Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy 5th birthday, Ada!

Ada, bouncing at her birthday party
Welcome to the elementary school years, Ada! I'm so delighted to have my youngest child turn 5. You've grown a lot in the last year, with learning to read being perhaps the biggest milestone. Academically, you're a smartypants. You can read with a fair amount of fluency, you can count up to 199 and you're perfectly capable of doing basic addition and subtraction problems. You recall the plot points of every book you've ever been exposed to and can sit, rapt, for movies and theatrical productions.

So who are you at 5? You're affectionate and silly. You love singing, dancing and gymnastics. You build impressive Lego creations, fashion stylish skirt-centric outfits and refuse an ever-growing list of foods. You love to help with household chores, be it cooking, cleaning or laundry, and while you like to earn an allowance, you don't quite know what to spend your money on.

When asked what you'd like to be when you grow up, you say "nail salon," or "clothes store lady."

Although you're always on the lookout for slights and imbalances, you love and look up to your big sister Zoe. You have friends at camp and preschool and little girls are forever approaching me with requests for playdates with you. Your affectionate nature has made you a darling of adults, too. Your willingness to climb on laps and play the sweet card have my friends and extended family in your thrall.

But as generous and thoughtful as you can be, it isn't all rainbows and unicorns in Ada land. You continue to challenge us with your temper tantrums and willful misbehavior. A rare day passes by without one tearful meltdown or banishment to your room, but I'm hopeful that this is a waning trend--one that will go the way of the fraught bedtime and midnight fears, two irritating phases you've since outgrown. In the meantime, the happiest of birthdays to you.