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May 26, 2015

On 2190 Days of Harriet

DSC_0452Speaking of words as survival gear, we’ve found it very useful this past while to scroll back through our archives from 2011 to discover if Harriet was anything like Iris is. Iris is so singular and Harriet was never so young, and then I find the post I wrote when Harriet was two-years-old and realize I’ve forgotten it altogether. Which is all the more reason to check in every six months or so and record how it is, how she is, because she never stops changing and she’ll never be quite this Harriet ever again.

IMG_20150517_123639The age of five was a pleasure. Wholly. Every other year, my pleasure has come with a caveat—two year olds are annoying, three and four year olds have sociopathic tendencies, but five was amazing. Harriet is funny, interesting, good company and a huge help in our family. Her patience with her sister is beyond anything I’d ever expect, and her love too is incredible and both are helping shape Iris into a really excellent person. I admire her too—Harriet’s strong will is manifesting as self-confidence and a firm sense of who she is and what she wants, and it’s our job to let that happen. Of course, it helps that who she is is someone who thinks deeply about things, who calls herself a feminist, who is curious and generous in her approach to the world around her. She loves music and dancing, and has been ridiculously influenced by the video for “Chandelier” by Sia, and has spent the last six months of her life imagining herself in its starring role. She’s not afraid to go against the grain, and makes a point of making choices counter to what people might expect. She works to defy gender expectations at every turn, but never so much that she doesn’t revel in a twirly dress and fuchsia tights. She loves The Lego Movie, Annie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Frozen. She has never been above watching more juvenile fare with her little sister. She can read, though we don’t know how it happened. She writes terrific stories in her journal at school, though her stories from the weekend are never quite the ones I would have chosen (i.e. “On Saturday, I watched Frozen twice in the afternoon…” on the weekend we took her to some excellent and engaging cultural event). She is, as one ought to be, obsessed with the lyrics to Leader of the Pack, and loves Gypsies Tramps and Thieves and If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher (and quite clearly, I have been responsible for the bulk of her musical education).

IMG_1171When things don’t come easily, she has learned to persevere and to be brave—back in January, she swam like a lead weight, but now can glide across the water and has no fear of jumping in. She is happy at school and seems to be in a good place with friends, which we appreciate, because it isn’t always easy to find your place when you’re a strong personality (and obsessed with Cher). She is an appalling joke teller but refuses to have her confidence undermined. She loves making up songs whose rhyme and rhythm are as such that I assume they’re real songs, but they’re hers. She says she wants to be a rock star, or a scientist, and this summer, she’s going to finally take her training wheels off her bike (though this is more our idea than hers). She has a gift for enthusiasm, but can whine like nobody’s business. We wonder about her interior monologue, because the bits we get a glimpse of are so deep and rich (and go on and on and on, and she’s not really even expecting us to be listening). She likes Lego, The Incredibles, superheroes, forces of justice, and toys. Also prone to candy and ice cream and chocolate. She will not eat a leaf, unless its basil. She watches movies and then turns them into elaborate imagination games (some of which involve her dragon, Goldie, who is a Sunchaser but used to be a Screaming Death). She thinks she can make anything out of paper. Often, she can (but then I throw it out and she gets angry). She has her sullen teenager facial expression perfected. She’s usually up for adventure. And we can’t believe that today she is six—six!?—because surely there has always been a Harriet and we’ve always been her parents, but then how come the forever that’s been her life feels like it’s gone by so fast?

4 thoughts on “On 2190 Days of Harriet”

  1. theresa says:

    So beautiful. Great photographs. And I’m glad to know that another mother-daughter team love “Leader of the Pack”. I was just watching a video of it last week and realized I still know all the words. (“In school they all stop and stare…I’ll never forget him, the leader of the pack.”) It might be time for you guys to buy the Supremes, too.

    1. Kerry says:

      Who *doesn’t* love Stop In the Name of Love? Harriet knows the moves already. 😉

      1. theresa says:

        I remember my daughter asking me (about age 6) what a “won ton dress” was? (She loved won ton soup…) I was puzzled. I asked her a few questions and realized she was referring to “worn torn dress” in “Love Child” — and it’s true, Diana doesn’t pronounce the rs in that song…

      2. Kerry says:

        Ah yes, that old worn torn dress that somebody threw out. Poor Love Child. I admit I haven’t played THAT song for Harriet yet. She is still hung up on the woman in Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves who picked up a boy south of Mobile, “and then married him, had a baby, but now she hasn’t seen him for awhile. Um, Mommy. Why would Papa have shot him? What exactly did he do?? Where did he go?”

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