Five years old. I sat down to write this post to you earlier but I really needed some time to let this marinate a bit. Five doesn’t seem like a big milestone in the grand scheme of things; it’s no 16 or 21 but it’s a huge transition from baby to big kid. It may seem stalkeresque and creepy but I have found myself the last couple weeks just gazing at you and taking you all in. You are now and completely a bona fide big kid and I can’t help but feel a little melancholy. Never would I have imagined that it would go by as fast as it has. It sounds so cliche but it’s true when someone tells you about how fast time flies when you become a parent. If you ever become a parent, you will understand immediately.
For your birthday, we decided to take you to Disneyland for a breakfast with the princesses complete with your very own Princess Sophia dress which will also double as your Halloween costume because you refuse to take it off and you will most likely still have it on by the end of the month. Although the condition of the garment may be in question. Perhaps you’ll go as a zombie Princess Sophia?
I apologize if I robbed you from a lavish princess-themed party with all your closest friends and classmates. The problem at hand is party planning is exhausting and expensive. Not that Disneyland is not expensive but you remove the part where you’re dead exhausted from planning and instead focus on being exhausted from walking and standing in lines all day. Wait, why was Disneyland the better choice? Thankfully you didn’t appear to mind the least bit and embraced the idea of heading down to Disneyland with open arms. I’m not sure if it’s the age or you were really embracing the princess attitude but you were definitely sassy half way through the trip, demanding all sorts of things and when we didn’t comply, you gave us your best child-in-revolt attitude. I predict the teenage years are going to be something special.
Disneyland was a successful trip if I don’t include your brother’s issues. You know the park well enough now that you know how to handle the day without a nap and for the most part, you know which rides you want to tackle and which characters you want to meet for the millionth time. On our last trip, I was successful in tricking you in to going along with me on the Tower of Terror ride and I was determined to complete my mother-of-the-year run by trying to sneak you on Splash Mountain. Somehow you sensed I was up to something. Perhaps it was my giggling I couldn’t contain and my constant reassurance that ‘no, this ride isn’t scary – it’s just a slow log ride with singing animals.’ You immediately started screaming and grabbing at the rope. I’m dragging you down the line as you still have a firm grip on the rope all the while I’m try to calm you down while you hear people screaming in the distance as their bodies are flung down a waterfall. Luckily for you, the ride had just closed down as we approached the front of the line. Don’t worry, I will make up for this in the near future.
I would say my absolute favorite moment of the trip with the exception of your dad dressing up like Waldo and having random people shout at him that they ‘found him’ was the moment you met your beloved idol, Princess Sophia. The smile on your face could not have gotten bigger without your face splitting in two. That moment right there solidified my decision to take you to Disneyland as opposed to a big birthday party here at home. It was so wonderful to see you so happy as your brother was determined to feel the exact opposite while sulking in the stroller.
I’ve been in this parenting business now for five years and every time I feel like if I can just get over this parenting hurdle I find myself in, that things will surely get easier. Turns out, things just get more complicated and problems become more sophisticated. Sure, your problems are vastly different than Miles’ problems. You’re screaming at me for more independence while your brother is throwing a tantrum because his foot fell asleep again. You were never as whiny as Miles, thank God, but I do remember thinking to myself that if I can just get past whatever wrinkle we were working through, things would be easy-peasy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work out that way. Instead of very juvenile problems, I now find myself in wordy battles with you where I hear lots of, “Mom, trust me, I know what I’m doing” and “Mom, you’re not listening to me” and my favorite, “Mom, I need to have a little talk with you.” When did you become so mature and when did my actions suddenly call for heart-to-heart discussions?
I roll my eyes a lot at you but your Dad is adamant that you are the spitting image of myself. He claims your sassy sarcastic demeanor is nothing more than a mirror image of my own behavior. Good God, if this is how I really act then I must apologize to you and every other person I have had direct contact with in the last thirty something years. I enjoy a strong independent female character but this behavior makes basic day-to-day interactions a complete bitch.
Despite your snarky attitude which can drive me mad, you also have other traits that I absolutely adore. You are still a very affectionate person. In fact, I have to remind you to ask others if they would like a hug first before you grab them in creeper fashion and hold on to them with a death grip, leaving the recipient feeling rather uncomfortable. I in turn, have become very accustomed to this. When I read stories to you, you still play with my hair, something you have done since you were a baby and you still demand several hugs before bedtime. How can I say no?
