saying anything. She says they aren’t, but given that I had a similar haircut at her age, and I remember people calling me a boy and getting grumpy about it, I suspect it’s happening a little. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her a whole lot, though.

Halloween, as before, was a big deal. She looked forward to it for weeks, and was insisting on wearing her leopard costume (which she has now worn for three Halloweens in a row, and probably needs to be retired before the next one) until about a week before the big day, when she said she wanted to be a ghost. Fortunately, she took it well when I said I didn’t have enough time to make another costume, so she was a leopard once again. We trick-or-treated around the neighborhood, yielding an enormous bucket of candy on her part, after which she sorted through and pulled out a number of pieces she said she wanted to give away. On the downside, the morning after Halloween she selected about 5 pieces of candy she wanted to have for breakfast, and was devastated when I insisted she have a nutritious meal instead.

Laurel has fostered a close relationship with the crossing guard who works near our BART station. They talk together a little every time we cross the street in the morning, and Laurel brings her flowers or drawings sometimes. Rhonda recently knitted Laurel a pair of slippers and, finding out they were too small, knit two more pairs, one red/white and one variegated purple. Laurel is also friendly with the woman who runs the flower shop near the station, to the point where she often comes home with fresh flowers just a little bit limp from a day in the city.

In all, she’s doing very well — happy, healthy, curious and growing. And excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner…