While I’m very behind in writing this post, my thoughts have been on it since you turned five years old at the end of March. You are now an entire hand old.
In the weeks leading up to your birthday, I noticed you looked like a big kid.
You’re no longer a toddler. That’s officially clear now. You’ve become more independent, getting your own water cups for yourself and L. You’ll even make yourself your own waffle with Nutella for breakfast. You get dressed and can use the restroom all by yourself. You’ve memorized most of the TV channels you’re allowed to watch!
With this independence, you want to help do dishes (yourself) and clean and vacuum the floors (yourself) and sometimes do the laundry (yourself). It’s so much easier for me to do these things myself, but I know you need to learn how to do them, so I’m trying to get better at letting you help. I’ve also started asking you to help me do things (like set the table). You’re a lot less willing to help when I ask, but now that I know you’re old enough to really help out around the house, you’re not going to get off the hook!
You still love Ninja Turtles and elephants and giraffes. Purple is still your favorite color. You’ve recently discovered the TV show PJ Masks, and have surprised me by insisting on watching Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins at lunchtime. You can draw and color for hours and are getting more interested in trying to spell words.
Manners, while they’ve always been important, have become more-so now that you’re five. Daddy’s been teaching you how to be polite by holding doors. I’m trying to teach you to look people in the face and say “Hello” or “Thank you” when a server hands you your food. We’re both trying to teach you that, while they are funny, belching and farting as a means to be entertaining are to be done at home. And definitely warrant an “Excuse me.”
I registered you for kindergarten earlier this month, a milestone that we’re both nervous about. For you, it’s a new school and new people. You understand that no one from preschool will be with you next year, and you don’t like that. For me, well, it’s a mix of everything. Will you really be safe is my biggest worry. Not far behind is the fear that our school system will make you hate learning. You’ve done so well in preschool, where most of your time is play-based learning. I worry about how that will change in the coming years, especially since you’ve complained about having to go to school every day this year.
You still love books and you’re starting to take up an interest in reading. You were really proud of yourself when you read “GO GO THOMAS” on the back of someone’s back pack the other day. I know you recognized “Thomas” because of the image of Thomas the Tank Engine, but you got the “GO” all on your own! When you ask what a word is I’ll try and help you sound it out. Sometimes I’ll ask you to sound out the letters (something you’ve been working on in school this year). You are quick to become frustrated and tell me your tummy hurts if you don’t get it on the first try though, so I’ve learned not to pressure you (for now).
You are a worrier, which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve known you’d be one since you were born and your forehead always seemed crinkled like you were concerned about something. Sometimes your anxiety affects bedtime – you need a rundown of the next day’s activities several times before settling to sleep.
I see so much of myself in you it can be scary sometimes. The quick temper. The anxiety. The hurting tummy when your anxiety rises. The bossiness with your brother. The assertiveness at home and the timidness at school and when we’re out. It makes me laugh and worry at the same time.
want need you to know that I do see your anxiety. I know your anxiety. I need you to know that I will do what I can to make sure you have the right tools to fight it. I don’t want you to end up like me, thirty-something and realizing that those very real aches or the restless nights were something that could have been lessened had someone known how to help me.
On your birthday, you asked me if you’d get to do the same TV questions I did with L. I had no idea what you were talking about until a couple days later. You wanted to do the the Birthday Interview with me, just as I had done with L. I’d totally forgotten, but you’ve still got your incredible memory. We sat down and I asked you the questions. Even after two years, some of your answers haven’t changed (you still love TMNT) but you also had a better understanding of some of them now, like what you’re proud of (being able to get his own water in his Camelback alligator water bottle).
We bump heads quite a bit, but I love you with all my heart, G. You are smart and funny and creative. You are an awesome big brother and son. I can’t wait to see how much you’ll grow in the next year.
I love you,