Crazy Eights

Turning eight is terribly important.

Somehow the mere silliness of life up to that moment leaves the field of the involuntary and a focus on refining the act of childhood takes to the fore. The accidental delight of being younger than this is replaced by the ability to recognize the power of choice, and how to steer the vehicle of one's mindful actions into certain places.

The acknowledgement of consequence begins to build and a familiarity with one's own capacities emerges, yet still, deliciously, a pond of possibilities still exists beneath the practical. In these lucid depths, imagination stirs and sparkles, only now, with the added strength of focus, childhood's vessel is sturdy enough to row into the sunlit ripples.
Here is where talking peacock fish are caught on threads of silk, and blossoms fall from trees of fancy to float upon the water. Here is where the child takes herself, aboard her tiny craft of emerging mental independance, to sit and sing and weave jewels of the sun between the strands of her hair.
And over the years as the boat improves in capacity, the adult in the child will still find go gliding on this secret pool of paradise. And emerge energised, armed with dreams, proposals and visions. Recipes, models, maps, concepts, experiments, novels, blueprints, doctrates and essays all surge from this stillness between the oars, watching and listening and rocking in careful quiet joy to the motion and art of play.
Eight is the platform of dreams.

Eight is the meeting and intertwining of logic and fancy. Simple block towers become complex lego structures, and many years on, add to city skylines. Leaf cups of nectar grow into scoops of sherbert and later, platters of culinary worth; playdough patting and rolling morphs into sculpture, gardening and landscape design, stick figures and dolls clothes parade down fashion catwalks and paintings; the stories of emerging childish words unfold into publications that line the bookshelves of many.

8 is a number associated with new beginnings, Creation took 7 days and the eighth was the start of the functioning of all that had been spoken into being.
8 is a fascinating mathematical number, being the first cubed prime.
8 is the base of the octal system, on which is built an impressive empire of computer logistics.
8 is the number of B vitamins that play a role in cell metabolism.
8 keys form the scale in one octave, the foundation of the art of music.

For us, watching the unfolding of our second child into eight is like watching a rare and delicate species unfurl the petals of undiscovered beauty into form. Especially with this child, who is introverted, wild and in possession of incredible determination. Her competative nature, sensitivity and common sense sometimes overwhelm the softness of just being. She is dominated by her desire to belong, to have friendships that satisfy with loyalty and depth, to be the first. These powerful motivators are weighty beyond her years and it is with great interest and love that I hold back on busy things in order to give her imagination a chance to cradle the hot coal of impatience she nurtures. We try to keep things simple, uncluttered, unrushed. Just be we say. Rest-time. But she writhes and squirms and puts down her pen in frustration, not being able to write as fast as the words that tumble from her mind, or read quickly enough to gallop the story along as was its design. She scoffs at safety, at sedate pace and at not succeeding. If a challenge cannot be conquored immediately, and with excellence, it is severed. Her alarm bells ring when she is forced to be adaptable and still, or wait. And emotion spills from those blue eyes at injustice and heart hurt.

She is our child on the fly; glittery, skittish and impossible to catch, yet ignites the imagination with a sweetness that catches each breath of wind.

She was born at 8pm, on the 16th, weighing 8lb8oz.
She no longer sleeps with blanky.
She still sucks her thumb. A lot.
She is outgrowing the love of pink.
She loves shoes.
And winning.
And red toenail polish.
She adores animals, still wants to be a vet.
Deeply longing for a puppy, year after year.
She loves cuddles, bedtime stories, jumping on the trampoline.
And like last year, sausages still top the food list.
Her favourite dvds this year have been Mamma Mia, Little Rascals and Yours, Mine and Ours.
She will no longer be co-erced into eating fish and chips.
Her skin is the softest we have ever felt, her cheeks like rose petals.
Subway is her best takeout.
She is fierce in her loving.
Soft in her care of little ones, very good with directing and protecting Mishal.
She has struggled at school this year, with bullies and lack of deep friendships.
She still does gymnastics but her lack of flexibilty causes her strife, however her natural strength and balance compensate.
She is walking in that unique girlhood way, through the door of awareness from babyhood to the beginning of wisdom, and shedding the layers as she goes. She was my fiesty baby, picky eater and clinger. I said then that she would probably grow to be an astronaut or inventor so separated from conforming was she. Equality and medocrity irritate this child to the heights of exasperation.

She was born to run at the front of the pack. Not an easy task for a second sibling, at the shoulder of a strong leader sister. She is hardwired to escape the shadow, and seek out her own limelight.
She sparkles, shines, screams.
She is spirited.
She is eight. This is her year.

Kelly Langner Sauer  – (October 20, 2009 at 1:22 AM)  

What a sweet tribute... I look at my two-year-old now, and I wonder what she will be when she is eight. I wonder if I will see her so well as you see your daughter. It is hard to imagine...

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