Happy fifth birthday to my beautiful, curly-haired, feisty, bossy, smart, funny girl. I could swear I just brought you home from the hospital, but here you are. Five. Sometimes, even now, I watch you sleep. I listen to your measured breathing and brush a rogue curl from your forehead. I whisper into your sleeping ear; I tell you that I will always love you and that you are my dream come true. I don't know how I got so lucky as to be your mom, but even if I perished tomorrow, I am so glad that I will have known that joy. However, I hope I don't perish tomorrow, because I have seen how your father dresses you when I am not around.
What I want to remember about you at this age:
- You still botch just about every joke you try to tell. You tell the first half of one knock-knock joke and then end it with the punchline from a different knock-knock joke. Of course, we laugh anyway.
- You have started to think outside yourself a bit, and often consider what might make other people happy. The other day, you picked up a dandelion whose yellow petals had turned to white fluff. "Here, Mama," you said, "Make a wish." I blew the white fluff into the afternoon breeze. "I know what you wished for," you said. "Glass slippers." You often compliment me or give me a kiss and hug out of the blue.
- You are desperate to do "big girl" things. You love to watch Nickelodeon, or nick-you-low-dee-on, as you pronounce it. Right now there is a "tween song" that keeps playing between shows. I don't let you watch iCarly, but you know exactly who Miranda Cosgrove is, and you know every word of the song she sings. Even the lyric "when I'm kissin' you," which makes me cringe a little. You're lucky your dad has not caught on to this yet.
- You sometimes talk to me like I have the IQ of a squirrel. Last night you handed me a slip of paper on which you had written "YMCA." You are currently taking dance classes at the YMCA, and you said that maybe I wouldn't remember to drive you there on Thursday if you didn't write it down for me. Listen, kid, I know I am 40, but I do have a few brain cells left.
- You're starting to have a better understanding of what it means to be adopted, though you still haven't asked a lot of questions. Recently, you told me that you are going to adopt a baby when you are 17. I tried to explain to you that they don't really allow children to adopt other children. However, I also made sure to add that maybe, when you are a grown-up, you will have a baby in your tummy. Or maybe you will adopt a baby. Or maybe you will do both.
- You are very petite for your age. You very much want to be bigger. You believe that something magical will happen when you turn five and that I'll have to replace all of your shoes, because you will have grown exponentially overnight. I truly believe that you will be an average-sized adult, but for now, you are petite. What worries me about your current stature is that I don't want people to assume you are younger and, therefore, to baby you. You don't like this either.
- You still think bodily functions are hilarious. Fortunately, your father thinks bodily functions are hilarious also. Nothing is funnier than a fart, apparently.
- You are very girlie, but know the name of every super hero there is.
- You only want to wear dresses and are getting more particular about your clothes. Sometimes when I hold up an outfit that I want you to wear, you say, "That's not fashion." It's like living with a miniature Heidi Klum.
- You are afraid to do anything physically adventurous. We almost bought you a scooter for your birthday, but you never mastered the skates or the bike we bought you. You practiced a bit with your cousin Liam's scooter while we were in Virginia, but you got mad and kicked it every time you suspected you might fall. I believe your fear of falling is also the reason you were such a late walker. We're pretty sure you won't be an Olympic athlete, but we still have full confidence in your ability to allow your mind and your gregarious personality to take you through life successfully.