Sunday, October 27, 2013

Five Years!

Dear Peeper,
You are five years old today.

I can't believe it, but evidently, the Marketing Powers That Be are aware that there is a five-year-old little girl living here. Two catalogs arrived in our mailbox the same day last week: Barbie and American Girl. (Barbie went right into the trash.)

Let's set aside for a moment just how ridiculous this whole five thing is (because, after all, you were only born a few minutes ago, right?) and talk about how awesome it is, and how awesome you are.

I just read through my letters to you over the past year, and although the changes aren't so dramatic as they were the first couple of years, of course, it really did remind me just how much you've grown up in the past year.

I think the thing that stands out the most is how different you are about school this year. Last year, we had tears every morning until February, and this year, you just went skipping right off to class on the very first day. (Well, mostly.)

I felt awful last night when I realized that you thought you'd be going to kindergarten immediately upon turning five. Luckily, the kindergarteners are in your class, so there's really not much difference at your school.

Of course, you also said you were going to wake up and measure yourself first thing in the morning, to see if you're bigger, because you're five years old.

A year ago, you were protesting when anyone said that you were their "best friend," and now you often declare someone to be your best friend. I can think of at least three or four different little girls that you've identified at one point or another.

And I'd say you're right in all those cases; you are a very lucky kid to already have so many "long-term" friends whom you've know for as long as you can remember. Most of them, of course, are from MOMS Club, and also "Baby" J.

Of course, when you know kids that long, and spend that much time with them, you tend to interact with them almost like siblings, including that fighting part. Yeah, you're still doing that, although not as bad as it was a couple of years ago. You did get in trouble a couple of times at H's party yesterday, for throwing a ball at her, and whacking a little boy on the head with a nerf bat. So, that's one we're still working on.

Because I am me, and I discuss such things with you, and it's pretty funny to hear you talking about nursing, baby wearing, childbirth, and the like.

Yesterday, you were pretending to be Mr. Monkey, and Mama Monkey had just delivered twins and she wanted to wear the babies. You had a scarf with her, so I said, "Do you want me to wrap her up?" and you said, "No, I think a sling would be more effective."

You couldn't find your Peeper-size sling (found it later) so I did wrap them (well, I wrapped mama, the babies are invisible, of course), and then they wanted out "because they need goody." I suggested they get goody in the wrap like Baby N, but they wanted out. As you were walking off, you said to yourself, "No damn bot... No darn bottles."

I don't know what was funnier, the use of the word "damn," the self-censorship or the sentiment!

You watch a cartoon called Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Holly is a fairy and Ben is an elf. The Wise Old Elf is always saying "...because we're elves!" which is followed by a toot on a horn. So, we often do parodies of that line. The other day, your and I were taking about something, and I said (with the same inflection they use, "Because we're mammals!" and you replied "Slurp!" which is evidently a nursing sound effect.

Which, of course, you know all about, because you are quite the pro at nursing. One gets to be, after doing it for five years, you know. You still always nurse to sleep at night (but can go to sleep with Mommy or a baby sitter if I'm not home, although it's not a given), almost always when you wake up, often at some point in the night (I usually end up sleeping in your bed at least part of the night) and I'd say probably about half the time, at least once more during the day.

A year ago, I figured you'd probably have weaned by now, but you haven't and that's okay with me. When you're ready you will, and the fact that you haven't means that obviously, you still need to. So, here we are. You'll know when you're done, and you'll let me know.

Academically, you're really moving along with your pre-reading and math skills. You are getting better and better at decoding (sounding out) words, and have added some more sight words, but you are still a little ways off from it all really "clicking." It would probably help if I were to spend more concentrated time on it with you, and work on your "BOB Books" and phonics readers.

Lately, you've been asking to do "Ellie School Home With Mama" a lot, and you just zip right through those workbook pages. I'm thinking maybe you need a Kindergarten level workbook to challenge you a bit more.

The fine motor / tracing pages are still quite a challenge to you. You're making strides there, but still have lots of room for growth. Your name writing, I think, is actually less legible than when you first started, but your drawings are much more likely to look like what you tell us they are. This week, you brought home a drawing of Santa on his sleigh, with a bag of gifts, and a reindeer, and once you explained it, I totally saw it.

You're also getting better at counting with one-to-one correspondence, although it's still tricky for you. You can do some simple addition and subtraction, too. You seem to have a few facts memorized (such as 2 + 2 = 4) and can figure out other "+/- 1 or 2" problems when asked.

You love, love, love books and being read to. During Trick-or-Treat on Main Street, yesteraday, you picked out a book from a group that always gives out used books instead of candy. I said, "Wow, a book for trick-or-treat, that's cool!" and you replied, "That's cooler than candy!"

We recently finished the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and bedtime just isn't nearly as much fun now. I need to find another good chapter book for us to read, or better yet, another series to start.

You're still very interested in presidents and money and things along those lines. You also still love to dress up, and those two interests often go together; the Easter Bunny really got his money's worth out of that Lincoln hat and beard, and you like to turn your pirate hat into a George Washington hat, with the addition of a dishtowel powdered wig.

You also come up with some quite original costumes and characters; when you go into the sunroom (where your dress-up clothes live) we never know who's going to come out!

I don't know exactly what it is that we've done to avoid it, but you have very few ideas about what kinds of things are okay for girls or boys to dress up as.

If you do think that a certain type character is only boys, it doesn't stop you from pretending to be one, you just pretend to be a boy one. For example,  you don't seem to believe me when I say there are lady pirates, and will argue with me about it, even while wearing a pirate dress. "No! It's a pirate suit! I'm a boy pirate." Okay, suit yourself, Captain.

You actually tend to dress-up as and pretend to be boy characters more often, despite having a wide variety of costuming options. We're not really sure what that's about, but it only seems to apply to role-playing, not real life. You may protest wearing a dress by saying, "No! I don't like dresses!" and when I ask why, you say, "Because I'm Galoot, Jr! I'm a boy."

"Oooh," I say, "Well, does Peeper like dresses?"

"Yes," she likes dresses."

And then, if I suggest that since dogs aren't allowed at school, maybe you should pretend to be Peeper, and trick her teachers into letting you go to school, you're fine with wearing the dress (or ponytail, or whatever) for your "Peeper costume."

Yeah, I don't always get your logic.

And speaking of your logic, and such, let's see what other interesting things you've had to say in the past month or so:

Me: Peeper, don't color on yourself with that marker, we're taking family pictures tomorrow.
You: Can't she just photoshop it out?

Mommy: Oo, I feel a draft.
Peeper: Where? Where did you find a giraffe?

The other day, you kept unrolling paper towels for various reasons (mostly to keep the muddy footprints off the kitchen floor - by covering it with paper towels). At one point, you were holding a long strip of paper towel and I fussed at you about unrolling them. You walked over to me, and draped it over my head (powdered-wig-style) and said, "Here you go George Washington Grumpy Pants."

Earlier this week, you were screaming from your room, so I went to see what wass wrong. "What's the matter?" I ask. You were on your belly, on top of a pillow, with your arms wrapped around it. You said, "I'm trying to lift this pillow up!" Well, honey, I think I see your problem.

You: It's not on the shelf where I keep it.
Me: What's not?
You: My color box. It's a mystery to me, where it could be!

And it's a mystery to me how you could possibly be five years old, but you sure are.

Happy birthday, my love. We love you.


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