Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Melissa is F-I-V-E, five!

Hey big girl,

You're five. FIVE! F-I-V-E, five. That's half a decade, and you know what I learned? Half a decade goes pretty dang fast. In five more years, you'll be ten. That's half of twenty, and twenty is all grown up. This whirlwind growing up gig is mind blowing!

This morning when you woke up, you turned over and said, "Guess what, mommy? I'm no longer four. I'm FIVE!" And then you demanded your present, which was a dollhouse that you can use to make up lots of stories. You have a vivid imagination, and I really love that about you: I love to sit and listen to you make up stories, and act out all kinds of scenarios that are very super important to people who are 5 or about to turn 5. Like who gets to play in the Housekeeping Center. And who gets to go first. And who gets to be whose friend. And who has to go the Thinking Spot. Very important dilemmas and dramas for pre-school people; which actually aren't that much different from adult dilemmas and dramas, if you think about it (which you don't, because it's not my TURN yet--stop talking about grown ups, Mommy! is what you'd say to that, if I read this out loud to you).

Can I tell you some more things I love about you at five years old? Of course I can! Your favorite story topic is You.

*You're opinionated. You've always been opinionated; at 3 months old you had an opinion. I sense this is in your blood, part of your DNA make up, an ancient ancestral trait that stretches back for eons. Often it's exhausting, but I want you to know how much I love that you have opinions, feel them intensely, and so I spend a lot of time encouraging you to speak them to the world strongly and with no fear (in a respectful tone of voice, because currently we're working on reigning in your backtalk-y tone of voice that gets you into trouble at school...because you're a teacher's kid--YOU CAN'T GET IN TROUBLE AT SCHOOL).

*You have a lot of questions. And when I say "a lot of questions," I actually mean a large, endless, astronomically huge warehouse lot of questions. When I say, "We're having hamburgers for dinner," you say, "Can we have spaghetti?" And this question is followed up with a lot of "Why?" "But why?" "Why?" In the last week alone, you've asked me why people are bald, why we can't have chicken nuggets for dinner instead, why can't we eat chicken nuggets every day for dinner, why can't you pour your own drink from the ten-pound jug of iced tea that will land on your foot and break it or fall and flood the kitchen, why can't you use the big, dagger-like knife to cut out the pumpkin's eyes? Can you light the candle in it?

I sense this need for answers is also in your blood and DNA, a trait that goes back as far as time.

*You think farts and poop are funny. You can talk about farts and poop all day long. You like to shake your booty. In fact, you love everything about your booty. The Booty Shake: it's your favorite dance (we need to get you some dance lessons--though your shaking booty is quite adorable, your repertoire is lacking and The Booty Shake can simply not be the only dance you know. I mean, Homecoming and Prom will be complete disasters). This trait is in your blood and DNA, but only stretches back two generations and from half of your family, which would be my side of the family. Your maternal relatives are just a family of people who love fart jokes, because we're from the classy part of Pennsylvania.

I have no idea where The Booty Shake comes from; we'll put that one on your father.

*You forgive easily and quickly. I hope you'll keep this trait forever and ever. I know I need it a lot right now. I can't even tell you how many times I've done or said something incredibly wrong and you've let me off the hook (after throwing stuff at me and making me put you in the Thinking Spot, compounding my parental guilt times ten even while I seethe with righteous anger: Seriously? Seriously? Did she throw that at me? At ME?? Oh hell no, this time out is going to last three days. Throw things at your mom. Seriously???).

*You are a force of nature. People ask me all the time: When will Melissa get a sibling? And I have to say: Never, most likely. Besides, why would we need another kid when we have a 3-in-1? You are an active girl; I always know you've fallen asleep because suddenly it's gone quiet. And if it goes quiet during daylight hours, I always check on you...nothing good ever comes out of Melissa suddenly going quiet. Science experiments (not approved by actual scientists) in my kitchen are typically involved.

*You love boy AND girly things. You are a soccer-playing princess. You like Monster High because they're a little bit hideous and a little bit beautiful. Which I really like about you, because it tells me you're well on your way to a deep understanding of what it means to be a human on this planet: yin yang, ugly pretty. We'll talk later about why.

*You're a scaredy cat. You like Haunted Hathaways but only because I'm prepping you for future ghost hunts (you're terrified of ghosts, by the way) (and the Big Bad Wolf) (and creepy sounds at night). Sorry, sweet girl. You get this terror of shadows and The Dark from me; that's a gift directly from my DNA to yours. (Can I tell you now that part of the reason I don't play Bad Mommy and force you to sleep by yourself in spite of your very real and deep terror of doing so is because I'M terrified to sleep alone?) (We may need to look into therapy soon.)

*I love to watch you sleep. Right now, I am watching you sleep. You sleep with your arms flung out just like you did when you were 1 month old. And when you're asleep, your face goes soft and I can still see the baby in you. Everyone told me I'd miss that baby when you got bigger, and Everyone was right. I can still see me holding you in a mirror, so tiny and small and helpless. And now? "NOOOOO! I can do it! Not you, ME!" is a constant, shrill, crazy rant echoing throughout our house. And in our car. And the grocery store. And the mall, parks, restaurants, movie theaters, playgrounds, the public library (you get shushed all the time), and a whole slew of other places we go.

I like that about you, too: Independence. It's so important. It's good to ask for help, but knowing how to do it yourself works just fine. I love that you're hell-bent on being independent, and I dread the day you walk out into the big, wide world on your own without me.

Until then, I'm still The Boss (yes I am) (no, absolutely not...but you can be the boss of your stuffed Shrek doll) and no we're not having chicken nuggets for dinner tomorrow. Let it go.

I love, you Miss M. You are my best blessing, and I'm so grateful God picked me to be your mommy.

Happy Big Girl 5 Birthday!

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