Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Wonder Years - Through Our Nieces

Today's blog is about our (A and me) five nieces. Their age range is from six months to twelve years (6 months, 4 years, 8, 9 and 12 years). The reason why I write this post is because we get to see a whole spectrum of growth as we look at all five of them and different stages of development - their current interests, how they change with time, what they learn, etc. What each of them individually goes through at their respective age and how the transition happens to an older age is amazing. I don't want to name names, so for the sake of simplicity, the oldest (12-year old) is called A, 9-year old is B, 8-year old is C, 4-year old is D and the youngest is E. This blog is not about how each one of them is (her personality, individuality, etc). It is about the different stages of their childhood and pre-adolescence.

I have seen D and E (the younger two ones) since the time they were born. And have seen A, B and C since they were two, three and six years old. We now talk to the oldest one as an adult. She is a tween. If you were to chat with her, you would not realize that she is a tween. The only thing that gives it away is her extensive use of emoticons and smiley faces. When B and C were three and four years old, we used to spell out words, so they would not understand it. Now we do that for D. D was super excited that it was her birthday near Christmas. She was looking forward to having a princess-themed cake and candles for her big day. Yes, like other girls her age, she loves princesses and was a princess on Halloween. The older nieces went through that phase also, and have since, moved to dressing up as other characters for Halloween (read as scary witch, bed head, etc). The youngest one was too little to have a Halloween costume, so she will wait one more year for her own costume. At the end of the day, irrespective of the age they are, they all enjoy their candies and chocolates!

When we see E, the youngest one, A (the husband and not the niece!) and I are reminded of our nieces when we saw them when they were so young. E's latest thing is that she has just begun to turn on her own. I remember D began rolling from her bed the first time when we got her to Connecticut in 2008. My sister and I were in the kitchen and when we came out, she had rolled out of her little make-shift bed. E will give you the best smiles when you spend time with her.

It is so interesting to see how each has their own personality and how that plays in with their age. A and her sister C, are four years apart. Till about a year and a half back, they played with their common friends and A would play the same games as C. We are now seeing that she has grown out of that, and spends time with her friends during parties. And C plays with her own friends. With becoming a tween, also comes the thing of sleep overs. Being the oldest, she was the first to be invited to sleep overs at her friends' place as well as host sleep overs at her place. If she has moved on to sleep overs, D is still at the play-date age. She loves to go her best friend's place and play anything from lego to playing with excavator trucks to their parents reading them books.

B and C are only a year apart from each other. When we did the family trip to Canada during last summer, it was very interesting to watch both of them. The cousins were meeting after a long time. So when they first met, B and C were walking on the road, hand-in-hand. They talked non-stop and had much to share. There were a few times I think when all three were in the same car. I can only imagine what the adults in the car must have gone through! We no longer can distract them and make them silent by saying, "Count the number of red cars that pass by" or saying "Let's play the game of who stays quiet for longer". While that trick still applies to D. She remembers that and a day or two after we have left her place, she will tell her mom that she spotted a red car! I am sure within a year or two, she too will outgrow that. A (the hubby) used to spell things out when his nieces were younger. Like spelling out I-C-E C-R-E-A-M, so they would not understand it. We now do it with D. B was a terrific host when we went to Canada. Although she is nine, she made sure that all of us were comfortable and was a great guide at Calgary's stampede.

You must have already noticed that we do get to see a wide spectrum of interesting aspects with the girls and how different they all are. D's best friend is a boy and to her, he is just like her. B and C believe that boys are bad, and they are their enemies. While A is beginning to understand a little more than that. When we see all of them, we sometimes do wonder how each of them will be when they grow up. From all five of them, E has the best life as of now. She eats and sleeps. The oldest one is entering the phase where school work has just begun to get important, along with following other activities. B loves to ice-skate, C enjoys swimming and tennis, and D had her first swimming lessons this past summer.

They are not different in everything. We do see some similarities. All four girls love to dress up and they all love make-up. They wait for an occasion when mommy will allow them to apply some make-up. Another thing - they all love celebrating their birthdays. If one had a princess-theme, another was all too happy to spend her birthday with the entire family. She told her classmates about it excitedly. The others like it at a gaming plaza or having friends over for a sleep over. A (the hubby) and I can't help, but remark at times, that we get to see such different stages of growth in all five of them. We feel lucky for that and to a very large extent - it is a big learning experience for us. If you have stories about your nephews and nieces, do share them. I would love to know about them.

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