"What do you think my special talents are, Mama?"
"Do you think I have any special talents?"
"What should I do when I grow up?"
"Will I get pimples on my face in a few years?"
"When can I go to the park by myself?"
"Is it okay if I stay home by myself now?"
"What treat can I share with my friends for my birthday?"
All I could think of, by way of answers to the stream of questions by the newly minted ten year old, was just que sera sera... and, "rice crispy pops!!"
Usually inordinately taciturn, the girl has been spouting a lot of queries, some of which were easier to answer than others.
Seeing her every day through my mommy filter, I end up treating her like a baby more often than needed. Even if I know deep down that she is strong and thoughtful, I end up rushing to protect her or lecturing her when all she wants is some space for herself and distance from me.
On the other hand, I am thankful that we can still find things that we both enjoy doing. She made Rice Crispy Pops for her friends. I helped. Instead of the other way round.
She makes her own breakfast and lunch most weekends. I've been egging her on to cook a meal for us soon. She does not like using the old and temperamental gas stove. I catch myself saying, "When I was 10, I would cook..." hoping to nudge her into finding joy in cooking. But, all in good time. Whenever she is ready.
It was a low-key birthday, no fuss. I made some fun t-shirts for her, or rather, added some iron-on transfers to store-bought $3 t-shirts which I customized for her style. One got a scalloped hemline plus some photo pile-like arrangement of pictures from her recent trip to Winston Wildlife Safari, Humboldt Redwoods, Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Bay Aquarium and such.
One white t-shirt was partially dyed blue to evoke a feeling of flowing water in which I had ironed on some pictures from our recent trip to Monterey bay Aquarium,
One shirt got an angular and slightly asymmetrical hemline. to which I added cute picture of her pets - cat and guinea pig - with the words, "Make new friends but keep the old; One is silver and the other's gold."
And her favorite is this white one with a picture of the cake pops that she had made a couple of years ago; the special feature being the fringe hemline and sleeves that I added. Coupled with white capris, this t-shirt has become her favorite outfit of late.