An Update on Avery

I started this blog 5 years ago while trying to conceive my first child. That child’s gestation, birth, and first year or so of life was heavily documented, and then she started full time daycare and I was working more and more and I just didn’t document her anymore. But in honour of the child who made me a mom, I want to write another post all about her.

She’s still the sweetest, smartest little person I’ve ever met. Once shy, she is now an amazingly adept communicator and socialite (how this happened when she spent ages 3-4 in a pandemic lockdown I have no idea…). She is intimisatingly smart and thinks critically about the world around her. She decided to become a vegetarian – even though her parents are not – because she understands that eating less meat is what is best for our planet’s health. She also loves animals, and doesn’t want to take a life just to enjoy a juicy burger. At only 4 years old, all on her own, she has stuck to her guns on this piece of her identity. She even has us eating less meat (which, it turns out, was always a part of her agenda).

She was the smartest kid in her Junior Kindergarten class. Yeah, I’m her mom, and of course I’d say that. But her teachers also strongly hinted at it. They went out of their way to send us emails about how much they appreciated having her in the class, about how she instigated so much of the class learning that went on in this strange year, about how she was a natural teacher helping her classmates learn. Despite not learning much of anything from her teachers this year (no offence, it’s just the nature of JK on a computer during a pandemic), she has taught herself how to do lots of math (adding, subtracting, memorized some of the multiplication table, counting by 10s, 5s and 2s…). She has taught herself to read some basic words, and knows how to write and spell a couple dozen words. She is a naturalist, able to identify dozens of plants, insects and bird species. And thanks to the TV show Wild Kratts, she schools all of us adults on the many species of wildlife she knows, including what continents they’re from and where they are on the food chain.

Above all else, Avery is KIND. She is an amazingly nurturing big sister and daughter. During the labour of her brother, she was my little midwife, holding cold compresses on my forehead, giving me kisses and encouragement, and rubbing my back. At 2am. The actual midwives were blown away by her ability to care for another person in what could have been a stressful, exhausting situation for some kids.

At school (before going virtual), Avery’s teachers said that she was like a classroom mother, helping her classmates physically and emotionally. When she sees that someone is upset, she gives them just what they need. She either sits quietly with them, talks to them about what’s wrong, or makes them a card with a picture of her and them on the front, usually surrounded by a heart, to remind them that they’re loved.

As I was emotionally shut off in my family of origin, it astounds me that she is so incredibly emotionally intelligent.

Avery is also very good at following instruction, and thus has really been enjoying karate lessons. She likes to fight (but proper, skilled fighting, not scrapping in the playground, which she considers naughty and immature). She is very concerned with social justice (we’ve instilled that from an early age through the books we choose to read to her and the open conversations we have about racism and sexism and colonialism). We heard on the radio recently a story about black folks in our province receiving more charges for breaking COVID-related restrictions than white folks. She piped up from the back seat of the car, “white people really need to learn that black people are the same as us.” This kid gets it. She’s going to make waves.

I could go on and on and on about how wonderful my first born is and how ridiculously much I love and admire her.

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