Boy, talk about bad ass. The nine year old turns ten in just two weeks--13 days, she told me, from today--and we've been talking for a while about what we'd do to celebrate. That is, what kind of ultra cool thing would she like to do to invoke her second decade of life? I encouraged her to think through who she wants to be, what kinds of things she wants to be doing with her life, and to ask herself if she could choose an activity, or pursuit that could bring these things together, what it would be. It turns out she came up with her answer, and one she's been considering for a while.
She's answered her questions with learning to play the drums--it's ultra expressive, the kind of beat and rhythm you learn improves all sorts of rhythms in life (not to mention improving your abilities as a dancer--something else she cares about), it's both immediately satisfying and a long-term project that demands regular attention, while promising continual potential for improvement. So, today she started for-now-weekly lessons, she could up to lessons twice a week later depending on how it goes. We came home with six rhythm patterns she has to memorize before next Tuesday, plus a practice pad, and two sticks, and we're keeping an eye out for a used drum kit. Her instructor told her to focus on doing two things: just keep playing, just keep making things up. Not bad advice more generally, I think.
So, we've got her next year lined out pretty nice: fourth grade, rock climbing twice a week, drum lessons once a week, just keep playing, just keep making things up. I swear I'm helping one of the coolest people I know grow up.