Nine years and one hour ago (as I type this) M. came into the world, screaming and demanding attention. She hasn’t shut up since.

I kid!

Kind of.

Our girl loves to talk, as she is quick to admit.

Now she is in the midst of 30 or so hours that are all about her, which is her idea of the perfect day. We had our annual dinner out at her favorite restaurant, Macaroni Grill, last night. She gets to spend today with her Mimi shopping and hanging out. Tonight, the local grandparents join us for dinner and then the neighbors come over for cookie cake. The only thing lacking will be big presents, at least from us. She got a new bike back in May and then picked out a nice, decorative message board for her wall at a local gift shop a few weeks back, knowing those were her big presents from S. and me. She’ll still get a few gifts from others today, though.

What to say about M. at nine that I haven’t said the past few years? She hasn’t changed all that much. She still loves to dominate her sisters. I couldn’t count how many times each week I yell, “YOU’RE NOT A PARENT,” at her as she corrects C. and L. for the 10,000th time. S. or I can say something to the sisters and M. will immediately repeat it, as if we’re speaking on a frequency that only she can detect and her relay is required for the sisters to hear it. I do worry about her dominating others with her voice, and fear if she can’t rein it in a bit, it’s going to cause problems for her as she gets older, with her friends not being interested in having everything explained to them constantly. But I’m also hopeful she’ll pick up on that and learn to dial it back when she’s with people her age.

We thought she was getting taller, but at her check-up Friday she still slotted in at the same point in the 25-30% curve on her growth chart. She’s leaned up a lot in the past year, and is becoming all arms and legs. But no big growth spurt yet.

She very much reminds me of myself when I was a kid in that she’s smart but sloppy. The biggest critique of her schoolwork last year was that she rushed through it. Whether it was her classwork or homework, she generally raced through it, skipping some problems in her haste and filling the rest with messy scribbles. The up-side, as it was with me, is she often is hurrying so she can get to back to whatever book she’s reading. She got her own library card last month and gets 4-5 new books each week. Her only quiet moments come when she’s curled up somewhere semi-private with her books. As she gets older, and school gets more challenging, I’m sure she’ll learn to lock in a little better.

Right now, there’s nothing cool about M.. She is as goofy as can be, which I love. Well, kind of. She’s very much into talking about butts and boobs and then laughing uncontrollably. That gets old fast. But I like that she hasn’t figured out what cool is yet and can still be a goofy kid for a little longer. I know we’re very close to a change that will keep her from being silly around us.

As the first-born, bossy big sister, she drives me crazy much of the time. But I’m also very proud of how bright, inquisitive, and full of life she is. For her, every day is an opportunity to learn or create something new. My biggest worry is that she picks up another of my intellectual traits: being interested in so many things that she has a hard time focusing on one or two things that she can excel at. But she’s only nine; she has plenty of time to overcome that genetic flaw.