Today is my older daughters birthday. Isabella Hunter is turning 9 years old, which means that my wife and I have already used up half the time we have to shape her into an incredible young lady.
It doesn't feel like we are half-way there on her. I know I am not half-way ready to give her up into the world. She is still my little girl, and I am not sure I will ever be ready to let her go out into the world. It's a scary place out there, and it's even scarier when you are a dad letting your pretty little girl head out into that scary world.
She is a good kid(even if she did pick Red Robin over Atomic Ale House for dinner). So far, I think my wife and I have done an outstanding job. She is very polite in dealing with other people, and LOVES to read. She is eager to please almost to a fault(in her rush to keep everyone else happy, she will often do something that makes herself miserable...this is my fault, as it is something she got from me). She is much better at entertaining herself than I remember being at that age, with her current fascination being dinosaurs.
I think that ALL children go through a 'dinosaur' phase. I know I did, and my wife remembers going through one, but, neither of our parents indulged our interest the way we have done for Bella. My parents bought me a book or two. We have bought Bella has AT LEAST 10 books. On the Wii she has watched all the Discovery Channels Walking with Dinosaurs/Pre-historic Beast shows. What with us doing home schooling, our opinion is that if she WANTS to learn about something, who really cares WHAT that something is.
My only concern for the next 9 years is getting her over some of her shyness, and some of her fear. She is very logical in her approach to things, to the point of being timid if she doesn't totally understand something...she also has a slight fear of heights. She is fine in airplanes, but can't stand being 5-10 feet off the ground. If I try to pick her up and throw her over my shoulder in a fireman's carry, she clamps down on my shirt hard. She couldn't do the zip line at camp, and SWMBO told me that just today, she seized up major on the the climbing rocks at the local park.
I am not sure how to get her over either of these things. Being a guy, my usual way of dealing with these things is direct confrontation/immersion therapy...kind of a 'Just get over it, kiddo' attitude. My wife ensures me this is not the correct way to do it. Her shyness seems to be slowly fading...at the park, she tries to introduce herself to other kids, but, as my wife puts it, she 'has an old soul' and sometimes just doesn't connect. Apparently kids have 'phases' that they go through, and Bella seems to be moving out of this one.
I could not have a dreamed a better child than what she has become, and I am terrified/excited for what the next 9 years will bring.