164

18216855_10211287443895596_6844893659493384133_o

18193131_10210622296086192_8541410305393774277_o

A few weeks ago Foos learned to ride her bike without training wheels.   We got her this bike two years ago, when she was still so little that harvesting the strength to simply get the pedals moving seemed like herculean task. Even recently, if she went a few weeks without riding the bike it was as if she was getting back on it for the first time— slow and unsteady, like a drunk walking a line.   She rode her bike to the park that morning, where she befriended a fellow bike rider, an older girl named Jessica, who turned Foos into her disciple. They excluded the bikeless from their schemes, chased each other in figure eights, raced to a victory line of their own making, and stopped short of a stranger enough times I contemplated leaving the park for fear of injury.  During one of these loops, Jessica explained to Foos that her training wheels sometimes didn’t touch the ground.  In fact, she may not need the training wheels at all! I watched this revelation unfold from afar, Jessica pointing to the wheels, Foos’ initial confusion and realization. Foos seemed so pleased by this news that when she rode her bike to tell me, grin on full display, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the wheels where designed that way.  But Jessica had planted the germ, and I was going to take it as far as I could.  As we were leaving the park I casually mentioned removing the training wheels, and she agreed without hesitation.

That afternoon, I fashioned knee pads for her out of tape and leggings while Seth removed the training wheels.  We gave her the pep talk—you will fall down, you will get hurt, you may not get it today, but eventually you will.  She rolled her eyes and walked her bike to the empty lot, the tape of her knee pads making noise every time she bent her knees. The expression on her face like she had been doomed to damnatio ad bestias. With seth holding on to the bike they went around the lot a few times. The first time he let go, she fell.  The second time, she fell.  The third time, she fell too. Big fat tears rolling down her face, threats of quitting and going back upstairs coming out of her mouth.  We had been reading The Hobbit the night before, and I sat her on my lap and asked “How would you introduce yourself to Smaug? I know how I would.  You are the never quitter, the rider of bikes, the scrape eater, queen of wheels,” and so on. She nodded her head. With her dad running after her, and me shouting introductions to Smaug, she got back on and fell down about a dozen times.  A couple of our neighbors came out to cheer. Twenty minutes later she was going around the lot on her own.  An hour after that, she was riding down the block.

She told us she promised her bike she would ride her everyday, and she almost always does.

163

18076549_10210601670370562_5510096106041435262_o

Yesterday I was in my kitchen cave, listening to Radiolab and making dinner, when I felt a tiny tap on my back.  When I turned around, my Foos was standing there, holding up this piece of paper and beaming at me. I got all verklempt, fell to my knees, and gave her the biggest squeeze. People say a lot of cheesy shit about their children, most of which feels obligatory, but this girl, you guys, makes me feel like the luckiest mom in the Virgo Supercluster.

157

randos-5

My daughter has been a reading machine lately. In the car, while walking to school, at the supermarket, at home —she is never without a book in hand.  Photos I sneak of her reading have taken over my instagram feed. Sometimes when I am lost in my own head, thinking in circles about goals and how I can achieve them and how I probably won’t because all I do is shuffle back and forth, I realize how quiet it is.  Then in a panic I start to look for her and almost always find her, book in hand, in some corner of the apartment.  It is a relief that she is a dedicated bibliophile, the tiniest of bookworms, consuming chapter books at the age of five in a way most people don’t until much older, if ever.  Anyway, she has inspired me to try and read more books this year.  I am going to try and read at least two books per month, which doesn’t seem like very many.  I am hoping that will be a starting point and that as I get better at carving out time to read I will be able to read more than that.  Wish me luck!

 

 

152

15326050_10209301163018691_4990285597812013012_o

15289108_10209306193864459_6014959011857662776_o

15391298_10209314916722525_2617926900705288484_o

We visited a Fort Clinch this weekend, where Seth snapped these dreamy photos of our spawn. Her, um, shall we say, leadership skills, were put to good use this trip as she told us which way to go, climb, and breathe.  She almost peed off the side of the fort, almost tripped over a cannon, and made me eat the visible mango bits in her ice cream because god forbid her mango flavored pop actually had mango bits in it.  Don’t let my kvetching deceive you, it was actually a really fun trip. Watching her delight in her father and really get into exploring the many tunnels and rooms was a real treat.

98

CrowneDeFleurs.jpg

Penelope Margo, or you know, Foos.

Our lovely neighbor, Leslie, moonlights as a florist.  She had a lot of flowers left over from a recent wedding, which I am told was very if-Lady-Galadriel-was-getting-married (seething with jealousy right now), so she made Foos a flower crown.  Dreamy, eh?

Photo: Seth