Emmie: Five years
High-fives all around, little girl. Five? FIVE! I feel like you’ve been waiting for this day since October when the first of your group of friends turned five. There was much discussion about when you could start talking about it and when you could start planning your party and you’ve changed your mind about your cake theme approximately 50 times.
Last night when I tucked you in, I pointed out it would be your last sleep as a four-year-old. I asked if you thought would be different in the morning when you were five and you responded without hesitation, “Yes. I will be taller.” This conversation about sums up your personality — sure of your beliefs, willing to speak your mind and always, always looking to make us laugh.
What a year this has been. You started your second year of all-day school — junior kindergarten — and you are full-out reading. Not memorizing, reading. It’s become a bit of the party trick in that we hand you a book just to see if you can do it and you can! Let’s see about this one. Yep, that one, too! It’s incredible. You love to draw, bringing home folders full of detailed, colorful pictures of your family and friends as well as animals and princesses and castles. But the maps — oh my holy lord the maps you bring home. Our budding cartographer, you are obsessed with making maps of the world, North America, South America and Australia. You can ‘t get enough. Reports are you are a delight to have in class, which is no surprise as you delight in going to class every day.
School is also your social hub and you have a group of four other girls you do everything with, but you tell us all the time your best friend is Lila. And I think if you ever saw one of those BFF necklaces in a store, you would freak out on the spot and command me to purchase it. You had your first reciprocal sleepovers this fall and it’s hysterical to see the two of you greet each other on the playground or in the hall each morning: a quick hug and a once-over of each of your outfits and then you’re off, whispering and giggling and starting whatever activity is on tap for the day. I’m so glad you’ve made such good friends at school and that the four of you genuinely seem to get along beautifully without any of the girl-drama that will rear its head in later years. But its not just school; we joke you make friends no matter where you go. The playground, tennis class, a parade — you even made a friend at the pool when we were skiing in Breckenridge over Christmas break and were convinced Jake (you were close enough to be on a first-name basis) was going to come back to swim with you again every day. You are definitely our little social butterfly.
You’re also our little early-riser. It’s not uncommon for you to be up at 5:45 each morning and if you ever sleep past 6:30, I assume you’ve stopped breathing and I need to check on you. But usually you wander into our room to announce you need something — your iTouch, help turning on a video, some Lego directions — and then you disappear downstairs until you start wasting away from starvation. And that’s the best thing about your self-sufficiency at this age: you and your brother and sister can amuse yourselves until the more civilized hour of 8 a.m. and mommy and daddy get a little more sleep. Win-win for everyone!
Your relationship with Jack and Maeve has changed so much this past year. You and Jack can actually be in the same room for extended periods of time without it devolving into screaming and crying. You still love some good ol’ potty talk, and some of the nonsense you two come up with makes no sense to anyone but the two of you, but you laugh more than you fight most days, which is a nice change of pace. But it’s your interaction with Maeve that has been amazing to witness. Now that she can talk and play and do things, you have found her a lot more useful. You play Barbies and princess dressup, Legos and the Busytown game and you occasionally let her touch your new American Girl doll, Caroline. The two of you are actually becoming friends and I couldn’t be more happy about it.
Speaking of Caroline, she joined you as a reward for you ceasing the sucking of your fingers. You sucked the three fingers on your right hand practically since birth as both a comfort measure and a boredom cure. You did it when you slept, when you watched TV and when you drove in the car. And you wanted nothing to do with stopping. But you were doing it more and more and it was so bad your teeth were shifting and you had permanent blisters on your fingers from it. So your dentist encouraged us to employ a 30-day reward chart with weekly milestone prizes. A visit to the American Girl store to pick out your very own doll was the culmination of the process and you couldn’t have been more excited. You love to dress her up and love even more when she matches something you are wearing. You sleep with her and one day last week you were almost late for school because you had to dress Caroline before you left. I yell more than I care to admit on school mornings about putting on shoes and coats and getting out the door, I refuse to have a doll be the cause of a tardy slip.
This was the year you learned to put your face in the water and actually swim, the year you learned to ride a bike with training wheels and the year you started playing T-ball and tennis. Your love affair with ballet appears to be waning, but you’re still in class for now. You love to cook and beg to make pumpkin bread with me. You finally have long hair, which you scream about having brushed every morning, and you still have an impeccable fashion sense. Dresses and skirts still rule your wardrobe, but you have deemed a few pairs of colored skinny jeans acceptable as well. You have gotten braver, going down water slides and on (small) roller coasters. But you still jump into my arms after school with a huge smile on your face.
You went to Texas, Hawaii, Disney and Breckenridge this year and you loved all of them. You are as happy on the beach in Hawaii as you are jumping off the pier at the lakehouse in Wisconsin. You love airplanes and sleeping in hotels and eating in restaurants.
Emmie, you are a joy to have in our lives. Your kisses and hugs, your mischievous smile, your full-body laughter, the pensive look on your face when you concentrate, the way you bust a move on the Xbox dance game, your obsession with after-school snacks, your few yet memorable tantrums, your love of your electric toothbrush, the way you still cuddle up with your fuzzy blanket when you sleep, your love of all things pink and your penchant for hiding from us in various closets. Your sense of humor and fairness are equally honed, which makes for some hilarious conversations sometimes. But I wouldn’t change a single thing about you. You’re fabulous, fantastic, fancy, fashionable, fascinating and now, you’re five.