Or, as one might say, why you shouldn't make parents write an essay about their kid for their kid's homework. This gem was assigned by one of Cowgirl's teachers. He gave us a million words or less to write what he needs to know about our kid. Here's my contribution. Read and enjoy!
It would be difficult to write something as long as a million words, considering the average novel is somewhere around 75,000 words. And while I could easily write a novel about Daughter, that would spoil the fun of getting to know her yourself. Since I have to write something about her, I will tell you some of the things that I most appreciate about her.
Daughter is a very creative person. She's always got a new idea for something she wants to draw or make or build. She gets an idea in her head and finds a way for it to become reality. From paper horse stalls to stuffed animals to things she draws on the computer, and even the things she draws freehand, Daughter is a creator. Not just in art, but in the things she writes as well. Daughter writes stories- mostly involving dragons and wild adventures, but sometimes she'll write about her favorite horses.
I mentioned her love for horses and dragons. The nickname my friends and colleagues know her by is Cowgirl, and that is because of all the time she spends with horses. Daughter is in Westernaires, and does everything she can to find extra horse time. Someday, when we have a house where we can have a horse, her bedroom will be in the barn. I suppose, since you're a mandatory reporter, that I should say that of course Daughter will have a warm, safe place to sleep in our home. However, even if I do give her a real bedroom, she'll just sneak out to sleep with the horses. So I say, why make things more complicated than they have to be?
Though the saying goes that diamonds are a girl's best friend, in Daughter's case, it really should be changed to dragons are a girl's best friend. You can make her watch any movie or read any book if it has a dragon in it. Daughter likes to read in general, but if you hand her a dragon book, she will most likely stay up all night reading it. So if she shows up to school some days looking really tired and bleary eyed, you can probably bet that her evil mother handed her a book that she just could not put down. If it helps, we tend to go to the library on Tuesdays, and her list of inter-library loan books she's waiting on is probably larger than your grocery list. But hey, anytime you have a recommendation for a book Daughter should read, let us know, and we'll add it to the queue.
Other than that, there is probably not much you need to know about Daughter. Those are her primary interests, and I have a hard time getting her to take her focus off of those things and realize that there are many other wonderful things in this world. Things that are less smelly, for example. That part about her wanting to sleep in the barn? Well, I should probably mention that sometimes, she smells like it. We're trying to teach her that most people don't think horses smell good, especially their poop, but you'll have a hard time convincing her of that. Heh heh. I probably just embarrassed her with that. I think that's okay. I was going to give you a one sentence statement about Daughter, “Daughter smokes crack,” but then Daughter was worried that because there's a police officer in the school that you might take it seriously and report her for drugs.
So, to be clear. Daughter is a crackhead. However, she does not do drugs. She thinks drugs, alcohol, and smoking are disgusting. But just to be sure, every once and a while, I like to have little talks with her about the dangers of such horrible habits.
Daughter does have a lot of horrible habits besides her love of stinky horses. She can be as stubborn as a mule, and you do not want to mess with her if she thinks she's right. It's best to remember that she's a crackhead and move on. Oh, right. You want to teach her. Very well, then. There are definitely areas where Daughter can learn and grow, but sometimes it is hard to convince her of that. Her comfort zone is pretty narrow, and I'm always encouragingly nudging her in the direction of widening that space. She doesn't like it much, but you're her teacher, so if you challenge her, she'll be more likely to do it.
Challenge is good for Daughter- I think at times she finds school a little boring. She also gets mad at me for saying that, because she doesn't like to work hard. She's never really had to. However, I'm of the mind that she needs to learn how to do it now rather than later so she doesn't become some college washout working at the local laundromat. Which is my way of saying, please challenge her. She will get mad, and she won't like it, and she's really not going to like me for saying that. But I'm her mother, and I love her, and sometimes when you love someone that means you push them in directions that make them grow.
