Now We are Six

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
- A.A. Milne
To my beautiful, smart, funny, joyous baby girl,
Today is your sixth birthday!  You have been talking about your birthday since, well, your last birthday. We threw a party for you on Saturday. You had so much fun running around with your friends and showing off your snake-handling abilities. It amazes me that you are afraid to eat pasta that might possibly have broccoli in it, but you have no qualms about having a python around your neck.
Your dad and I are so proud of you - of all that you are and all that you are becoming. We often wonder what we did with ourselves before you came along. We can no longer remember what we did with our time or our money prior to May 3, 2005. We are not up on current events because the TV is always tuned to shows like "Phineas and Ferb." We can't recall what it is like to order a pizza with toppings more exotic than cheese. Everything revolves around you, and of course we wouldn't have it any other way. The other day you roped your dad into playing Pretty Pretty Princess with you.  He doesn't particularly love wearing the plastic jewelry (he was a Marine, after all), but he does it for you. He tends to do stuff with you around the house, whereas I am more inclined to take you out and about. Without you, my social life would be a lot less colorful. We go to festivals and any other special event we can find. Sometimes, we just share a pretzel at the mall or go to the park and swing side by side. We're always doing something, my bouncy sidekick and I. I take advantage of it while I can, because before I know it,  you'll be a teenager who finds everything I do embarrassing, including my habit of breathing oxygen.
But for now, you are very much a six-year-old. At work I have your artwork on my cubicle walls; my favorite is a handwritten sign that says "I love you! Mommy! You are cute!"  The biggest change from last year is that you can read now. You read like the wind - I've heard you fly through four-syllable words without batting an eye. You've learned so much in school this year. You spend a lot of time "in the yellow" because of your tendency to socialize during learning time, but you seem to have absorbed the lessons somehow.
We can see your personality developing more and more. You're starting to understand the mechanics of humor and the subtleties of sarcasm. You still manage to get me with the "Guess what? Chicken butt!" joke at least once a week. You're very bright and articulate. We really don't have to simplify anything when talking with you.
You are simultaneously independent and dependent.  Well, I don't know if dependent is the right word. It's more that you're generally unmotivated to do a lot of things for yourself. We still have to get you dressed most of the time because otherwise, we'd never get out of the house in the mornings. I've offered to start giving you an allowance if you'd like to begin doing a couple small chores around the house. You declined the offer.  Speaking of clothing, you still want to wear dresses and nothing else. Sometimes you imply that you may start wearing pants and I always fall for it and buy you a couple pairs at the start of a new season. Then you refuse to wear them.
Watching you grow up is bittersweet. On one hand, it's nice to be able to let you play in your bedroom by yourself for a little while without worrying that you're guzzling Windex or something. On the other hand, where is the toddler who just yesterday, it seems, was watching Baby Einstein, pooping in the tub, and trying to eat dog food?  Not a day passes that I don't still feel extraordinarily lucky to be your mom, even when you tell me that I "never take you anywhere and don't even love you" like you did last week. You've got a flair for the dramatic, we've noticed.  However, I would not change one thing about you - not your unruly Medusa curls or your habit of using half a million squares of toilet paper every time you pee. For as long as you'll let me, I'll continue to hold you tight and kiss your marker-streaked cheek as I tuck you into bed. And then, I'll breathe you in while you're sleeping, that sweet newborn scent not so very far away. 
Happy birthday, baby. I love you so very much.


Zenseeker said…
Did you cry the entire time you were writing this? Very sweet.
Steph K said…
Stillwater-even if she didn't cry while writing it, I cried the whole time reading it.

Beautiful, Claudia.
Lisa said…
this made me cry... happy birthday sweet girl!
Angela Z. said…
More crying here too...beautifully said. My baby turns five soon and I feel the same way about him. Thanks for blogging...I always look forward to reading it.
Mary said…
AMEN. A is truly one fortunate girl. Don't anyone tell me adopting isn't the same (well except the birth itself but that's why it's called adopt;) as any other parents would feel towards their child and then some. I know how much she means to you, even if you don't write it I see it but reading it was beautiful....
Anonymous said…
I love watching her grow, too. She may be pint-sized in body, but her personality is huge. What a wonderful addition to our family. She has enriched this Meemaw's life tremendously. I love her more than words can say.
Love to my "little bits" on her birthday.
Kim H said…
I cried while reading it too! It's hard to believe it's been six years since we were all posting on BabyCenter about every little thing our babies did. I feel like I blinked and six years went by.

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