Double Digits

I asked Eloise for a hug goodbye when I dropped her at a slumber party last night. I asked her for this hug especially because when she wakes up, not in our home, on December 2nd today and turns 10, well I won’t be there to hug her and tell her happy birthday.

She did not give me that hug. She rolled her eyes at me and said “Oh Mom, really.” And then she turned back to her friends and they started giggling about something that I had no clue about, so I just said goodbye to the parents, turned my back and walked out the door.


Now don’t think that Eloise was rude for not giving me that hug. Eloise is not my hugger. Not my cuddler. Not my lover. She’s one of the most kind and generous and lovely kids I know but she’s not known for her displays of affection. She wasn’t a baby who wanted that human touch, she wasn’t a lap sitter and didn’t love to be carried places. She slept best in her swing or in her bed…not in my arms or a sling. She ducks when I go to wrap my arms around her and if I put my hand gently on her back she usually doesn’t hesitate to remove it. But she reciprocates ‘I love yous’ and lets her baby sister on her lap and will always carry her everywhere she so desires.

So what I’m trying to say here is that Eloise is her own person and I respect that. When I thought about what I would write that would capture my feelings about having a 10 year old, or what I think it’s like being 10, or what I think a 10 year old should know…well it seemed trite and forced and admittedly just wrong, because honestly the biggest thing I want you to know about a 10 year old is that they are their own person, with their own desires, likes, wants, emotions, bodies and minds. And I have no need to put words into what I want my 10 year old to know except I want her to know that I love her. Without fail. 24 hours a day. With or without hugs.


Instead. I want you to truly just know Eloise. I asked Eloise if she wanted to write something here about turning 10 or if there was something she wanted you to know specifically about her that would truly tell you who she is.


And she said “I want them to know about my favorite books and authors because I think that truly tells a lot about a person.”  So she made me this list and told me that this was all you needed to know.


She is also a girl of very few words, will never seek to be the center of attention and you will rarely find her without her nose in a book. Also, she wear a panda hat as much as she can.


And then I cried. I actually felt sorry for myself because this 10 year old girl is already so much more than I was at 10. This girl here. She’s the one who in second grade returned to me all of my Judy Blume books, my Nancy Drew books, my Little House On The Prairie books, my Anne of Green Gables, and my Secret Gardens and told me that she read them all and they were just kind of ‘meh.’  So I boxed my childhood back up and put it back into the attic. I packed away my childhood of books that I had held onto for 35 years convinced that I would share them with my daughter and together we would have this moment that I created in my mind.


I found out that day that moments cannot be created and staged. My 10 year old, my eldest, my girl that made me a mother has taught me that moments are what happen when you are just living life and truly listening to your children. They are not made from reading Blubber for the 455th time and convincing your child why they should appreciate it too.


Without further ado – Eloise’s lists…

Favorite Books:

Series of Unfortunate Events series
Because of Winn Dixie
The Tale of Despereaux
The Tiger Rising
The Magicians Elephant
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Hunger Games trilogy
Island of the Blue Dolphin
Princess Academy
In Search of Mockingbird
In a Heartbeat
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Rules for Secret Keeping
Allie Finkel’s Rules for Girls series
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel


Favorite Authors(Including poets):

Shel Silverstein
Lemony Snicket
Kate DiCamillo
Brian Selznick
Suzanne Collins
Scott O’Dell
Shannon Hale
Douglas Florian
Loretta Ellsworth
Michael Scott
Meg Cabot
Lauren Barnholdt

(Then I had to go Google half of these….Go ahead..I know you are now doing it too. I’ll wait…)

Happy Birthday Eloise. You are easily one of the most special people in all the world. And you are not just special because you’re my daughter and I cannot help but feel this way about you. You are special because you are just so simply and beautifully Eloise. Oh, and you are 10! 10!!!


Love you for always,


Oh..and a little 49 second clip of the new 10 year old. She would love for you to take the time to watch and to wish her a Happy Birthday. Thank you!


About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    Happy birthday, Eloise!

    My oldest is 11, a big middle school girl now, and she loves reading more than anything else. She has liked some of the same books you listed (especially the Hunger Games series, but she’s also been reading several of the Meg Cabot books, and I know she read Princess Academy). If you’re looking for something else to read, may I recommend her current obsession, the Percy Jackson books?
    Katie E recently posted..Holiday Gift Idea: Blurb Instagram Book

  2. says

    I get what you mean about the idea of creating these moments with our children… and of having to let go and accept when their likes and desires are a bit different from ours. Happy 10th Birthday to your lovely daughter! xo

  3. says

    My Dearest Eloise Happy 10th Birthday!!! You make this world a better place with all of your kindness and for being the person who you are. Have a special day. Love Grammy

  4. says

    YES!! I have read almost all of these. I win!. Oh. Wait. That wasn’t the point. Happy Happy birthday!! Here is how I ranked these

    Series of Unfortunate Events series — it was OK

    Because of Winn Dixie — depressing

    The Tale of Despereaux — ROCKED

    The Tiger Rising — need to read

    The Magicians Elephant — intense!