You are currently enrolled in a soccer class and it’s pretty clear that you are not at all interested. I don’t mind that you dislike soccer. In fact, I’m rather pleased. It’s not that I don’t want you to excel in a sport but those soccer parents – ack! I love the fact that as the kids are running around on the soccer field trying to take the ball from one another, you are standing in the back practicing your pirouettes. Clearly you’re more interested in the performing arts.
You have also become quite the little storyteller. You begin to tell us these stories and we know you can go on and on for a solid fifteen minutes plus. The other night, you had so many stories that I asked if you could tell it to me next to my desk so I could type it up. This is your story:
Once upon a time there was a little girl catching a pink rock silver. And then her mom and dad came to see it and there was a heavy boulder lifter to lift the ‘A’ up. She had a little baby and there was a sky. There was a sky blowing in the wind and she tied herself up together with the breeze. Her name was Olivia. She made it by herself and she was all alone with her family. She had no reason but to catch another thing. Do you know what she caught? She caught the World and she breathed in the sunlight. She was a princess and she lit up the world. For no reason, she glowed in the dark. Nobody knew she sparkled around her room. There was something new. It was big, it was beautiful, it was a big cave. It was pink and it was rainbow. It had all the colors you could ever see. She had an idea with her family. She tied string together and she tied it around a boulder lifter. When she tied it around the boulder lifter, she turned it into a new rock. She had a new idea. She wrote something and she wrote everything she did and her heart as well. And that’s the story. The end. Solid gold, baby.
In addition to a love for performing arts and storytelling, you have also taken a liking to helping dad with winemaking. We took a daytrip last weekend to help dad pick the last of the Merlot grapes and you really embraced the whole experience. Your dad is beyond excited and I can only imagine what dreams he has brewing in his head. You might be excited to help or perhaps it’s just a ploy to get your hands on the purple stuff sooner than most. I wouldn’t put it past you to have such a well-conceived plan already – you are my child after all.
I have achieved very few moments as a parent where I can declare victory over matters unless you count moments when you go to school in regular clothes and not pajamas. The other night at dinner, I had a true victorious moment. These moments are so rare that I think I would have a better chance at catching a flying pink pony. It was another dinner where I know that unless I put macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets in front of you, you will push the plate aside and claim you are not the least bit hungry. Since I refuse to make two different dinners, I accept the fact that you will go to bed with no dinner because we are both that stubborn. I was prepared to go through our dinner routine when I placed in front of you a pasta with kale pesto sauce. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a five year old girl, stuffing her face with green pasta, devouring it faster than a grilled cheese sandwich covered in french fries, asking for seconds. My eyes widened, I shed a tiny tear, threw down my napkin and did a Happy Gilmore gallop around the house shouting, YAHOO!! This is what my life has become – trickery and loud boisterous gloating and I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world.
Time has definitely gone by fast these last five years but they have been wonderfully exhausting. It’s pretty miraculous how much I have aged these past five years although I put more of the blame on Miles who sucked out just about every last bit of my soul. I can’t help but laugh a bit when I hear new mothers claim how they will never be mad at their children or better yet, never yell at them. My Olivia, if you ever become a mother, you will understand the job laid out in front of you. It will seem impossible that something so little, pure and adorable can at the same time cause so much mental anguish but being a parent is a roller coaster. There will be times that you will absolutely love being a parent and there will be times that you will wish that your child passes out in a closet so you can finish watching a very important baseball game in peace. True story. I have had many guilt-ridden screaming matches with you and I’ve had very intimate moments of complete love and wonderment with you. Parenting is a balance and many days are a gamut of emotions. You give it your best and you hope that with an insane amount of luck, you produce a decent human being. Despite our differences – or our exact likeness – I don’t feel like I need a lot of luck with you. You’re incredibly special in your own right and you will do what ever it is you want to do. Ride the wind my dear and let it take you to where you belong. I just hope for your sake, it’s a hugging festival complete with costumes, dancing, campfire stories and of course, wine.
Happy Birthday, my Olivia.