I can’t believe it, seriously. HOW is my little girl five? I know it’s cliche but it literally seems like yesterday that I sat in our dark, old apartment back in LA and stared at this tiny infant, this miniature person, trying to figure out how I was going to take care of her, and wondering “what the hell have I done”. Because let’s be honest, being a brand new parent is terrifying, and I’m relatively sure that there are few parents out there who don’t have a momentary, if ever so fleeting moment of “ohhhhhh shit, this just got real”. I couldn’t even fathom how I would survive the next five days, let alone the next five months, but here we are, five years to the day that Miss C turned my world upside down, and it’s gone by so incredibly fast. I get teary when I think about her turning another year older….something about it is so very bittersweet. I want her to be my baby forever, I want her to always allow me to cuddle her, to play with her hair and read her stories. In the same way that I could not fathom survival in the first days and weeks of her birth, I can not fathom her not being my sweet little bug. Last night we laid in bed after her story, and I turned on her lullabies (I cuddle with her in bed until she falls asleep), and I almost started crying. I wish I knew why it made me so sad, that she will never be four again; all that I know is that being her mom is the best thing that I have ever done, and that I could not be more grateful to her for the lessons she is constantly teaching me.
Being a parent is a constant dichotomy – you are so proud of their growth and their accomplishments and yet you are so saddened by their growing older. There are plenty of hard days. Days where she is defiant, or cranky, or just plain difficult. There are lots of moments where I question my own parenting (is she watching too much tv, is she eating the right foods, is she involved in the right extra-curriculars, is she at the right preschool). The hard thing is that there are no manuals or how-to’s, no directions on how to raise a well-adjusted, happy, confidant, smart kid. We just all do our very best, try hard, and do a lot of crossing of fingers.
On her birthday, I like to write about what Miss C is like so that I don’t forget, and so that one day if she wants she can read about herself at various ages. I like to write to her in the first person, so bear with me on that one. It seems more personal.
Sweet Chloe bug. Today you are five, one year older and a million years wiser than last year. Sometimes you astound me with the thoughts you have, the way in which your little brain works. You are smart, and funny, and empathic. You care a lot about how others feel and you want to ensure that they are included, that they are not sad…you are also ‘spongy’, you feel things deeply. Sometimes your feelings can be easily hurt, or things feel more unfair than they should, and this is because you have such a big heart. You feel the world.
You love macaroni and cheese (STILL, lol), sometimes with frozen peas and sometimes without. Grapes, watermelon, strawberries. Chocolate ice cream and carrot cake are both on your list of favorites. You prefer that your cupcakes have less frosting than more, and you’re a huge fan of pancakes. Some days you like asparagus and others not so much. You LOVE Taylor Swift and sing all of her songs. This year for Halloween you even dressed up as her. In a sea of princesses and super heroes, you chose to be a rockstar…and this my love is who you are. You do what you want, regardless of what those around you are doing. You don’t go with the flow, you have your own ideas about what you like. This year for your birthday you asked for a Transformer, a race car….Ninja Turtles and a Batman toy…and of course a baby doll since Charlie decided to eat the feet and hands off of all of yours once we moved. You also want a drum set, and just started piano lessons which you are super excited about. When we went to Guitar Center for a new Ukelele for you, you HAD to sit at each and every drum set and play them. You have a great ear, which makes singing and music easy for you – your grandpa Gene had a good ear and so do I – and I love that even as a tiny person you have always been able to hear the notes and sing on pitch. You are still absolutely obsessed with animals, you want a lizard, a pony. You adore Daisy cat and behave like Charlie is your brother – constantly playing with him and then telling on him when he is “bad”. This year you caught a frog all by yourself, and I was so proud. You are fearless when it comes to creatures: feeding goats, looking for bugs, no matter what the insect or animal (except for bees, flies, and spiders of course) you are totally into it.
You’re still a teeny thing, you wear your 2T and 3T tee shirts to bed at night, and are still in T3 pants. Your hair is curly and beautiful, and you love swimming. Such a water baby – if you could you would spend your entire life swimming. You tell silly jokes, make goofy faces, you like to throw up “peace” signs when we take pictures of you. You love to give hugs, when we come to pick you up from school you must hug at least the four people standing nearest you. Never lose that, babe. Never lose the openness and freedom with which you love other people, it is one of the many beautiful things about you. People often comment on your good manners and you always get a smiling sticker from school for being good – although at home you enjoy not listening and just being a kid – testing limits and boundaries and pushing daddy and I to past the brink of insanity on occasion. You would sleep in our bed all night if we let you – instead you wake up around 2 or 3am most nights to totter downstairs and climb into bed with us. You always get in the middle, and you always turn sideways. Somehow, even with a king-sized bed, I end up sleeping on the edge of our bed. You hold my heart in your tiny (often somewhat grubby) little hands – you stroke my head and push my hair behind my ears when we cuddle, and you tell me you love me to the moon and back. When you’re at school, I miss you, and when you’re at home occassionally I wish you would go back to school (but only when you’re super cranky), haha. I love you more than you can fathom, more than you could ever know. You are the light in Daddy and my life, you are the stars, the sun, the moon, and all of the satellites in between. You are the most wonderful thing we have ever done and will ever do. I love you so so much. Happy happy birthday, sweet baby girl.