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This is What 11 Looks Like

posted Wednesday May 21st, 2014


I’ve never considered 11 to be much of a birthday. Shoved between 10 (a whole decade!) and 12 (last year before you’re a teen!) it’s always been an inauspicious no man’s land for me. Of course, there’s no such thing as a small birthday in our house (I blame myself — okay, and my mom) and as it turns out, 11 has been a pretty big deal for Sophie.

This week is big in general — school dance, visits from out of town friends, and the last day of elementary school. I’m a mess and so is Sophie. She’s admitted on more than one occasion that she’s sad to be leaving her school. I feel like this week is slingshot-ing us both into summer, and we’ll free fall til it’s time for junior high to start.

Eleven is big because I see, more clearly than ever, how Sophie is teetering on the brink of adolescence. Her version, anyway. Among her birthday presents this morning were a phone, makeup, Barbies and a cute striped tank dress, but she also received a stuffed Peppa Pig, the star of a show meant for toddlers, and aside from the phone, I have a feeling that Peppa was her favorite gift. At 11, Sophie still sucks her thumb when no one’s looking — and even when they are.

She has been a diva this past week (too much birthday partying, I fear) but she is also wise and kind. Yesterday she dictated a thank you note to her aide at school, who stood in line at the Disney store with a lot of other “Frozen” fans to get her a stuffed Olaf and an Elsa dress, and at the end of the note Sophie added, “Thank you for taking good care of me.”

Last night at the school dance, they played the theme song to “Frozen,” and my friends and I giggled at the little girls belting out the angst-ridden anthem and wondered what these kids have to worry about, anyway. I watched Sophie approach several groups of girls, trying to engage them (with varied success) and thought to myself, she has plenty to angst about. I just hope she doesn’t realize it.

Today, Sophie wore the Elsa costume to school, over her new tank dress. She did not look anywhere close to 11. But she looked beautiful.

See also: For My 11-year-old Annabelle: Things to Worry About 

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

7 Responses to “This is What 11 Looks Like”

  1. She sure did.

  2. Sophie is going to be Great in junior high. It sounds like she had a good 11th birthday experience. I celebrated my 11 birthday in New York in 1984 when our family visited Grandma Dorothy. Boy, was that an adventure. We celebrated her birthday too. However, it sounds like Sophie had a better birthday cake!!

  3. I SO enjoy your stories about Sophie! Thank you so much! I wrote this micro poem about my 13 year old grand daughter this week, I thought you might enjoy it…

    Leaving behind pink pearls and lollipops by j.wood
    #micropoetry #sixwords #forclarah @aztreasures

  4. I think it is amazing we are both going to Middle School at the same time. This may be incredibly fortuitous for both of us. We need to be in touch to give each other survival advice. Happy Birthday beautiful Sophie. I’m scared too. But please keep this a secret between us.

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIE (that’s my daughters name too)

    You are amazing. As is your Mom, Sister & Dad.

    Have a great summer & I’m betting that you’re going to be a rock star at your new school.


  6. Things I love about 11: Abbie’s birthday; snake eyes!; the delight of checking the time on my phone and seeing 11:11 or 1:11; eleven in Spanish — fun to say; rhymes with seven (lucky); the eleventh hour (how else would I finish anything?); and sophie@11!!!

  7. i love that judy! thank you!

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