Eight!

Like most things these days, I’m really late in posting this, but we recently celebrated Miss Diva’s 8th birthday!

Not sure where to start with this one.  Diva, people often refer to you as “striking”.  You’re beautiful and charming. The husband likes to say you’ve got all the feels.  When you are happy, you are really happy.  The world is made of rainbows and puppy dogs and we are the best parents ever.  And when you are mad, you are really mad.  You’re convinced everyone hates you and that you have the worst life ever.  I’m not a big feeler, so these crazy emotions are a little mystifying to me, but I love them.  Except when I hate them.  I’m not sure I am equipped for your teenage years.  Here’s some things to remember from this year.

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You worship your older brother.  In your hierarchy Smiles is way on top, followed by a distant Jesus, followed by everyone else.  Sometimes you get in trouble because you get in the way of us disciplining Smiles; he can do no wrong in your eyes.  You feel a deep bond to him and we will always respect this.

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You. can. eat.  Like, more than a 400 lb man.  Your stomach has no bottom.  Some kids who are adopted have binge issues due to previous food insecurity, but we don’t think that’s the case for you.  You just like to eat.  A lot.

You used to be so obedient, but recently you have started challenging the rules.  You told me that I have a passion for making up rules and that you hate my rules.

You make the very best expressions.  Photographs don’t do them justice.

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3/4 of our kids require fairly firm discipline to be effective.  You’re the exception.  Any hint of firmness sends you to your room in hysterical tears.  This is sometimes a challenge to remember and something we’re working on!

You’re working so hard to catch up in school and have made tremendous strides.  We’re so proud of the work you’ve done and the progress you’ve made.  You’re a good student and the teachers all adore you.  I recently asked you what you were the most proud of and you said “How much I have learned in school.”

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You are always writing and drawing pictures.  You can entertain yourself for hours this way.  You want to be an artist, clothes designer, and movie star when you grow up and spend most of your time drawing fancy dresses.  Also, when your 3-year-old cousin last visited your overdid her make up.  We asked about it and you told us you “decorated her.”  Oh, and the fact that I don’t let you wear lipstick makes me a very mean mommy.

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Speaking of clothing designer, today I played in a golf tournament and wore jeans and a polo instead of my typical fancy work clothes.  When I got home you gasped in disgust and said, “Mommy, WHAT are you wearing?!”

You love babies and are a great help with Sassypants.  When I have an early morning commitment I rely on you to do her hair because goodness knows Daddy can’t do pony tails.

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You recently started becoming embarrassed of me.  If I say the wrong word in public, or make a wrong move, you very clearly let me know how embarrassed you are.  Sometimes I embarrass you if I simply want to take your picture after an awards ceremony.  I try to respect this, but seriously, what’s dinner at Panda Express if I can’t dance a little?

You’re becoming quite social.  You spent the night with a friend for the first time this year and were so excited, and constantly want to have play dates.  The only problem is that when a play date is over and your friends go home, you’re so sad you start to cry and become really moody!  Your best friend is moving at the end of the school year and I’m a little concerned about how you’ll handle this, but you have a penpal plan.

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You’re a complete slob.  You love screen time.  We finally figured out that the only effective way to have you keep your room clean is to tie it to screen time.  I made up the rhyme “no screens til your rooms cleaned”.  I was very proud of my poetry skills, but you did not really appreciate it.  At all.  This is the most horrible rule I’ve ever made.

You feel a deep connection to your biological family and I LOVE this about you.  I can’t wait to travel back so we can spend more time with them.  You are always asking about them, drawing pictures for them, praying for them.  You wrote a story about your life and it won first place not only in the school PTA contest, but also at the state level PTA contest.  Now it’s at nationals.  We send pictures and letters to your birth family periodically, and get pictures and letters back from them.  This is one of the best possible investments of time and money because the joy it brings you is indescribable, and I think it helps you find peace with your story.  The most recent set of pictures contained a woman we did not know by recognition or by name.  Most little girls would move on, but you bugged me relentlessly until I dug out the adoption papers and scoured them to find a name match (it worked- she was your aunt).  A big piece of your heart is still in Ethiopia.  We are so proud of what you’re doing here, and can’t wait to see how God uses you.

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Diva, you’re a little sponge.  I can almost see you soaking up things and processing them in your sweet little brain.  Sometimes your sassiness takes over and it drives me crazy, but honestly, you have one of the most pure hearts of anyone I’ve ever met.  You’re an inspiration to me, and I hope you have a great eighth year.

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