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret — GOT to read

    The Hunger Games trilogy — YES YES YES YES YES

    Island of the Blue Dolphin — I loved that book

    Princess Academy — probably not going to read

    In Search of Mockingbird — my daughter who has Asperger’s read it with me. It was good, but we both felt it only captured a limited perspective of what life on the spectrum is like.

    In a Heartbeat — don’t know this one

    The Mysterious Benedict Society — don’t know this one

    Rules for Secret Keeping — it was OK

    Allie Finkel’s Rules for Girls series — Caroline likes these (The 9 year old above) but not me

    The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel — Eh – OK.
    Jester Queen recently posted..The Jester is OUT (but you can find me elsewhere)

  5. says

    Oh, happiest of birthdays to you, Eloise! I adore so many of the books on your list – Because of Winn Dixie and Tale of Desperaux are my favs. The depth of the stories and the quality of the writing sucks me in every time. My fourth grade students always loved those read allies the most.

    Tracy – I really love what you said about the failure of trying to engineer moments with out kids. It’s hard to remember they are not ours – they are not us. But what a beautiful gift they give us in teaching us to live in the moment and let them be who they are.

  6. says

    She’s adorable! Thank you for the list of books, too! My eldest is going to turn 10 this spring, and she’s read the entire Lemony Snicket Unfortunate Events series, and “Because of Winn Dixie” will be under the Christmas tree for her. We haven’t heard of some of the others, so I’ll be looking into them for her.

    BTW, she also loves reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.
    Jenny recently posted..My Daughter the Word Nerd

  7. says

    Happy 1st BIRTH day to you dear Tracy, you have raised an amazing young lady. Eloise, you capture hearts with your smile, and I adore your love of books, and what a great big sister you are. I will be stopping by for a birthday hug (or perhaps just a high five or fist bump..) love!

  8. kate says

    Have the happiest of birthdays, Eloise! You are a beautiful young girl, inside where it really matters,and outside as well! Enjoy your day, and keep on being your special self. Keep reading too!

  9. Just PaPa says

    It seems like the 10 years have flown by!! Yet I will always cherish the memories created in those ten years. Happy Birthday Eloise you are always in my thoughts!

    Love PaPa

  10. says

    Happy Birthday, Eloise!!! My 10 year old agrees with your list and wants to suggest that you try reading some books by Wendy Mass. She read Candymakers when she was 8 but now loves her other books too.
    We hope you have an amazing day and whole year through!!

  11. says

    Happy Birthday Eloise! My son will be 11 in two short months and then we will enter the dreadful teen stage. But when I drop him off at school – and that’s middle school with 6,7,8th grades- he still waves to me, which I try not to get too excited about when I wave back.

    He’s also read the Benedict Society and we’ve seen the movie based on the Hugo book. He’s very into Artemis Fowl series and the 39 Clues series. So much that I’m wearing out my library card trying to keep up.

  12. says

    Happy birthday to your Eloise! My youngest daughter is ten and, like your daughter, is a girl of few words and does not throw out the hugs freely. Maybe they should room together in college ; )
    Shannon recently posted..Driving Me Insane

  13. says

    Happy Birthday to amazing Eloise! I enjoyed the clip very much. Also, as the former Children’s Book Buyer for Micawber’s Books, I greatly approve of your favorite books and authors. Awesome! I hope you have a great birthday!
    Dara Dokas recently posted..Coffee Date for Mom

  14. says

    Also, my mother (an elementary school librarian), would like to know if Eloise has read Wonderstruck and The Magic of Finkelton. If Eloise is looking for a project, my mom would love her feedback!
    Blythe recently posted..So Lucky

  15. Jana says

    Those are some books that Sophia has loved as well. So happy to see another Shel Silverstein lover too! It is wonderful to raise a reader, I hope she keeps it up!

  16. says

    Happy Birthday, Eloise and happy decade of motherhood to you, Tracy!

    My own ten-year-old, Mason, has read I think all of her favorite books. He’s finishing Benedict Society now. I love it… but I will cry huge tears if this baby girl of mine rejects Anne of Green Gables. I will!

