Dear Sofia Dodd Olivia Grace,
Five years old and you’re already critical over the things your dad and I have provided for you. According to you, our house is too old, your clothes are too boring and your name just doesn’t fit you. As a result, you have changed your name to Sofia for your beloved Disney character and Dodd is the last name of your friend MacKenzie whom you apparently married a couple weeks ago. On a few occasions, if we called out for you and we didn’t use your new name, you quickly corrected us and proclaimed that you would not respond until the new full name was used. I even received a couple pieces of artwork from school with the name Sofia graced across the top. Yes, my dear Sofia Dodd Olivia Grace, this long drawn out name does fit you perfectly and certainly makes those moments of discipline that much easier. I already call you Miles and Fabrizio when I’m flustered, now who the hell knows what name will get blurted out. I may just call you, girl.
I am envious over your incredible plan making abilities. After you deemed our house, your clothes and your name as an unfit match, you proceeded to tell me all the things you plan to do differently. Yes, at five years of age, you have a plan. I’m more in the ballpark with Phoebe from Friends when I say, I don’t even have a pl. You have a plan and that is great. You’re going to live in a house made of ice where you will become a doctor so that in your words, “you can take care of me when I’m old and stuff.” So if I’m hearing this correctly, I will somehow become very ill and will reside in Alaska or Antarctica and live in an igloo. I’m pretty confident I will not take up residence in an igloo but you have a vision so we’ll roll with it.
Swim team tryouts were held recently and I got my first taste of other parents in competitive sports. Yowza, those people are crazy. The tryouts were held on a cold Saturday morning and there was roughly eight or so kids trying out. I use the term ‘trying out’ loosely because given how young you are and the age of the other participants, the tryouts appear to be more of a safety precaution to ensure that kids actually know how to swim and parents simply aren’t using this as swim lessons. You were hesitant to go first so we all watched one boy jump in to the pool where he appeared to have a rough time swimming a lap. He stopped a lot and had to be encouraged by the coach in the pool to complete his tryout. His mother stood at the edge of the pool looking very displeased. She made very loud comments to herself and then to her husband that her son was swimming just terribly. If he made the team, it would be a miracle. Since these are children trying out for a city summer league and not the Olympics, this little boy did in fact make the team. Another parent proudly wore his Team USA polo shirt as he coached his son before entering the pool. What’s concerning is this was only tryouts and these parents were high anxiety. I’m terrified to see the helicopter parenting that will get thrown down at the meets.
It was time for your tryout and you jumped in the pool ready to go. That is, you were ready to go until your body hit the frigid water and we saw the concern and discomfort cripple your body. You stopped a few times and for a split second I did think you were going to climb out of the pool but your dad cheered you on and gave you the motivation you needed to complete the two full laps required. You left the pool shivering and blue but very excited that you made your first team. I feel your pain though. I have jumped in to a frigid swimming pool before and it really does cripple you. If you’re not anticipating that degree of coldness and you’re only accustomed to a balmy 78 degree indoor swimming pool, like you are, I can imagine the pain you felt rip through your body was very real and very painful. You kids these days are so coddled. I never had indoor swimming lessons. When I was your age, we swam outside and it didn’t matter how cold it was. Sometimes the temperature differential between the outside and the pool was so great that bystanders couldn’t even see the swimmers in the pool because of the steam. Yes, I feel very old for making that comment but it’s not like your grandparents who claimed they walked eight miles each way to school. They’re crazy and it’s perfectly ok to roll your eyes.
You recently just met your new baby cousin, Kate and for the weeks leading up to her visit, you were beyond excited. You continued to tell me that you were going to teach your new cousin how to be a princess which included having very lavish tea parties and daily visits to the park. Now, Kate is only six months old and you know this but apparently age in months doesn’t quite resonate with you. Perhaps you have forgotten that babies are quite limited in what things they can and cannot do. Upon seeing her, I did see a moment of confusion wash over your face and the confusion appeared to grow as you saw me holding her. You continued to run back and forth in front of me, pretending not to notice her. When I would inquire as to whether you would like to meet her, from a safe distance, you would respond with, “I’m busy–maybe later.” You continued to inquire as to why I was holding her and suddenly I realized you were a bit unsure as to what was exactly happening. I forget you were only two years old when Miles dropped in to our lives with a thud and changed our world forever. You had very little knowledge then but having endured the wrath of Miles for three years now, you seem to be a little bit more nervous around babies that linger for a little too long. I can understand your momentary panic attack–a new baby would be absolutely frightening and you had every right to stop one phrase short of what the hell is going on here. You were comforted by the fact that she did not return home with us that first night and you proudly took on your roll as cousin. As the visit progressed and you were absolutely positive this baby wasn’t taking up permanent residence in our house, you settled in nicely and showered her with affection every chance you got.
We celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend and it’s still a surreal holiday for me. Despite having a five and three year old, it still feels odd to be celebrating Mother’s Day. Your school held a Mother’s Day tea party and you were so proud to present me with a small flower pot with your picture and a homemade card. Despite having all your friends near you, you only wanted to sit with me. I’m proud to be your Mom and to see the independent young lady you are becoming. You’re loud, sometimes a bit vulgar and amazingly talented at drawing. I’m seeing a side to you that warms my heart. When you’re faced with a challenge, you become a bit frustrated but you refuse to give up. You recently started playing baseball with me and Miles at night and it doesn’t come to you quite as easily as it does for Miles but you don’t let that fact stop you. You continue to get out there and try. It’s the same thing with swimming. Learning breastroke was extremely difficult for you and rightfully so–it’s a difficult stroke that requires a great deal of coordination. But you kept at it and now you’re learning butterfly. You also didn’t give up the time you received an excavation kit and spent all day in the backyard chipping away at a plaster pyramid just so you could retrieve the one inch statue inside. It was hot as hell that day but you were persistent and eventually you finished. You’re a confident girl who knows what she likes and what she wants. I like that and I respect that. Thank you for being my awesome daughter, Sofia Dodd Olivia Grace.