Thursday, August 30, 2018

Snapshot: Niman Girls Summer 2018

The girls have been pulling out their baby books the last few days, asking me to read from it as their bedtime story. I forget so much of what I wrote in there, about what they did in the bath, favourite songs, first foods. I described how exhausted I was to even take a shower towards the end of the twin pregnancy, and how many walks Abby and I took in a day to settle her colic and manage my boredom. I'm so glad for these records, and delighted they enjoy hearing the words I took effort to write down.

I've been less interested in writing here, for a lot of reasons, and I am fine with this. Ebbs and flows. It saddens me, though, to think one day they will ask what they were like at this age and I will have only my memory to draw from. Memories of the busy summer days and increasingly challenging emergent personalities leave little space for me to commit longterm memories into my computer brain. Take this, then, as a time capsule, a snapshot of the girls at the end of summer 2018.


Abby at nine and a half is like an orchid. The soil conditions must be just right and much care is taken in attending to her fragile sensibilities as her stem lengthens. When she blooms, she is beautiful, and attracts the attention of those around her. Abby needs a push every now and then. It is hard for me to know when it is time to push (and how hard) and when to step back. We're learning together. Letting nerves win prevents growth, and she is learning to conquer that tendency.

She loves to be led on a guided meditation before bed, and we just finished reading Wonder together as our summer novel study. She tells me I know just how to make her feel better, but I think she is well-attuned to her moods and feelings, so she knows the way forward. She finished a great season playing house league soccer, where she was a very fast runner, and became a leading goal-scorer once her confidence set in motion. She likes to read before bed and listen to the radio, especially Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande songs. She wakes up early, before everyone else, and plays in her room until she's allowed to get her sisters and come downstairs. She craves responsibility, and we give it to her in measured doses, unsure of how much we can expect from a nine-year-old. She almost always surprises us and continually impresses us.


Hailey is very laid back, smiley and chill, until she is not. Then she is quick to ignite, throw down and declare it is the worst day ever. She loves using her hands to build and create, and says she wants to be a mechanic or construction worker when she grows up. She laughs easily, helps out when asked, loves to ride her bike, enjoys reading the Captain Underpants books and can't stop herself from dancing when her favourite Justin Bieber songs play, even if we're at the dinner table. She planted carrot seeds months ago and proudly harvested two huge bunches for us to eat this summer.

She loves to snuggle into me when she's feeling afraid, overwhelmed or sad. She needs prompting to say how she feels, and wishes she could sleep next to me every night. She played a great season of soccer this summer, tearing through the other team with the ball, scoring so often she would lose count. She loves Kraft Dinner, and has trouble controlling herself with junk food; she has been known to eat so much she later throws up. Yuck! I see Hailey act shy at school, but as soon as she's comfortable around people, she lets her silly side out full force.


Robin wants so badly to be older, but settles for acting older at age six. She loves to dress up, read everything she can about animals, colour pictures, and eats anything made with sugar. I have a theory that Robin was meant for a smaller family, but was placed in ours at the last minute; she has difficulty adjusting to sharing resources with her sisters, especially my attention. I make sure to have our serious talks away from the others, where we can calmly and thoroughly get into things, as she does not like her sisters to overhear her express her personal thoughts.

Robin loves beautiful things, I have said this since she was a baby. Be they paintings, dresses, voices or sunsets, Robin's beautiful blue eyes see things most do not. Sometimes she'll see something she admires and excitedly tells me she can't wait to get home and draw a picture of it. She feels deeply hurt when her sisters and friends act unkindly or ignore her, and is learning to take a few breaths before reacting with scorn. She loves to have her back rubbed, and to sing.


If I put Summer on a city bus at age five, I have no doubt she could navigate the whole city on a grand adventure before returning home with stories to tell and a big smile. She is confident anytime she meets someone new, and makes friends easily and instantly, wherever she goes. She loves her independence, next only to her love of being accepted and included by her sisters. She adores them, a little much sometimes, so then they exclude her, she creates her own game, and the cycle repeats. Summer makes us all laugh with her clever insights and frank honesty.

Summer likes jungle cats, reading Elephant and Piggy books (she is an early and avid reader, like her sisters), swimming, making crafts, and going on adventures. She is game for anything, anytime, anywhere. Summer is very empathetic and has learned to recognize when someone is being left out, whereupon she will invite them to join her. She loves candy, black sparkly dresses, contributing her two cents to anything anyone is discussing and being singled out, for any reason.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this, especially now that I've had a glimpse into the life of the Niman girls in real life. They are all unique and awesome kids


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