We’ve got a newly minted five year old in the house. As always on her birthday, I’m writing a few memories and posting a few photos of the wonderful journey in the last year.
I wanted you to stay four forever. Four was full of joy and wonder, sparkle, curiosity, independence, laughter, growth, and more. But time marches on and this month you turned five. Five is major. Five years ago I held all 5 pounds and 11 ounces of you in your blue and pink striped hospital swaddle, and now I’ll be waving you off to kindergarten this year. You’re on the edge of so many new experiences.
You emit joy. You are a terrific hugger and hand holder. You bring so much energy and happiness to everything that you do–you are even excited to accompany me to the grocery store or the chiropractor, and you clap your hands about a trip to the dentist. Seriously. I never tire of seeing your exuberance for life as you skip into your classroom every morning after a brief obligatory goodbye, and I love seeing your huge grin when you spot us at afternoon pickup. You love to be busy. You are happiest having a long agenda and a set schedule (we’re soo related). This year we instituted a checklist at bedtime and you love to follow along–pjs, teeth, potty, stories, snuggle. Bedtime is also filled with requests to download what we did for the day and what exact plans are on the horizon– “Can you tell me what we’re doing tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day?”
It was another year of growth–physical, emotional, and social. Physically, I can’t keep you in clothes that fit. Your pants and sleeves are always too short as your long limbs continue their march to be taller than I am in a few years. Despite purchasing most of your clothes in blue and green, your favorite colors this year are pink and purple and you’ve taken a liking to dolls and Barbie. Sigh. Your goal this year was for your hair “to grow as long as Rapunzel,” and you’re getting close. Emotionally and socially, you have really matured in the Rainbow Room–you’ve made great strides in learning to take turns and collaborate on projects with your friends. You love school–you mastered writing this year and worked hard on your letters and numbers. You have emerged as a definitive lefty. You write your name on everything, followed by “CMG”. You are dying to read and can “read” a few books that you have memorized. Your vocabulary continues to grow by leaps and bounds every day and your creativity astounds me. You can happily paint and draw all day long, and especially love to create books out of paper and colored tape, complete with pictures and wild stories.
You still love your city. You enjoy taking the express subway, raising your hand to hail a “band” taxi as you call the new van taxis, and navigating your favorite museums with aplomb. You’ve taken an interest in architecture and drawing spaces, right down to the furniture placement. You love to create buildings with any materials–magnatiles, blocks, and even jam and sugar packets at a restaurant.
You are my favorite sous chef–in addition to watching Giada and Ina, you love to prep recipes and help me cook. You won’t eat most of the food that we cook, but maybe that will come with time. You adore gymnastics–and not just during gym class, as every couch is your trampoline and every elevated curb is your balance beam. You love to dance, especially on top of things–kitchen tables, coffee tables, and couches. Santa brought your first bike this Christmas and you love zipping around the parks with it, creating a streak of hot pink and purple. You’re still very competitive–everything is a race or a contest. While I know this will serve you well in your future athletic endeavors, it still gives me pause. Over the summer you discovered golf, wiffle ball, and competitive bingo. You don’t like to lose. You learned to dive for sticks, swim like a fish, and fearlessly boogie board in the waves.
This past fall you were dragged to many new schools for interviews and play visits as we went through the arduous (and somewhat ridiculous) process that is trying to find a kindergarten seat in New York City. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but your personality was born for this. You loved visiting new schools, checking out their classrooms, meeting new children, chatting/telling your life story to adults that you had never met before, then shaking hands and–completely unprompted by us–asking when you could come back again. It was truly amusing to witness, but it also filled me with pride about your sense of adventure, adaptability, and true excitement for school.
You remain curious and thoughtful. You are a great sister to a hyperactive and wild baby sister who wants nothing more in life than to show her love by destroying your intricate magnatile creations, changing the channel while you’re engrossed in a show, and pulling your hair until you cry. But the way she shrieks and lights up when you enter a room and sweetly calls you “kai-yeeee” must be worth it, no?! You still believe that the earth revolves around your cousins and the state of Connecticut, and it makes me smile to see how important your extended family is to you.
I love you and am really proud of you on a daily basis. I wish time would slow down, but I can’t wait to see what FIVE brings. Just don’t get too much taller this year, ok? Happy 5th.
Past Birthday Reflections:
Top photo by the wonderful Clare Stephens.