As of today we are crossing over into uncharted parenting territory for us...the era of double digits. Our firstborn, our girl, our inaugural attempt at this parenting thing turns 10 today. I'm not ready for this but as I do when there's a birthday let's talk a little bit about our newly double digit girl. It's good therapy for me.
When GI Joe and I got married we were on the 5 year plan, meaning we weren't going to start having kids until after we'd been married 5 years. Dakota was born 4 days before our 2nd anniversary. Plan failed. We were sooo young but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We were too young and dumb to freak out about every little thing as many first time parents do, instead we were oblivious and absolutely smitten with this gorgeous creature that we created and I gave birth to.... NO DRUGS. Have I mentioned that before? You know that I was in labor for like 22 hours WITHOUT ANY DRUGS? Yeah I'm a rockstar like that but having earned that badge the first time, I asked for an epidural at about 35 weeks with the next 2, just to be safe.
We decided that we weren't going to find out if we were having a boy or girl when I was pregnant with Dakota. We had names picked out for both, did the unisex nursery, and being the shopper that I am, stocked the closet with both boy and girl items. Looking back I have no idea how this control freak, type a planner did that but we did and I'm glad we did. It was one of the coolest surprises in life (not that we repeated with #2 and #3 but it was fun once.) GI Joe had been hoping for a boy as most men do with their first child but from about 6 months on I had a feeling it was going to be a girl. The minute the doctor said it was a girl in that delivery room, I saw GI Joe undergo an instant transformation from tough guy to wrapped around that little girl's finger and it's been that way ever since.
When the doctor said it was a girl, I had instant visions of mother daughter shopping trips, frilly pink things, and a room full of baby dolls and tea sets. Boy, was I in for surprise. Not only has Dakota taught me how to be a parent but she's also taught me to expect the unexpected in sooo many ways.
Here are a few things about Dakota that have made the past 10 years very, very interesting and make me look forward to the next 10 years with great anticipation.
*The girl is smart. She was reading before she went to kindergarten and now in 4th grade she's reading and writing at a 9th grade level. It's pretty awesome when you're 4th grade daughter corrects your punctuation and offers alternative words for you to use when she's sitting next to you as you're blogging. Note the sarcasm. She's very smart but she's also very flighty and always has a 100 things going at once. Every time we go to conferences we hear the same thing, "Dakota is very very bright now if we could just get her organized." She's like the mad scientist minus the bad hair. I can't wait to see what she does when she grows up.
*She's extremely artistic and creative. She's constantly drawing and we're not talking stick figures, we're talking a herd of horses complete with mud splattering beneath their feet and manes blowing in the wind. Her drawings are incredible. Lately, I've been having her sign and date them so one day when she's a famous artist I can sell them on ebay to support my shoe shopping habit. Hey it's the least she can do for me given that I gave birth to her....NO DRUGS!!
*She's much like her father in that she is who she is and if you don't like her then that's fine, she's not going to lose any sleep over it. She's never one that NEEDS to have people around her or someone playing with her. She's perfectly content in her own little world and if you'd like to join her there then great but if not that's alright too. Unlike a lot of girls her age she's not into sleepovers and talking on the phone or petty girl stuff. Being the social butterfly that I am, that concerned me so I asked her why she never wanted to have anyone over and she responded with, "Because I see them enough at school and if I had them over I'd have to entertain them and I'd just rather not have to do that." Good point, how could I argue with that?
*From "her cowgirl boots (that she wears daily) to her down home roots", she's about as country as they come. She's an independent, confident, free spirit whose idea of a perfect day would consist of hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and exploring the great outdoors. No shopping, manicures, or Hannah Montana for her, in fact she wrinkles her nose at the mere suggestion of those things. The boys at school are already in awe of her since she catches the biggest fish, hunts with her very own gun, and isn't afraid to get dirty. I imagine it's only going to get worse as she gets older but I'm not worried she's got very, very high expectations and also the kids in her class think her daddy kills people for a living.
*She's our high maintenance hick girl especially when it comes to food. Her favorites: Godiva chocolate, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, lobster, crab, and sushi. Seriously. There's no way a pimply high school boy working part time at HyVee would be able to afford to date her in high school. Which is good considering she's been told since birth that she wasn't allowed to date until she was 42. Given her expensive taste that's probably not so unreasonable after all.
*She's so tender hearted specifically when it comes to animals. She's not the most nurturing when it comes to other people but give her a sick or injured animal and she'll go to extreme lengths to nurse it back to health (including the application of medicinal herbs she's read about and harvested from our ditch or back pasture) and then showers them with love and affection. And help us all if the kitten or the bird or the whatever it is she's rescued doesn't survive, we're talking major meltdown. This is one of the many ways she's a lot like me. Nothing gets to me more than a sick or injured animal. However unlike me as much as she loves animals and hates to see them sick or injured she has no problem shooting pheasants or quail or deer come hunting season. Somehow that's totally different in her mind. Weird.
*She's politely blunt and if you need corrected she'll let you know, nicely of course. For example, a previous Sunday School teacher of hers gave her some misinformation once and Dakota quickly corrected her and then showed her where the right information could be found. That's how she rolls like it or not.
*She's weird, really weird. She runs like a T Rex, hisses like a cat and swears there's a clan of Cat Warriors holding secret meetings and living in our woods, among other things. I got nothing, she's just weird but we love her anyway.
She's not at all the daughter I had dreamed of having..... but she's more. Happy Birthday to our little cowgirl!