Friday, January 24, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear M,
You turned five last month. 

Kinda blows my mind, actually.  I mean, five is a big deal. Your life will change quite a bit over the next year.  "Big school" is next. :)

You've had a pretty fun year. You're already referring to past events (those as recent as a couple of months ago) as "Mommy, remember when I was four years old..."  Ha!

Here are a few cool things that happened "when you were four years old..." 

You enjoyed the Miami sun.

You got stitches for the first (last?) time.

You learned to swim.

And you even met the President.

I hope you remember some of these cool things.  But if not, that's the purpose of this letter.

So who are you at this age?

Well, I could use a lot of words to describe you:  you're silly, talkative (very talkative), inquisitive, stubborn, persistent, sweet...all these things rolled up in one.  You're a lot of fun, that's for sure.

Some random things about you right now:

Your FAVORITE FOODS are pizza, spaghetti, broccoli cheddar soup, and pancakes. You hate French fries, mashed potatoes, and chocolate. You still eat the same oatmeal for breakfast that you started eating at six months old!  It's so bland (has nothing but oats and tiny fruit flakes in it), but you ask for it every morning.

Your FAVORITE TOYS are animals of all kinds - stuffed, plastic, etc. - and you have a gazillion of them. You rarely play with dolls -- you'd rather have snakes, lizards, and dinosaurs. Tickles me.

The toy you picked out on your birthday: marine life squirt toys for the tub (shark, whale, stingray, etc.)

PHYSICALLY you're still on the tall/average side. You are in the 75th percentile for height, and the 50th percentile for weight. I look at your legs sometimes and wonder if you were switched at birth -- they're so long.  You'll be taller than me by the time you're eight years old. 

SCHOOL (preschool) is very interesting for us right now - and not always the good kind of interesting. You're the class clown and social butterfly rolled in one.  You care more about chatting with your friends than giving your teachers your full attention. That lands you "in trouble" a few times a week, but we are working on it.

Thankfully it hasn't impacted your learning.  You don't miss a beat. Your school once told me that even if you talk or do your own thing during a lesson, and they ask you a question, you always know the answer.  As a teacher, I know that's as much a bad thing as it is good. While you may know what the teacher is teaching, the friend that you're entertaining may not. *sigh* We're working on it.

You're doing an amazing job reading. I predicted you'd enjoy reading because of your early interest in books, but your progress still kinda blows my mind. I bought you a few first-level reading books for Christmas, thinking they'd be great practice for you through Spring Break, but you zoomed right through those. Now you're picking up your Junie B. Jones books, and reading CHAPTERS with little to no help from me. Thankfully you still want me to read to you at times. I'm not ready to give that up.  Not. Ready.

You're doing great in math, too, though I can tell you don't love it as much as reading. It's my job to be sure that doesn't turn into a dislike for math (the way I felt about math all my life), so we do fun math stuff at home. So far so good.

While it appears right now that you will have an easy time in school, as an educator, I know this may not always be the case. So if you're reading this 10 years from now and you're struggling in geometry or chemistry or world history or whatever, we'll work through it. No worries. All I care is that you give it your 100%.  

As I mentioned, you're pretty SOCIAL.  You'll go up to any kid and ask them to play (even if they're bigger than you). You can be a tad bossy, but I'm hoping that means you won't ever be a follower. I may have been a bossy child, but my mom has always said that she's never worried about me in that way -- that I was never a follower. With age, I've learned when to follow and when to lead, and my hopes for you are the same.

I love that you are outgoing, and I hope you can continue to flourish in this way.

You have your FAVORITE PEOPLE - relatives you adore, many you wish you could spend more time with. You continue to say your best friend is your PaPa (DK's dad). I'm pretty sure you love him more than any of us. And always have - ha!

When we're home, it's more complicated. 

You like to SAY your daddy is your favorite, but your actions speak differently. I'm the one the one you want at night at bedtime, I'm the one you like to crawl next to in bed, and I'm one you like to wake up bright and early on weekend mornings asking for breakfast.  Wait...ha!

You're still pretty dependent on us at BED TIME. Every night, I'll sit by your bed as you go to sleep. Sometimes we'll talk in the dark, sometimes you'll tell me something you forgot to tell me about your day, and sometimes I'll just hold your hand.  Most nights, though, you just want to know I'm near.  So I'll do some reading on my iPad until you fall asleep. It's a sweet part of my day that I will cherish as long as you want it. Because I know 10 years from now, you will not even want me in your room. :)  You also crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night every night.  I know some frown upon the whole family bed thing, but I know you won't come crawl in bed with us 10 years from now, so I've chosen to cherish it today.

Last, but not least, your PERSONALITY is probably the most interesting thing about you.  You're a bit of a perfectionist, but you're learning to be patient with yourself and others.You love to laugh and sing and play. You're actually like your daddy in a way that when I'm upset with you, you make me laugh. And just like with your father, I have to fight the smile to prove my point. You're just a happy kid, and I love that. 

Please remember that we will never expect you to be perfect, but will always expect you to be kind and to always give your best.   And don't forget these three things I wrote you last year
  1. "If you keep God in your heart, there is nothing that will come into your life that you won't be able to handle." (Author Unknown)
  2. Be kind, smile, and treat people right. 
  3. "Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine." (Anthony J. D'Angelo)

We love you today and every day, Baby Cakes. You will always be my SUNSHINE


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