My baby turned five yesterday. We celebrated with a weekend stay at Mt Hood where we swam, hiked and played mini golf, often in the rain. All day we heard the phrase “It’s my birthday so I get to choose” or “It’s my birthday so I want to go this way”. It was at times cute, sometimes annoying, and thankfully only for this one day of the year.
Gifts included some new books, including this fast favorite and one that I remember from my own childhood, a marble run, Sirius Black’s wand (from Thomas), and the gift that I was most excited about, a Harry Potter Lego Quidditch set. Samuel asked for this lego set for Christmas and it had been discontinued. At the time, I thought about spending $40 above retail to buy it on Ebay but quickly decided that was insane. Fortunately, Amazon restocked them for about five minutes about three months ago and I was able to snag one at it’s regular price. I’ve been like a kid on Christmas waiting for him to open it ever since and he was just as excited as I had hoped he would be. An added bonus was the 2 hours that the boys spent playing with it, without arguing, after we got home yesterday. The gift that keeps on giving.
The gifts and the cake are all fun, but the best thing about birthdays for me is the opportunity it provides to reflect on the past year and think about how much my kids change in just twelve short months. This past year has been a big one for Samuel. In just one year he:
- Started Pre-K at a real elementary school where he learns Japanese.
- Played his first games of soccer and progressed from the kid who didn’t really want to play last season to one of the best players on the team in the Spring.
- Developed a love for reading everything he can and, most impressively, writing about 20 letters a week to various people. They all say the same thing – “I like you Mum, I love you Mum” or “I like you Dad…” – and they are wonderful.
- Learned how to spell certain words so that he now refers to me as M-O-M or M-U-M, spelling out my name when he calls for me, switching between Australian and American spelling.
- Developed a wonderfully clever sense of humour.
- Progressed from cranky a LOT of the time to only cranky some of the time – in fact this shift occurred over just the past few months.
- Grew about 3 inches. Suddenly, his pants are too short, his shoes are pinching his feet and his legs hurt from the growing pains. Time to go shopping.
- Gained a lot of independence. Now, instead of clinging to me until the very last moment when I drop him off at school in the morning, he greets his teachers and sits down to start the day with barely a backward glance. He can also buckle his own seatbelt (huge!).
Still, there are a few things that haven’t changed about Samuel – and I am holding on to them as long as I can. He still holds my hand, gives me the best kisses and hugs, sometimes needs me to help zip up his jacket, says he’s thankful that I cook him a great dinner almost every night, hugs his brother goodbye in the morning, says he loves me at least twice a day, shares incredibly observant and wise thoughts out of nowhere, and can usually be pulled out of a bad mood with a tickle.
He’s quite simply my favorite five year old.