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Posts Tagged ‘lil’ j’

Oct
08
2018

So This is 8


My sweet baby girl,

Yes, I can and will still call you that. Probably forever. You may be older, taller, and have a lot more to say, but you will always be my baby.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you… You are one remarkable little girl. This last year has been full of a lot of changes for you and you’ve taken it like a champ. You became a big sister of a little sister, and you started back at public school. Every morning you jump up excited for the new day. Not once have you asked to go lay back down or sleep a little longer. I barely whisper that it’s time to wake up and you pop up as perky as ever. I love that about your personality. Sometimes you get a little down, or frustrated but overall you’re a very positive person.

You got baptized a month after your birthday and it was such a special day. Remember? I love how you kept asking if you had sinned yet for a good week or two after. You were so determined to keep that slate clean as long as possible. But I think you understand now that we all make mistakes, what’s important is apologizing and always trying to do better.

I write you little notes in your lunchbox and ever since you told me how much you enjoy them I can’t seem to stop. Even when daddy sends you off to school, if I’ve forgotten to write one I wake up and make one real quick. I’m not much of an artist but you’re helping me become one.

Will work for treats! Another thing I love about you is how excited you get over mini celebrations. BYU Football games, movie nights where I’ll wash your hair, practicing cheer with “Coach.” You’re all about having fun, and others having fun.

You adore your little sister (no surprise there) but you are also still so sweet with your little brother. To me, the sound of you two playing together is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. You probably don’t realize it but he looks up to you so much. And he loves spending time with you. I know your sister will too.

We finally figured out why reading has been such a struggle for you and you are doing better and learning more every day. I imagine in no time you’ll be reading Percy Jackson books all by yourself. But I must admit, it’s been fun to read them aloud and share that enjoyment together.

I love how you tell me the good and bad about your school day. I hope we always have that open relationship and you always feel like you can come to me and tell me anything. I want you to know I’m always here to listen to anything you’d like to tell me.

You are such a big dreamer. Right now you want to be an olympic cheerleader/ movie star/ singer. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I’ve enjoyed watching you grow as a person. It’s so fun to watch your determination for things. You’re working hard to learn how to do a back tuck in cheer, and working hard at school. You’ve made friends in class and rekindled friendships you had in kindergarten.

There is such a beautiful light about you and I want you to continue to fuel that throughout you life. You are going to inspire and uplift so many people, and encourage them to be the best they can be as you work to be the best you can be.

I’m so lucky to be your mom, and I’m so excited to see what’s next in this new year of life!

Love,

Mom

 

“Mommy, what does D-O-O-R spell?”

We were riding in the car and my daughter was reading the letters off of a button. It’s not exactly the question a mom wants to hear from her 8-year-old. By “normal” standards it’s one of those words someone her age would instantly see and know. The question sent a prick of sadness through me, another reminder of her ongoing struggles.

“It says door, baby.”

A year ago I would have just told her to figure it out, offering little help, assuming she was just being lazy. Then I would have made her sound out five other traffic signs on our way down the road, just for good measure.

I was extremely insecure about my daughter’s reading struggles. Partly because I was homeschooling and I felt responsible for her being behind, and partly because she was not living up to who I thought she could be. Every time a parent told me about their child reading chapter books, or finishing another Harry Potter book I’d question why my daughter wasn’t there.

Every other subject was enjoyable for us. She grasped math concepts and could retell me stories from early American history without a problem. But she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book.

A little more than a year ago I went to a little gathering that changed my life. One of my blog partners, Responsibility.org hosts their influencers once a year in Washington, D.C. for a #TalkEarly summit to discuss ways to have open and honest conversations with our children. And how we can encourage that in our own communities. We also hear from doctors and experts in the parenting realm and just have a good uplifting time. Well, last year one of our guest speakers was Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. A book about allowing our children to learn from their own mistakes. Resisting the urge to help them through everything because that will inhibit their ability to feel frustrated and reap the thrill of solving a problem on their own.

