Seven

Our oldest turned seven today. A while back when I noticed that she would be turning seven, it kinda took me aback. We all have in our minds certain milestones that define age and in my mind seven years old is one of them. When they are young, the milestones are quite frequent. One month, two months, three months, one year, two years, three years, then the following year milestones seem not as important as they make their way through their preschool years.

But why does seven years old stick out in my mind. Of course there is that it is the age that they start going to “real” school. It’s not constant playtime like daycare and it’s not playtime peppered with elements of attentive learning thereby phasing them into first grade. First grade is much the opposite. Attentive learning most of the time with elements of playtime mixed in. They begin learning how to read and write. They learn math in a more formal setting. That’s part of the reason it feels significant, but there’s more.

For myself, it was the age that I became aware of the larger world. It was when I asked my mother what year it was (1978). I remember that moment distinctly and I remember every year since. In many ways it seems like my consciousness began at that age. I have more memories after that time. I remember much about that time at grade school, but I remember very very little about kindergarten the year before. Though that may be due to attending kindergarten at another school and then spending eight years at the grade school. So some of those first years at the grade school likely bleed together.

That consciousness is what excites me about my daughter turning seven. One of the main reasons I wanted to become a parent is to pass along much of the information I’ve learned. Much as my parents did for me. So it excites me that she is at an age that takes interest in issues other than cartoon characters and princesses. My father got her an interactive globe for her birthday and she was ready to stay up learning about all the different countries before we told her she would have to wait until tomorrow. As with most kids her age, dinosaurs were of great interest and she can rattle off all the different kinds. Today she mentioned a Quebec artist named Marc-Aurèle Fortin and was describing his life story and work to us. When we were at the Guggenheim in New York, she followed my wife around the exhibit with the free audio guide learning about Frank Lloyd Wright. We bought the series Blue Planet and Planet Earth and she not only takes interest in it, but remembers the information they talk about. She’s started learning more about sophisticated subject matter.

It’s an exciting time and I’m really looking forward to presenting her with all the knowledge available to us. We must also take advantage of the time before she reaches that next stage: adolescence.

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~ by Frank on October 9, 2009.

4 Responses to “Seven”

  1. I was seven (almost eight) when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Thinking about that, I was a bit surprised that I was only that old as I was practically half way (third grade) through grade school.

  2. Seven is also the title of a wonderful documentary series that follows seven year olds in their life by interviewing them every seven years. Oh, actually its title is “7 Up” and consequently “14 Up”, “21 Up”, etc until the last instalment “49 Up”. They’re available on DVD, maybe Boîte Noire has them for rent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Series

  3. You know… I never thought about what a magical age 7 was. Now that I think of it I do recollect that much of my special memories of my childhood did start at around the time I turned 7. Maybe that’s why they call it “Lucky 7” – it’s a special age. Boy I can’t wait ’til my young one becomes 7.

  4. Patrick: So you were a bit young for your year. One of my first memories was the Iran Hostage Crisis and Reagan getting sworn in.

    Thanks, mare. I’ll have to check it out.

    Fin: I’d say that life and interaction with our daughter has changed markedly since she started first grade. It’s quite amazing to watch them grow up.

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