“Mama! When I’m going to be 9 , I’m going to be GOOD!”, she said.
“Didi’s are going to be good, but, I’m going to be GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!”, she said shaking her head assertively, raising her brows and rolling her eyes.
“I’m going to be a good swimmer!”
“Oh! she’s talking about swimming!”, I thought. For a brief moment I had thought, she was referring to all the goods I had wanted her to be…
During a recent vacation, she had watched her sisters swim in the ocean, play in the waves, snorkel in the reef, dive in it too! while she had stayed away from the water…content with playing in the sand and watching the waves. She had defended herself by saying that the ocean is too big for a little girl like her.
All the things that her sisters do, the funny songs they know, the line dances they learn in that big fancy school of theirs or from their friends, the clapping rhythm games they play..which they modified a bit so that Richa can be part of it too (a la “Ms Mary Mac” from our times!).. All of that was so COOL!
It is frustrating to this girl to not be able to contribute to being cool! The other day..she asks me..
“Mama, when I am nine what will Didi’s age be?”
“14”, I said.
She broke down and started to cry..they sure were real tears.
“I will never be taller than Didis!”, she said..wiping her tears away.
In her mind she could see her Didis towering over her, when they will be 14 and she’s still looking puny.. Even though she sees/knows .. adults around her aren’t taller than a point..she imagines that she will keep growing with age..
She tells me,
“Mama! I would never want to be 99…because, I’m going to be giant, then!”
“I’m going to be so big that I’ll have to live outside the house. I will not be able to come inside the home. I am so scared to be 99, I am so scared to be a giant.”
To her 9 has become a magic age when a kid automatically knows everything, Can be a dare devil and swim in open waters. She has set a lot of goals for herself when she’s going to be 5. From what I’m learning about this little one now.. seems like this girl really takes herself seriously.
At 5 she wants to be able to swim in the swimming pool without her floats, but at 9 she wants to graduate to open water. Nothing scares children who are 9, she feels.
Nine year olds can effortlessly play with computers too…be able to do all those math, know the in’s and out’s of every option available to create art using clip art, fonts and scribbles, in a microsoft word doc.
Her Didi’s had taught her how to get hold of a clip art of a kitten by typing the word “kitten” in the search box. All her art on the computer is always around a kitten! The other day..she typed in the word “Fat” in the search box and was thrilled the search yielded her pictures of FAT KITTENS!!!
Nine year olds can do any kind of addition and subtraction given to them. They can create addition and subtraction problems on the fly and don’t need fingers or number lines to count stuff that adds up to more than 20.
They also write numbers that she doesn’t even comprehend, which she calls “Comma”. That’s a giant number.
One day she told me..
“Mama! when I turn 9 I’ll be able to add and subtract any number”
“Only you’ll also need to know how to multiply and divide and know primes and deal with fractions and unknowns ..do geometry, algebra, statistics and so much more!” , I said to her silently
Do you remember taking your 9 year old girl kid to her classmate’s or best friend’s birthday party?
Do you remember the kind of hug they do? The BFF hug?!
That excited squeal they let out when they see each other...then, the way, they hold each other and jump in some kind of weird synchrony…for a while and, suddenly disappear into the crowd. I call it the “Meeting Dance”!
(Right…just short of an a!)
After that..there’s no point telling them that you’ll be back to pick them up. They won’t even remember you exist and in fact , it was you, who drove them here… All that realization comes when its time for the party to be over.
Richa wants to be in those shoes too! She wants to have friends who she could do that dance with. She wants a best friend of her own. She has found that in “Mya!” in her class. She does hug her whenever she see’s Mya in school but, it doesn’t have that 9 year old punch in it!
Her plan to get to be 9 years old is by turning 5 years first. Then soon, she will be 6, and then 7, 8 and then the MAGIC 9 gotta follow!
Personally, I haven’t come across a kid who has looked forward to her birthday as much as Richa has…
This desire to celebrate her birthday took off on the day the triplets had turned 9 last summer. Three of her sisters had celebrated their birthday on that day and her’s was the only name that wasn’t on the cake…
She had asked me
“How long for my birthday Mama?”
“6 months”, I had answered.
The count down that started that moment is about to culminate this week when she is going to be turning 5 on Wednesday.
For the first time as parents we’ve seen a child see frustration, helplessness, and desire something so much! I know, I didn’t look after a classroom of children to have the authority to talk like, I know kids..but with four children .. each, with personality so different from the other (and yet be same in some way!)..I can safely talk in the way I did.
The answer to the question…
“How long for your birthday, RIcha?”
had stayed 6 months for a long time.. It was around September of last year that she had gotten frustrated with the way time wasn’t changing and realized..Oh! its just 4 more months to my birthday…and that count now has come down to 4 days, this morning!
For the last month…we’d been using this situation to our advantage. Coz, for the first time in her life she has understood the power of a BIRTH DAY!
She could demand stuff and nobody would deny her. She sure has demands for her birthday.
She wants a cake for her birthday that got to be Vanilla! With letters on them that would read her name!
She wants “Happy Birthday RICHA!” written on her cake. And she also needs a candle in the shape of a number 5!
Then, she has some more demands! Only, they’ve changed over time. Until two weeks back, it was a pony toy with a shirt and shoes for the pony. That was the toy that had not been opened … lying at home since the days of the triplets toddlerhood. But, last week, the triplets unable to keep her from playing with it..opened it for her.
Now, it didn’t count as her birthday gift, did it?! It wasn’t packed in a gift wrap before it was handed over to her! She’s also collected a lot of promises from her sisters. They’ve pledged Barbie's with dresses for her.
She’s also got Mama to commit to a computer for her only! That which is not an iPad, that which looks just like Mama’s laptop… It needs to have a CHROME icon in it which would help her access the internet, especially,
on it !!
She’s also found another reason why she needs to be 9, recently! She realizes that her Didi’s always take advantage of her and being 9 will get her out of the situation. But, after watching “RODRICK RULES”, last night along with her sisters..I’m not sure if she has realized that some things don’t change. Although her sisters were thankful that they don’t have elder brothers!
There have been times when she has let them take her for a ride..thinking maybe, if this is what entertains them..then so be it. Richa had no clue of Santa Claus until the vacation last month. On that trip, her sisters introduced her .. to this generous character. She loved him at once. She was ready to do anything to keep him happy.
As soon as we came home.. she looked if there was a gift waiting for her under the tree as her Didi’s had mentioned. There wasn’t!!
Then..her sisters..lost no time in creating a book called
“The book of rules for Richa, From Santa!”
and had Santa lead her to that book with some clues..spread around her home.
The same game that Papa had played on the triplets when they were 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 until ..it was feasible!
That book explained all the rules that Richa needed to follow that would make Santa leave a gift for her. She was all up for those rules. It got convenient for us for a few days..maybe a week..and then one morning when she could take it no longer she told me..with boldly folded hands and rolling eyes,
“Mama..you know, that book wasn’t left by Santa. I saw Didi..making that book and drawing it…It was made by Didis. So, I don’t need to follow all those rules.”
That’s when I told her..
“Richa..then, Didis cannot give you your gifts for your birthday if you don’t follow those rules!”
“Ok fine then! I’ll finish my food”, she said.
That gave her another reason to wish to be 9 years old!