The entire time I kept thinking about my daughter, and her struggles with reading. I thought about the ways I’d been teaching her and listened to Jessica’s suggestions for allowing our kids to figure it out. And most of all, I heard her call to love our  kids for who they are, not who we wish they were. I had to let go of the desire of having a Harry Potter-reading 7-year-old, and accept that this just wasn’t her. Maybe she would struggle with school. Would I love her any less?

I came home from that summit and took a new approach to how I worked with her. Instead of forcing so much practice, repeating steps, and insisting she wasn’t trying hard enough, I sat back and watched how she would dissect a word. I took some of the pressure off and paid attention to how she worked. I began to realize that my pride could be getting in the way of finding out if there was another underlying issue. What could it hurt to talk to a professional and see? Maybe even rule it out.

I already shared how that went down. And the realization that my daughter is dyslexic was  still not what I expected, nor easy to swallow. Even last week at her 504 meeting, listening to her dyslexia profile evaluation results and hearing that she’s below average on reading fluency, spelling, phonological awareness, etc etc etc… It’s not news to me but it’s still difficult to hear. Still, it’s been harder for me to accept than her.

At her 8th birthday party in front of all her friends she asked if I’d read the cards to her. I later asked if that was hard for her but she told me it was no big deal.

The first week of school I asked if she felt insecure about anything and she said just getting on the wrong bus.

I write her a note every day and stick it in her lunchbox and sometimes she asks a friend to help her decipher a word.

She knows reading is, and may always be, a bit of a struggle for her, but she embraces it as a piece of the puzzle that makes her up. She knows where she has weaknesses she also has strengths. And seriously, I can thank Rick Rodian for making her believe her dyslexia is tied to her being a demigod.

I never thought I’d have a child with a learning disability/difference/whatever you want to call it. But it’s just a part of who she is.

She’s also a great little cheerleader, who wants to go to Worlds some day. And compete in all-star cheerleading in the Olympics (not a thing yet but hopefully will be). She records her own gymnastics and workout videos, then imports and edits them herself in Final Cut Pro.

Art, science and engineering are some of her best and favorite subjects, and though she says she doesn’t like it, she’s great at math. She may even apply for a STEM program for 4th and 5th graders.

And most of all, she has an incredible ability to know who she is. To politely decline doing something everyone else is doing. Or swing on the swings even if her friends prefer to sit in the shade. To look at her own artwork with pride knowing it was the best she could do. Her confidence to ask a friend, or raise her hand and say “I can’t read this,” without feeling embarrassed.

She is completely and undoubtedly aware of who she is. And it’s my job to love every bit of it.

 

Today’s blog sponsor is TalkEarly but the story I’ve shared and all opinions are my own. For more resources on having open and honest conversations with your children please visit TalkEarly.org

 

“It worked mama!” My daughter exclaimed. “I saw a ladybug and I wished on it and my wish came true!”

She told me she wished to learn how to ride her bike that afternoon. On two wheels that is.

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

We set out to check the mail. My son asked if he could bring his bike–A balance bike. And my daughter wanted to bring hers too.

My husband took the training wheels off of it a couple of weeks ago, but they hadn’t had much time to practice together.

“Do you want to teach her?” I had asked him. “It’s sort of one of those Daddy right of passages.”

“Yea, I’ll teach her!” He said.

But we had a few cold days, followed by a family vacation and then he was back to work. I wasn’t sure how likely it was she’d actually master the process in a day but what the heck, it was worth a shot. Or we could at least get some practice in.

She tiptoed on her bike a half a mile to the playground. She felt discouraged on the way there because every time she tried to lift her legs and pedal she’d quickly lose her balance.

“It’s much harder to learn on this uneven sidewalk,” I told her. “Just wait until we get to the playground and have more space.”

The sidewalks have cracks, bumps, uneven areas and cars blocking the way. It was a challenging course for any rider.

Once we reached the playground her brother tossed off his helmet and ran to the slides. I asked Lil’ J if she wanted to play or keep practicing and she said she wanted to keep trying to ride her bike.

I ran down the sidewalk with her two, three, four times. Each time she went a little further. She crashed and burned a couple of times but she’d get back up, determined to try again.

Finally, after about six runs I gave her an initial push but let her take it from there. She didn’t stop. I ran behind her to the end of the sidewalk cheering her on. She pedaled backwards and came to a stop and I gave her a high five. She beamed with pride.