  17. says

    There is a movie based on “Because of Winn-Dixie” and it’s a beautiful film. Dave Mathews (the singer) is in it. I really should watch it again.

    And I just want to say to Andrea, who used the term ‘dreadful teen stage’ that not all kids are dreadful as teenagers, and the best thing you can do for yours to avoid that is to give them space to explore what they need, keep the communication lines open and just let them be- this is a big time of change for them and they only want their own space to figure it all out.

    And if you’ve got a boy who’s still waving good-bye to you in Middle school, it likely won’t be as bad as you think.
    Kate recently posted..white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

  18. Jaci says

    Awww….happy birthday Eloise! My Natalie turned 10 just a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t believe that my baby girl could be in double digits already. Also you are not alone with the avid reader – Natalie’s list is quite similar to Eloise’s. During parent-teacher conferences I was told that they didn’t test her “to her limits” but that she was easily reading at an 8th grade level. It’s great to have such super readers but so hard to keep them entertained while keeping the reading material appropriate. I know all too well, I was one of those very advanced readers and I almost scarred myself for life by sneaking Steven King’s “It” home from the library and reading it after bedtime when I was in 5th or 6th grade. To this day I still freak out when I think of that book. *shudders*

  19. says

    You can tell her, I love her… simply by reading her list of favorite books! She’ll probably squirm and think it’s creepy that a complete stranger would say such a thing about her without even knowing her in person, ha!

    She sounds so much like my Erina, it’s a bit creepy too. That’s why I recognize almost all the book titles. Has she read “The Books of Elsewhere” by Jaqueline West? We love those, even I read all three!

    Happy Birthday, Eloise!!
    Monika recently posted..CYBER MONDAY DEAL

  20. says

    Love that girl’s taste in books. I was a bookworm too. She seems to like fantasy. Might like the Dragon Rider’s series. I also liked the Pegasus series, and the Brain/Braun series. All Ann McCaffery or her with other authors. Myth Inc. is a good series. Also, Douglas Adam’s lesser known books, the Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency series.

    I think my big girl is going to be a book worm. She is already turning in to a great reader in Kindergarten. When she starts in on chapter books of her own, she’ll be off an running. She is however a cuddler. Despite the fact that she no longer fits in laps.
    Amelia Sprout recently posted..I am not a dude.

  21. says

    Happy belated birthday, Eloise! My new 12-year-old was in love with Lauren Barnholdt as well and the 9-year-old with A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Mysterious Benedict Society. You’re all in good company apparently.

  22. says

    Happy Tenth Birthday Eloise! Great post Tracy! Eloise loves the same books Eldest did. A new series our girls are gobbling up which didn’t show up on the list, and (don’t tell anyone) The Agronomist can’t put down, is called The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter. The first book is called I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You. It’s about a school for girl spies. Can’t wait to hear if she likes it.
    Dana @ Bungalow’56 recently posted..Ten

  23. says

    How can she not like all my childhood faves? And who are all those authors apart from Shel Silverstein? Although I did totally love Island of the Blue Dolphin, which I still totally remember the entire story, and Hunger Games.

    Love that she loves French. She can communicate with Young Lady when she meets her (who will be just nine in April).
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Friday Night

  24. says

    Hi! Just recently discovered your blog. I loved Lemony Snickett and the Island of the Blue Dolphin as a kid, too! I think 10 year-old me and 10 year-old her would have been friends 🙂 Happy birthday to your daughter!

  25. Jody says

    Happy Birthday, Eloise! As my eldest niece announced nearly 8 years ago, you’re “the Big One-Oh!”
    So happy to see that this generation is reading Scott O’Dell! He’s still one of my favourite authors. I teach middle school, so I’m familiar with all of these books. Good taste, young lady! It’s so wonderful that the generation that is your Mom and me now writes so much for your generation – I doubt that you’ll ever run out of books to keep you interested.
    Have a delightful year…and every now and then let your Mom into your world…she will probably enjoy it!

  26. says

    Happy birthday to your little bookworm!

    Sage refused to read Trumpet of the Swan because there “weren’t enough pictures.”

    Have Eloise read Net to Catch War. If you can find it.


    ps I will hug you whenever you want.

  27. says

    I can’t believe I forgot to comment on this because in my head I was singing “Happy Birthday dear Eloise!” and discussing books with you all day long.

    I love your taste in books and poetry, darling Eloise and I also loved your video. You are adorable in every way.

    And the photos! so, so, so cute. Just when I think you can’t get any prettier….you do!

    Happy Birthday!
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