Latest Spurts: Observations of growing up

April 7, 2017

By Ekta R. Garg

More and more I’m noticing just how fast my older child is growing up. Recently I’ve turned around to listen to her suggestions, consider her ideas, and laugh at her jokes. Like her father, she’s got her share of zingers and has begun developing quite the sense of humor.

To that end, I’d like to share some instances from the last couple of weeks—special “growing up” Spurts—all about Ten.

*****

One morning last week, Eight was running late for school. Ten had already come downstairs and started eating her own breakfast, and we were waiting for her sister to join us so we could get going. As soon as Ten finished her cereal, she glanced at the time.

I called to Eight and asked how much longer she would take to come downstairs. She said she was almost dressed.

“I’ll go ahead and get her breakfast ready,” Ten said.

She trotted to the pantry and grabbed the large container of Cheerios, Eight’s current favorite. Her gesture touched my heart. I know she wanted to help any efforts possible to make Eight move faster, but I also knew a small part of her was being the older sister.

Ten poured some Cheerios in a bowl. “Is that enough?”

“That’s good,” I said, “but don’t put any milk in there just yet. [Eight] doesn’t like soggy cereal.”

“Oh, I know,” Ten said, the expert. “[Eight] really doesn’t like her cereal soggy.”

Her tone suggested she’d heard a considerable amount of commentary on the subject, and I couldn’t help sharing a grin with her.

***

Another morning I went into Eight’s room to wish her a good morning and noticed the lights were on. Now with the time change, we get ample sunlight in the morning so I chided Eight playfully about turning on the light when she could just as easily have opened the blinds.

“I didn’t turn on the lights, Di-Di did,” Eight said.

“Oh, really?” I asked. “Why?”

“Because I didn’t want to get out of bed,” Eight responded in a matter-of-fact tone, “and she said, ‘I’ll turn on the lights.’ So I told her, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ And she said, ‘All right,’ and then turned on the lights and turned them up really bright.”

Well, what do you know? She’s acting like a little mother already. Now I just need to get her to do the dishes and laundry, and I can scuttle off to a mini vacation for myself.

***

Last week, I fought a massive sinus infection coupled with a cold. My husband made an executive decision to get me some antibiotics, and when he went to go pick it up the girls were with him. The three of them came home, and Ten marched into the house.

“One tablet every single day,” she said, handing me the bag. “Starting from today. It’s for six days.”

“Okay.”

As if the pharmacist-in-training wasn’t satisfied, for the rest of the week when I went to say good night to her she would ask in a kind, gentle voice whether I’d remembered to take my medicine. By the third night I felt like our roles were almost reversed. I could hear echoes of my own mother in Ten’s tone, and I made sure I definitely took my medicine so I could, in fact, answer in the affirmative.

At the end of the week and on the day of my last dose of medicine, Ten looked at me over breakfast in a thoughtful way.

“You look better,” she said with confidence.

Her observation made me smile. It’s nice, once in a while, to experience that role reversal. After all, everyone wants to be taken care of.

***

This May it’ll be one year since we moved into the new house, and there are a few small things that need attention. One of these is the drinking water filter in our kitchen sink that causes a gurgling sound every few days after the filtered water tap gets used several times during the day. There’s no leakage, and, really, more than anything else it’s just the sound that is kind of annoying.

One night at dinner, Ten looked at me pointedly and said, “Do you think we should have someone look at that?”

Her tone sounded so grown up, almost like an adult, and I had to hide a smile. And then reassure her that, yes, we would get someone to look at it.

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