The flip side of this is song lyrics. Normal people just listen to music, Carly listens to the words and wants to understand the story. It makes me extra conscious of the music I listen to, that is for sure. A break-up country song came on the radio: "Why are they sad?" she asked. "Because they have to say goodbye, and they won't see each other for a long time," I answered, dancing around the notion of a romantic break-up. "Well, they could always FaceTime," she answered. Ha! We like to listen to Les Mis songs too (the babies love them, they break out into a round of applause after each song), and she is constantly asking who is singing to who and what is going on. I find myself trying to turn a very adult tale into a child friendly story: "Well, Marius and Cosette love each other, and Eponine is their . . . friend. And the school boys are fighting . . . and the daddy wants to keep Cosette safe . . . and the police man thought the daddy was bad but he's really not." During Javier's Suicide, she said "This sounds sad.What is happening?" Serenity now.
Other lines of questioning involve what in this life is real and what is pretend (I may have told her mermaids are "kind of real" . . . I couldn't crush that one) and how babies get out of mommies ("Mommies have a special hole where babies come out." "Is it in your back?" "Kind of."). Needless to say, I feel like I am explaining things, hard things, all day long. But moms are supposed to be fountains of knowledge, right?
Carly is what I like to call a "type-A queen bee." This can be good at times. She is, for the most part, great with John and Quinn. They adore her, and she is good at organizing how they play and caring for them when they need help. She is an amazingly fun big sister. But this also means she's got the biggest pair of bossy pants you've ever seen. I'm pretty sure she thinks she holds the same position as me in the home, except I have to do all the cleaning. One day she asked, "If a big girl has a baby brother and baby sister, does that mean she is the boss of them?" Just hypothetically speaking, of course. I laughed and told her, "Nope, that just means she has to be helpful and play nicely with them." She wasn't thrilled with my answer.
Carly loves board and card games. We broke out the old Uno cards and now it is one of our favorite activities during naptime. It has been interesting to watch her figure it out. At first she would use a wild and pick any color she wanted, but I've been watching her become more strategic, use certain cards at certain times. I try to play fair and square so sometimes she wins and sometimes I win, but lately she has been genuinely beating me when I am trying to win. It is impressive. We also love Sorry, Hi-Ho Cherrio, Go Fish, and Guess Who.
Carly doesn't like the crust on her sandwiches. How does one suddenly figure that out? She likes to wear shorts and short sleeves at home, with the understanding that she has to put pants on when we leave the house. As she has been since the day she was born, she is terribly impatient. I know all kids are, but she asks for "a really really cold drink of water" and you don't even have time to respond before she starts with "mom mom mom mom." We need to work on it, but I'm not sure how. She still really likes school, and has made some really sweet friends. The other day I was picking her up and found her huddled with two other little girls giggling. Not sure when she turned 10.
Speaking of school, the fate of Carly's entire growing-up years is resting on my shoulders right now and it is stressing me out. (A bit melodramatic, perhaps?) But for reals, Carly is an August birthday (DON'T have a kid in August), and I have been wrestling with what to do in terms of Kindergarten. According to the cut-off date in Pullman, Carly is old enough to go to Kindergarten by 21 days. If we put her in this year, she would be barely 5, she wouldn't turn 16 (driving and dating) until her junior year, and she would turn 18 right when she started college (the single perk I can think to this is she could get a whole year of college before going on a mission. haha!). Now, it is tempting to think to just focus on right now, but you can't as a parent. You have to think of the big picture. But even considering Carly right now, I'm not sure she's ready. Well, she is ready for Kindergarten, but then 1st grade? A few weeks ago, we walked out of Carly's school and she looked sad. I asked her what was wrong: "We were supposed to find all the lower case letters, but I could only find the big ones," she told me sadly. Another time she sadly informed me, "All the other kids' letters look better than mine." The kids in her class are mostly 5 and soon to turn 5. She is a smart smart girl. She is really bright. She picks things up quickly. But she's a year to a half a year younger than her classmates. Of course she isn't going to be where they are. I have heard endless anecdotes. Pretty much nobody waiting a year has regretted it. Many people put them in young and they do fine. I've also heard of putting them in young, and the kids struggle for a few years but then catch up. I guess I just feel why not wait? Why not give her every advantage? I am inclined to do just that, but the great predicament is making the year of waiting worthwhile and productive. I've been trying to look into preschools long distance. A few I found said they couldn't be 5 yet. Another tough thing is Pullman Kindergarten is half-day, and I honestly think Carly would adore half-day Kindergarten. It is full-day in Michigan, and if we were staying here there would be no question. But being removed from Pullman and the idea of half-day Kindergarten (for free!) has made the whole thing harder. And I know it is totally dependent on the kid and the situation, but I am hoping the perfect situation turns up for her. I know she will be successful regardless, because she is just that fabulous. I just want to do everything right by her. We'll be seeking some divine guidance on this one, though if God were imperfect He would surely be weary of my prayers concerning our move.
Carly is such a kid these days, I can't believe she was once my tiny baby and once my chatty toddler. She has brought so much joy these four and a half years. I'm so glad she was sent to us.