Another challenge Daughter has is in the social area. This is another place where I'm pushing her to grow. When she was little, she was so friendly that every time we left the house, she came home with a new best friend. However, as she's gotten older, she's gotten a little more closed (that whole comfort zone thing) to new people, and she's pretty stubborn about sticking with the people she knows. (Back to the mule idea again- I'm not really sure why she likes horses so much, I think it should be mules.) She is very friendly with people she knows and likes, but has a hard time warming up and being social with new people. Because she is an introvert, she doesn't always like to be around a lot of people, and when she feels pressured about being around a lot of people, she shuts down. So if she comes across at times as being a little standoffish to others, that probably means she's a little overwhelmed by someone new.
New things are not really Daughter's cup of tea. Change is not something she embraces. But she often finds that once she's in the middle of the new experience, it's not so bad. Like middle school. I have to say, she was not looking forward to middle school, but now that she's been there for a week, she's really enjoying herself. She's made new friends. Gasp! New people aren't so scary! And she's found that the classes are very interesting.
Her favorite class is pre-engineering, and that's not an attempt at kissing up for a better grade. She really likes building things and making them work. Her dad is an electrician and scary smart at making things in general, as is her grandfather. I've often said that her grandfather is one of the most brilliant men I know when it comes to coming up with a concept, designing it, and then making it work. So I think she's genetically pre-disposed to wanting to create things. The problem is that her dad is really busy with work and her grandfather is always traveling, so I have a very long honey-do list. If you could help her learn a few more of those skills, there are many things I can put her to work doing at home. I'm only half-kidding. She has such a long list of her own projects that she'd like to make and create. When she came to me with the last one, I told her to take it to her dad. She sighed and said that he hadn't finished the previous project they started together. Personally, I think that pretty soon, she's going to be able to show up her dad on some of these things. Ha! Girl power rules. That's not to say that her dad is not active in her life- on the contrary, he's a pretty hands-on guy who is involved in all of her activities. He's just a little short on time, and the lists we give him are pretty long.
All that said, after watching Despicable Me, I have been in love with the idea of wanting a minion. Daughter refuses to let me call her, “Minion,” so perhaps you all could work on building me a minion in class. I think it would be a really nice challenge for her. And you would become my new best friend.
Back to Daughter- sigh. Seriously though. Do think about that minion idea. It's positively brilliant, if I do say so myself.
Daughter's just an all-around good kid. I know I'm her mom, and everyone says that about their kids, but I have to say that it's really hard not to like Daughter. We're supposed to love our kids, and I do. But I also genuinely like her and really enjoy her as a person. She's funny, intelligent, and a lot of fun to be around. I enjoy spending time with her and just hanging out. Some of our best times together is when we take our books, go to Starbucks, have a hot drink and sit together and read. As in, she reads her book, and I read mine. Maybe that sounds a little boring, but I think it's really nice. Just being in her company is fine way to spend time.
Perhaps the reason she needs so much downtime is that there is so much going on in her head. There are knights, warriors, mystical creatures, horses, adventures, sword fights, explosions (is it okay to say that? I don't want to make the police officer at school nervous. She's absolutely not a danger to society), societal shifts (blame that one on The Hunger Games), animals, flying, and a whole lot of other interesting stuff rattling around in that brain of hers. Personally, I think Daughter's going to end up doing some pretty cool things. I don't know what they are- they probably haven't even been invented yet. Or maybe they have. She doesn't really want to be an inventor. She wants to train horses and write books. I'm fine with that. As long as the guest room in her house is not downwind from the stable.
So that's Daughter. I didn't quite use 2,000 words, which leaves you with a whole lot of words to fill in your own story to get to a million. I suspect by the end of the year, you'll realize that I've barely begun to give you a decent characterization of one of the most fascinating characters I know. Daughter's pretty awesome. I tell her that all the time (that, and that she's a crackhead, but apparently, I'm not supposed to say that and get her in trouble). I'm pretty sure that as you get to know her, you'll come to the same conclusion too.