Happy fifth birthday to our beautiful Christmas baby.
Five. Wow. As far as milestone birthdays go, this was the one I was dreading the most. No more toddler, and certainly no more baby. It is all big kid stuff now. Five just seems so ... old. And you are old. So mature, so tall (oh, how tall!) and so wise. And getting wiser by the day.
This past year with you was just as remarkable as the last. Having you (having kids, really) is amazing. Just downright amazing. The inquisitiveness, the constant development, the sweetness and the boldness ... it's all just too wonderful for words.
While parts of 2013 felt like a blur in terms of selling, moving, buying, renovating, moving, I have to remember that it was also chockful of some seriously great moments. Sadly, not a lot of them were documented on this blog, but they are seared on my memory. And posted on Instagram.
You left the only school and teachers you had known since three months, and while you still ask about your Childgarden friends, you were so darned excited to start pre-Kindergarten at a big kid school. You have taken to your new school, teachers and classmates like a champ and I can't put into words how happy it makes me to see that you clearly so utterly love school.
You continue to take care of and humor Charlie. You are so patient and so tender with him, and heaven help the person who even looks like they might be thinking about doing your little brother harm. The other morning when you slept in and realized that your dad and Charlie had already left for school, your face dropped and you said, "I really wish I could have hugged Charlie good-bye."
You are equally loving to your cousins, living it up when you are together and wanting to call and send pictures when you are not. You are, I dare say, even loving to your parents. Even me, your arch nemesis. There are days where you test every bit of my patience, and then when I least expect it, you will crawl into my lap or grab me tight around the neck when I tuck you in at night, pulling me down so you can give me one of your famous fierce hugs. On occasion, you even take the opportunity to whisper in my ear that you love me or that I am the "best mommy ev-ah." At those times I am certain you are angling for something, only to look at our face and realize you are being genuine. You have, however, learned how to give "cute" looks, and while sometimes I think you are once again working me, there are other times that no, you are just that gosh darned cute.
As far as interests, you still love to be outside, and our spring and summer in Highland surely was the stuff of your dreams. A huge yard, play set, swings, battery-powered riding toys, stomp rockets and treasure hunts were in heavy rotation. While you still love books, of late we are more likely to find you holed up somewhere with a pen and paper versus a stack of books. You love to art, especially with instruments of the non-washable variety. Your Aunt Sherri and Uncle Brian gave you a well-stocked craft kit for Christmas, and it is already in need of a restock. Your free handed drawing and coloring continue to improve, as does your handwriting. But man, oh man, I cannot wait until you learn how to spell because you insist on writing your loved ones' names on every single creation (D-A-D-D-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, C-H-A-R-L-I-E, B-U-D-D-Y, N-A-N-A, G-R-A-M-P-S, B-E-N ... I could go on.).
Development wise, your teacher says you are right on track, my little friend. You love to ask the meaning of words, and between that and the aforementioned spelling obsession, I would say you just might be mine after all. (Because, like me, you also tend to fall down a lot, zone out and are not the most coordinated, I am afraid a love for words and spelling are currently the only two good traits you received from me.) You still jumble some phrases and mispronounce some words, but those instances are few and far between — if not utterly treasured.
I could go on for days listing why you amaze us and how much we love you. (I could also go on about how you are stubborn and frequently ignore us, but this is a birthday post, ahem, so I'll keep it positive.) But good and bad, we love you little girl. As I tell you every time I tuck you into bed, "You make me happy every day."
Happy fifth birthday, Mary Clare!