She did it a few more times and once she got comfortable I took out my camera to take pictures of the occasion.

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

As I watched her determination and tried to capture the moment as best as I could, I noted the date–February 18th, also my brother’s birthday–My daughter learned how to ride her bike. She balanced on two wheels for the first time.

Then it struck me… Her firsts are slowing down. Her first smile, first word, first steps, first time using the potty, first day of school… They’re all behind us. How many more will we have?

Not many.

So we celebrated. I told her this was a big deal in need of a treat and we went out for ice cream.

Losing her first tooth, first daddy/daughter dance, her picking up a book to read for her own leisure, first tryouts, first time driving a car… There are more to look forward to but I can sense they’re slowing down. I don’t want them to end or become less sweet.

I don’t know how many more “firsts” will have her jumping up and down with excitement or pining for ice cream. But I know I’m going to cherish each one.

Fun ways to celebrate your kid's milestones so you can remember and cherish forever.

It’s something else isn’t it? Watching something you made–Or at least grew and gave birth to, grow into a person with a personality, thoughts and opinions of their own. Of course this is gradual. I mean it starts when they’re babies and shove away the peas on a spoon. Then it evolves into requests for a certain book, song, or TV show. Then maybe a favorite dress, or pair of shoes. And then before you know it their requests and passions are dictating your schedule.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person. Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

My daughter first started gymnastics about three years ago. She was just a toddler and participated in a mother’s morning out program with gymnastics twice a week. It was obvious she had no natural talent so I did what any irrational wannabe-tiger-parent would do and signed her up for an entirely different activity. This time it was dance: Ballet, tap, jazz and then a hip hop class on the side.

That was fun. We enjoyed it, but after a couple of years I got tired of hunting down the lost tap shoe minutes before class started. And days and days of recitals (and recital fees) so we decided to hang up the tutus. She didn’t object, or put up any sort of fight. In fact she was happy with her art class and we were starting homeschool. We didn’t have time for much else.

biracial-ballerina-2

Fall hit and that meant football. A lot of football. Every year for the games Lil’ J gets decked out in team spirit with pom poms, jerseys and/or cheer outfits. She roots and chants little cheers I remember from high school.

On the vision board she made last year she has a photo of the BYU cheerleading squad. Apparently this is a dream of hers. I say apparently because I know her mind can change and even if not, it’ll be a stretch but HEY… I’m not ever one to knock down someone from their big dreams.

BYU Fangirl

We signed her up for some trial tumbling classes and though she was admittedly not very good, she still wanted to go each week. As an early Christmas gift we bought her a couple months of private lessons for her to work on her technique.

Week after week I’d watch and cringe as she’d stumble out of a cartwheel, or botch a handstand.

“Is it even worth keeping this up if they aren’t any good? I mean how much time do you give someone?” I’d say to my husband. I mean we know she wasn’t born with a natural ability and that’s ok. I believe with hard work, anything is possible. But how long do you let the delusion go on?

“She’s a kid!” My husband would say to me. “Only 6! She doesn’t need to be good, she just needs to have fun.”

He’s always coming at me with sense and stuff.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

I decided to back off a bit. Not that I was saying any of these things to her–This was me just internalizing and ranting to my husband. But I chilled out and just encouraged her. I offered to help her practice, take pictures or record her if she wanted. I’d stay after and ask her coach if there was anything we could work on between lessons.

I don’t know exactly what happened. It seems like one day I was begging her to practice and the next she didn’t want to stop. She walks into lessons ready to listen and learn and try her best. She asks me to text her coach with updates on her progress at home. She can hold a handstand and do a backbend with ease. She’s surpassed any gymnastics talent I’ve ever had, and with hard work, she’s actually getting pretty good.

And she’s set some goals of her own. I’m still working on my 2017 goals but she has her list set. She wants to eat healthier, work out with daddy and get her back and front walkover (by her birthday in July). I don’t think that will be a problem for her.

BYU family superfans

Who is this person? This person who once did backflips in my uterus. This little 6-year-old who has not only opinions but dreams and goals.

She is my child, emerging as her own person.

