High Five / by Susie Lubell

Hi beautiful boy.

It's hard to believe but today you are no longer four and a half. You are five. All the fingers on one hand including your thumb even though it looks like a half finger. You are big.  No nap big. Booster big. Bike riding big. Sleepover big. Big enough to wipe yourself. Effective immediately. 

Sometimes I watch you interact with your older brother and sister and it's like a window into my own early childhood. I see your frustration when you can't get a word in at the dinner table. I see your sadness when we all appear to be (or actually are) ignoring you. But mostly I see your pure joy when you all play together. It must have been that way with us too. Me and my brothers. We must have played together when I was a little girl. It was so long ago and my memories are fuzzy but I like to think that five year old me was once adored by 9 year old and 11 year old siblings, the same way you are adored by yours. Gets me right in the feels.

This year you started a new preschool and it is the perfect place for you. You have so many good friends, all of whom were just at our house for your first ever birthday party rager. Your birthday is so close to Shavuot that we've managed until now to pass off our holiday gatherings as your birthday party. Stick a few candles in that cheesecake and call it a birthday, am I right? I guess not anymore. Indeed the party was a great success but I feel quite certain that we will never be doing that again. 

But because of you and your gan, I finally feel like a real part of this community. Because of you and all of your friends, I've made some friends of my own. When we first moved here, the parents of your brother and sister's friends had all known each other for years - since their kids were in daycare. Relationships were formed. Alliances made. I was always odd mom out. But with you, I'm in on the ground floor. Its a good place to be. 

Your favorite food group continues to be ketchup. You love dinosaurs and Curious George. Every morning you collect your morning hug from your brother. You have been known to produce elaborate performance art pieces that incorporate dance elements, synthesized music and storytelling. You like to bring all of your plastic animals into the bath with you although you are careful to only bring sea creatures into the water. The rest you place around the rim of the tub like some kind of blessing-way ceremony.

For your birthday you asked for only two things: a big bean bag for your room, like your brother and sister both have, and a doll. And not a baby doll or a Barbie doll. You wanted a doll like your sister's. A big girl doll with her own clothes. So I got you an American Girl knock-off. And now I do believe it's time to introduce you to Free to Be You and Me so we can sing William's Doll together. I'll do the Alan Alda part and your can be Marlo Thomas. 

If I had to describe you in one word it would be earnest. Everything about you in on the up and up. No manipulation. No cunning. It's what you see is what you get. Utter sincerity. That said, there have been a few times when you've claimed you won't be my best fwend anymore unless I give you an Oreo. And I admit, it hurts. Cuts to the core. Which is why I often hand over the Oreo because I just can't risk it. Best fwends fowevo. 

Love you mieces,

I am the King!

I am the King!