C = 12

It’s a wacky, wild time around here right now. I’ve been busy with a bunch of outside projects, we’re in the midst of a big family project I may be able to announce officially soon, and then the end of the school year has brought a bunch of during-the-day and after-school events that have filled up my calendar.

Oh, and our Internet has been bugging out all week and AT&T can’t seem to figure out the problem. There’s been a lot of cursing when web pages don’t load.

So that’s why I’ve not been able to post much. But today I had to carve out time to get something pushed out, as it is C’s 12th birthday!

Year 12 is big in our house because that’s when you get a phone. I had hoped to sneak into C’s room this morning, place her iPhone next to her bed, then call from another room to wake her up. But she was wide awake, fully dressed, sitting in bed reading when I opened the door 10 minutes early. Oh well. And she had picked out the phone, case, and pop socket so it’s not like it was a surprise. Still, she was excited to get it.

Each year on this date I write something about how C is our wild mood swing kid. That has both changed and not changed. She can definitely control her moods better than she used to. But she’s also the most likely kid to burst into tears for no apparent reason.[1] Some days she’s wildly bouncing off the walls and can’t stop laughing. She’s the hardest kid to get settled in the middle ground, where she’s in a good mood but not acting crazy because of it.

The thing that has changed the most, and for the best, this year is how sports have helped her to develop more self confidence. She’s always been the least confident of our three girls. But between her success in cross country and becoming the best kickball player in her grade at St. P’s, she just carries herself a little differently now.

I especially love watching her play kickball. She just has this look on her face that she knows she’s faster than everyone else, and can make plays no one else can make. She’s learned to use her speed to force the defense to make mistakes. When she turns a single into a triple, she arrives and third trying to contain a smile/giggle at the ridiculousness of what she just did.

Here’s another example. A few weeks back a throw back to the pitcher was wide and rolled near home. In kickball, until the pitcher controls the ball it is still live, so the baserunners could keep moving. There was a fairly fast girl on second. Her coach saw the ball rolling away from the pitcher and told her to go to third. C raced over to get the ball, ran around the other team’s players who were lined up to kick on the third base line, and beat the girl to third by a step. It was an outrageous athletic play. She even knocked the girl over in the process of tagging her, but immediately reached over to help her up and asked if she was ok three times.

As the girl went back to the bench, her coach said, “Sorry, I didn’t think there was any way they could catch you.” I chuckled to myself and thought, “Yeah, you didn’t know that was C.B. with the ball though!”

C is still at her happiest when she’s working on art projects. She does some amazing stuff, and I’m not exactly sure where her talent came from. However, she remains a complete disaster in her room with her art supplies. Most mornings I struggle to open her door because there are piles of art crap strewn about everywhere. One of our goals for her now that she’s 12 is to keep her room cleaner. I have a feeling this will always be a source of contention between us.

C has always been, and remains, the sweetest of our girls. She tends to be drawn to kids who are somehow marginalized. From my view it seems like everyone in her grade likes her, but she’s also kind of in her own space rather than part of a specific circle of friends. She spends lots of time with the girls who are somewhat removed from the main social circle. She even told us that she wanted to get one classmate a birthday gift, “Because she doesn’t have many friends and won’t have a party.”

With middle school coming up, we are anxious to see how she handles that. She gets good grades, but school is also more of an effort for her than either of her sisters. I have a feeling there are going to be more tears as she struggles to learn how to balance the additional work that comes with sixth grade with everything else she likes to do.

Like all parents who have more than one kid, I have a different bond with each one of my girls. M is the most like me in her personality, so we both drive each other crazy and understand each other better than the rest of the house. L is likely the closest to me because she loves sports and is a pleaser by nature. Where her sisters run off to do their own thing, she’ll often find a way to hang out with me regardless of what she has going on.

But C, as the middle kid, is the one I think I sympathize with the most. She gets it from both sides, and I find myself often stepping in to tell the others to knock it off. It’s not in C’s nature to stand up for herself. I probably step in too often, but sometimes that is the best way to prevent another crying episode. I’m hoping the confidence she’s developed recently will translate into her fighting for herself when she gets pushed around by her sisters.

  1. Unlike her big sister, who will burst into tears because of hormones, drama, or something she’s manufactured. L only cries if she gets in trouble.  ↩


  1. Stace

    Congrats on your “family project” announcement. I hope it’s another girl!

  2. ddbrann

    Ha! I didn’t think to put a disclaimer that there are no new children involved in this project.

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