Wanda is writing, writing, always writing. Sometimes she’s drawing but mostly writing these days. Where other kids are begging for video games or ice cream, Wanda begs for those things and paper, reams of paper, and fresh writing utensils. This kid can spend hours, actual literal hours sitting hunched over the table writing.
She writes my grocery lists and checks them off as we go.
She sits holed up at the table doing her entire week’s kindergarten homework packet the first day it’s assigned and when that’s done, she asks me if I can think of any more homework she can do. So I have her write letters. When she’s done writing letters, she writes books. Usually self-help books.
I don’t know how long this will last. But I love it. I love it to the point that sometimes it makes me cry. I will shriek with glee when I find one of her treasures lying around, shriek with glee and then drag Dan into the laundry room or back deck so we can giggle and squeal like prepubescent girls over the awesome literary prowess that is Wanda. I think she writes more words per week than I do.
The most recent book she wrote was a follow-up to her first self-help book, How to Treat People Kindly.
This one gets down to the specific, answering the age old question, How To Love Moms.
And she nails it.
[You can love your mom by helping do the dishwasher and maybe loving her and maybe cleaning up and maybe watering the plants. That is how you can be kind to your mom.]
Hard labor. That’s how you love moms. The end.
But she doesn’t just write self-help books.
You remember the sympathy card when I was prepping for the triathlon?
[Mom. I know that you can do the triathlon next year.]
Then there was the time her teacher asked all the kids to write the letters of the alphabet and Wanda had to add that special touch at the end because she wanted to make it clear that she DID know her ADCs. And she wanted people to seng.
Now, since the “criiathulon”, nearly every picture she’s drawn of me involves me running. I am a cute runner. And fierce.
However, Dan, who did not participate in any athletic events this year, had his picture drawn the same day as the one above, only apparently he didn’t run fast enough because he is burning alive with hot fire, which is also consuming his heart.
At the beginning of the school year, Wanda got into trouble for repeatedly calling out in class. Being the youngest in a family where the other four people think you’re adorable to the point of writing blog posts about your doodles, you get used to not having to wait your turn to speak. If mom says, “Don’t interrupt,” you can always go interrupt your older siblings. It doesn’t work that way in public school. Every kid is the youngest and the cutest and every kid needs to learn to raise her hand and wait.
So after a particularly rough week at the beginning of the year, Wanda asked what she should do for homework and I said, “Write a note to your teacher about how you’ll try to do better tomorrow.” She produced this:
[Mrs. M. I am so so so so sorry for shouting out in class. Tomorrow I will do better. On the back of the page there will be signs. ]
These are the signs:
[I will not shout in the classroom. Instead I will raise my hand. I will wait my turn. I will be patient. Love one another. Keep my hands to myself. I will listen to the teacher.]
Like Anne of Green Gables before her, she had a blast doing this penance. I like how she threw in some biblical verse for good measure. #loveoneanother #thoushaltnotkill
Speaking of church. These are her favorite songs:
[On a Golden Springtime and A Child of God.] Obviously.
She gets into these ruts. Or, more positively, if she were an artist, we’d call them “installations”. For a while every character she drew was wearing a Mexican wrestling mask.
Then all of her people were happy shapes.
Then everything was so so so so so so SO SO SO SO emphatic.
She told me that the reason she was so much bigger in this picture was because Laylee and I were really really far away. Perspective. Nice. But why do I have crazy twig hands? Is that also because I’m so far away?
This next one reassures me that even though moms aren’t “people,” we are still worthy of love.
[We love people AND our moms.]
And I’m the best one she ever had. That’s ever, you guys.
When she gave me this note below, she said it was to show that she loves me whether I’m happy, sad, or mad.
She always loves me and she always respects my feelings but if I’m sad, she… shoots an arrow through my chest. Or something. I think it’s sweet.
Here’s me running again, with Wanda. And as we run she wonders, “I wonder when I’m going to be 12.” Because Laylee is 12. And 12-year-olds get to do everything. I like that my name here is spelled like a high school cheerleader. “My name is Mommi, with an “i”.”
The thought bubbles are part of a growing trend where all the people are expressing themselves in thoughts and words.
The dragon here is expressing fire breath, which makes an “H” sound and the people are mostly screaming things like, “Aaaaaa!” “No no no no,” and “WITCH!” But one guy thinks it’s pretty “Kolle” or “Cool”. He’s the one smiling.
When one guy kicked the dangling smily/frowny/indifferent faced wind chimes, this girl was forced to ask herself, “Why kick?”
Most recently her obsession has been with stars. For two days she got all Beautiful Mind, drawing page after page after page of these:
But then they got boring so she started to give them faces.
[I’m getting ready to explode. I have two grenades. We’re going to the park to face off.]
While I love this greatly, especially how happy they are about their impending celestial gang fight, my favorite star art is probably this one below. There are several things I appreciate about this piece. First of all, a few of the stars have faces like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, which she has never seen. Secondly, two are on a plate. Thirdly, the others are surrounding them with swords, grenades, bows, arrows, forks and knives. The stars on the plate are saying, “OW. We’re on a plate. AAAAAA. We’re on a plate, yeah,” and the incoming cannibal stars are saying, “Ooooo. Dang it. I was hungry. I’M HUNGRY.” There is a lot to love here.
To her sister and her aunt she passed this note during church, “Guys. You are cool. So cool that the whole world could explode.” That’s a lot of cool. Like serious sub-zero conditions.
Sometimes she designs video game characters.
This guy is 100 years old. [Your worst nightmare, the mouth. It does 100 damage. It also does one hundred and twenty damage.] Boom.
And she draws her favorite foods.
She likes to label things.
When she wrote her first long story about a year ago about her plan to sneak out on Christmas and see if Santa blessed her life with gumballs and a really favorite animal, we had no idea what was in store. I apologize to all the “chres” (trees) that give their lives to support her hobby but I just can’t bear to make her stop.
I have hundreds of these and I can’t really express how much I love them. The way you love that curl of baby hair you saved from your kid’s first haircut or the video of her smiling for the first time, or the memory of the time your middle schooler hugged you and said, “I’m so lucky to have you for a mom,” before remembering she’s a middle schooler. That’s how much I love her writing.
Maybe I should show her by emptying the dishwasher. That’s how you love people, right?Or does that only work for moms?