 

{Lil’ J is 6 years and 6 months old at the time of this post.}

Helping kids grow into their personalities.

“Do you remember the first game we went to?” I asked my husband casually as we were getting the kids ready for bed.

“The first game when we were married?” He asked for clarification but kept going before I could answer. “It was BYU vs Tulsa game, we won by a lot. And that was our first game as students, that would have been fall 2006. We walked there from our apartment. Why?”

A simple “yes I do” was really all I was looking for, but he went on.

BYU family superfans

“We took pictures, I was wearing a dark blue shirt and a white hat. Don’t you remember?”

No, I didn’t but I googled it to see if he was just talking out of his rear end and sure enough, he was spot on. BYU vs Tulsa, Oklahoma at Lavell Edwards Stadium. We won 49-24.

This set off a challenge of sorts where I challenged his insane ability to recall BYU football games and their scores.

“Do you remember the first game in 2010?”

BYU family superfans

He thought for a moment.

“[Our daughter] was just born so she would have been really little. We played Washington at home,and won” He said confidently.

He was good. Almost too good.

“Are you reading your phone?” I asked him. By this time Lil’ J knew we were talking about BYU football and she was interested in this conversation. She went over to see if he had his phone in his hand and shook her head.

“It wouldn’t be fun if I was cheating!” He said.

“Ok, bonus points for guessing the score.” I egged him on.

“Hmmm,” my husband started. “23 to 17?”

I laughed. Exactly.

BYU family superfans

“Ok, this is seriously disturbing,” I said. “How in the world do you know all this?”

“Because I watched the game!”

“But I watched the game too and I don’t remember any of this.”

“He watches them a lot,” Lil’ J chimed in with her opinion on the matter.

“Is it because you watched the highlights?” I asked. But he insisted he doesn’t watch anything that recent.

BYU family superfans

Basically I’m married to a BYU football encyclopedia. He was spatting everything from which quarterbacks were playing to who was coaching other teams in random years from 2005 to now.

It’s this passion that has already begun to infuse into our daughter.

She pleaded time and time again to have a BYU Football themed birthday party this year but we persuaded her to do something more of her friends would understand.

We watch every game together as a family. She doesn’t understand the rules but she finds herself invested for a couple of reasons. One, if we win, we go out for ice cream. Two, she can’t get enough of the excited energy–Particularly the energy of her daddy during a game.

BYU family superfans

On game day there’s a lot of screaming and cheering and yelling at the TV. Our son gets a little intimidated by all of the commotion. He’ll dress up with us, even don his BYU helmet, but he tends to tell us we’re too loud when we get overly excited.

little-byu-football-fan

Our daughter on the other hand, lives for that. She will probably never forget the night we won a game (I can’t remember which one but I know if I asked my husband right now he’d tell me) and he ran out the back door and into the yard screaming and cheering. That has pretty much been the coolest moment of her life.

I guess it’s in her blood. And I have a feeling she’ll be reciting game stats and random facts soon enough.

During our Disney Cruise last year the announcement hit that BYU’s football coach Bronco Mendenhall was leaving to go coach at another school. My husband, and in turn, my daughter was distraught.

“But whyyyy?” She wanted to know why he would leave. With tears in her eyes she tried to negotiate. “If I finish all of my dinner will Bronco stay at BYU?”

My husband and I couldn’t contain our laughter, but we reassured her that we’d find another coach. And we did.

Coach Kalani Sitake now leads our team and Lil’ J tells anyone who will listen.

“We’re celebrating because Kalani Sitake won his first game at BYU!” She told my mom the day after the first game.

I could be wrong, but I think she loves it so much because of how happy her daddy gets about it. She feeds off that joy and excited emotion.

BYU family superfans

I can’t blame her. I’m not sure I would have fallen so in love with BYU sports had it not been for my husband’s passion for it, and all the fun we had going to the games when we were in college. I guess in a way our kids were doomed from birth.

Lil’ J says she wants a family birthday party with a white and blue frosted cake and BYU highlights playing in the background. Next year, if she asks again maybe we’ll give her that BYU football party she’s been asking for. Until then, go cougars!

Does your family have any team spirit? 

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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