On turning 8

We celebrated a milestone birthday this weekend and it took all three days to properly fete such a momentous occasion.

We started with pastry because the birthday boy wanted a half cherry, half blueberry pie and I thought that was a pretty cool challenge. His actual birthday was Friday and he turned eight, a very important car-seat age if you can stretch yourself tall enough to fit a shoulder harness properly so you can say good bye to the booster.

We’re working on that.

The next day we headed down to the Milwaukee Zoo, which is a mighty cool place to spend a Saturday. Then, last night, we topped it all off with a little birthday party featuring a big cake and a scary sea creatures theme.

Here’s what I’ve learned about brand new eight-year olds and the world they live in:

It’s a pretty cool mix of virtual and actual entertainment. Eight year olds can play sophisticated video games (with parental controls), ride a bike around the block all by themselves, build some complicated Lego and read very cool books like the “Who would win” book series, which made our trip to the zoo even more interesting.

There are more than 26 books in the series, featuring battles and rumbles between various wild animals, with some surprising results. We’re working our way through the Ultimate Ocean Rumble and it’s honestly fascinating. I’m all for anything that encourages kids, especially boys, to read and this series keeps us on the edge of our seats.

The eight-year old I know also likes to read the Dogman graphic novel series. That one’s not my cup of tea but it wasn’t written for readers who use phrases like “not my cup of tea” anyway. The Dogman books come in handy when someone needs a little wind down time and I’m grateful for them.

The world’s a little more complicated for eight-year olds than it was for me 50 years ago, but it’s also reassuringly similar. The book selection is so much more varied, the Legos work the same, and the bakery cake tastes just as delicious.

Here’s hoping every eight-year old finds some of those familiar joys and exciting accomplishments, and a booster-less view out the car window.

This Giant Pacific Octopus we saw at the zoo moved just like the ones we read about in the Who Would Win book series.
We had never seen an elephant lift its trunk so high before. And, we learned that elephants are right or left tusked just like people are right or left handed. We think this guy was just showing off.
We got to see the seals swim under water and play above water. The seal tank at the Milwaukee Zoo is nice and big.
I think these giraffes were as interested in us as we were in them.
I was pretty proud of my half blueberry, helf cherry pie and the birthday boy gave it two thumbs up.
I asked the bakery for a cake with scary sea creatures on it, and Simple Simon did not disappoint.

3 thoughts on “On turning 8

  1. My daughter, Paula, headed up the design team thst designed the elephant exhibit at the Milwaukee zoo. I may be a bit biased, but i think it is pretty awesome!

  2. Thanks for the book ideas. I have seven and eight year old grandkids and I am definitely going to look into them. Your eight year old is lucky to have you to show him how to celebrate!

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