Emmie: Six years
Today you are 6. Six! That’s more fingers than we have on one hand. It’s a measurement of doughnuts. It’s closer to 10 than it is to zero. It’s … it’s … it’s crazy. As we were pasting the pictures of you from each year into your birthday book for school, I could not believe how much you have grown and changed over the last six years. You were a puffy-faced baby when you burst forth, ready to stake your claim on our hearts. And here you are now, a kindergartner who knows her own mind and defends her own opinions.
This last year has been so much fun for you. You’ve maintained a close friendship with the other three girls in your class and wholeheartedly welcomed in a new one. You relish the role of being a classroom leader, finally being able to set the example for a new set of three-year-olds. You come home with lengthy, heavily illustrated books about various subjects ranging from vampires to potty-training to fighting. Genre-crossing for the win! And writing is just as exciting for you as reading, which you continue to do at a ridiculous level. You love chapter books, especially mysteries, and revel in reading the same books as Jack.
Speaking of Jack, you continue to improve your relationship with each other as the years go on. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of low-grade violence and lots of snipping at each other, but for the most part, you get along well. You put on plays together and build LEGO sets together and create rainbow loom bracelets together and sing karaoke together. And Maeve adores playing with both of you. The two of you insist on wearing matching outfits on occasion, including matching pajamas at night. You had your first sister sleepover during Christmas vacation and you loved giggling and sharing Maeve’s trundle bed. You two play dolls and Barbies and make art projects and chase each other in loops around the fireplace in the middle of the house. You also fight over dolls and Barbies and art projects and try to smack the hell out of each other running around the fireplace in the middle of the house.
You’ve also continued your excitement of participating in lots of different extracurriculars: piano, tennis, dance, soccer, basketball and baseball. You learned to swim this past year, and while I’m not entirely comfortable with you in water over your head, you can hold your own. You love jumping off the dock at the lakehouse and taking running leaps off the end of the boat in the middle of the lake. And you even conquered a few roller coasters this year, which we dragged you onto kicking and screaming and which you exited yelling, “That was awesome!” Yes, we know. That’s why we dragged you on the ride.
This is also the year you grew out your bangs. Oh, the drama. You wanted to grow them out and I resisted, because I can’t STAND the sight of hair in little kids’ faces. It drives me absolutely insane. Not to mention, it makes it extremely difficult to pull your hair into a ponytail. But everyone says you look so much older and I agree — the new ‘do really has erased any last trace of baby in your face. Sometimes I look at you and wonder who this 12-year-old girl on my couch is. It’s so crazy to see you look so different so quickly.
You still love dresses and skirts, but also have no problem wearing jeans and leggings now, which makes for a more varied wardrobe. You love the TV show Good Luck Charlie and are obsessed with the Despicable Me movies and Frozen. You love to play with your iTouch and have discovered the joys of texting a few friends and e-mailing your grandparents. You love to play Kinect Sports and recently beat the Princess Wii game all on your own. You love to help me bake — and reap the rewards of our efforts — and are amenable to doing your jobs (cleaning off the table, loading the dishwasher, making your bed and cleaning your room) with little nagging from us.
In the last year, you’ve grown up so much, but you’ve also stayed the same in many ways. You are helpful and empathetic and caring and funny. Oh, are you funny. You have great timing and a quick wit combined with a deadpan way of saying things. You’ve also entered the “Do you know…” phase where you drop random facts on us that you’ve read about or heard. You’ve taken to heart the lessons we’ve tried to instill in you with several volunteer opportunities we’ve taken part in and it makes me glad to see you helping others. I love to watch the way your brain works, coming up with ideas or connections I would never have thought of. But I love to watch the way your brain rests the most. I still check on you every night when you’re sleeping, your arms thrown above your head on the pillow (just like when you were a baby), your face unmoving. It’s then that I see baby Emmie, the little girl you still are, the innocence you’ll still have for a few more years. I touch your cheek and kiss your forehead and you stir and turn under the covers as I readjust them over your shoulders. I’m pretty sure I’ll still be doing this when you’re off to college, which might be awkward when I have to ask for admittance to your dorm each night. But we can work that out when the time comes.
In the meantime, I say that I hope you don’t change, that you stay 6 forever. But then I would miss out on all the awesomeness that is you as you grow and change. I loved 5, but I think 6 is going to be truly amazing.