I have just been reflecting lately on how great eight is turning out to be. Some random observations…
* They get sick less. I read that this was the age when kids stop getting quite so many little colds. So far so good. We’ve been sick a lot less this winter already. Here’s hoping my posting this doesn’t jinx it.
* It’s the age of conversations. We’ve always talked and they’ve always asked questions, but suddenly the talk and the questions are so much more meaningful and so much less random. They ask so many more questions of depth and bring so much more background knowledge to the table. Sometimes it’s a little frustrating when you’re trying to get history reading out of the way in the morning and something in it triggers a lengthy set of questions about how people become doctors or how nations negotiate treaties or something, but it’s also sort of cool.
* It’s the age of projects. They’ve always had projects and they’ve always made little bits from things, but now, suddenly, the things they make look like something or make so much more sense. And they can actually initiate projects that involve real learning on their own and carry out art projects and so forth completely without me.
* They can roam farther. I love that they can go to the park or up the street to the store on their own. They go out together, carefully, still a little hesitating and unbelieving that they’re really big enough, but with increasing confidence.
* They can clean a room, make a bed, do a morning work assignment, stack the dishwasher, and sit and play a game of chess all without me. There are so many little things that even a year ago they needed me there to help oversee that they can now do totally on their own.
* Even though they’re more independent and bigger kids, they are still imaginative little kids in many ways. They still have their imaginary company, of which they are the CEO’s. They still make believe that they’re on a boat or at a party or going to a carnival and then make things for these pretend games. They’re still so young that they have no shame about living in a world of make believe. BalletBoy still love his doll. Mushroom still likes to pretend he’s inside a video game as he walks down the street.
* They have a new sense of self. Mushroom introduced himself as a writer and BalletBoy as a dancer the other day. They blurt out these declarations of identity all the time like that. I see them becoming more attached to what they wear for the first time ever and I’m sure it has to do with identity and how they present themselves. I see how they increasingly notice the things they accomplish and talk about how they’re “good at” certain things or worked hard on certain things.
Overall, I just feel like eight so far is some sweet spot of ages. They’re still little enough to snuggle and play pretend and want to crawl in my bed after a bad dream but old enough to have their own opinions and do their own things.