Every year, our kids dream up fantastical cakes they want to have for their birthdays. Cake decorating makes me break out in hives, so I’m really grateful I married a man with a gung-ho attitude towards birthday baked goods. Emma wanted a dog birthday cake, and Ryan delivered.
I have lots of feels about this fifth birthday of hers.
This is what I posted to Facebook: “The terrible twos are a myth, and threenagers are a cute joke. It’s 4-year-olds you need to watch out for… The FOURmidable fours… A FOURmula for fiasco… FOURtunately, those 365 days are over. Happy birthday to my now-favorite five-year-old who promises to have a fantastic, fabulous fifth year.”
The fourth year is SO HARD. It’s when that thirsty need for independence combines with a terrifying new ability for sophisticated arguing… and it’s all mixed in with a complete misunderstanding of how the world works.
Oh, but there’s that cuteness too!
Five seems to be a year when things level out. They’ve argued their best arguments, gained a bit of worldy knowledge of how things work, and… they start school!
I have big hopes for the fifth year, and so far, those hopes have not been misplaced. This is the first picture shoot Emma participated in that didn’t involve slouching, crying, frowning, and incoherent growling since she turned 4.
5-year-old Emma is passionate about leopards, hyenas, porcupines, doggies, and kitties. She loves to collect them, talk about them, and pretend to be them.
She is brave. She had a real fear of dogs for a while, and would avoid going to friends’ houses because of the fear. Then one day, she decided enough was enough, and told me she’s not afraid of dogs anymore! She will now pet dogs without too much hesitation. I wish I knew what motivated her, but I think she just had to get there on her own.
She is so loving. She can often be found snuggling and comforting her siblings, and she’ll even give me extra hugs when I’m sad. She likes to ask questions about how we’re feeling, and she remembers the answers. When she was 2, a friend of mine named Rose passed away, and Emma was there when I got the news. She was the one who hugged me as I cried, and for days and weeks after, she would ask me: “You sad about Rose, Mama?” She later received a stuffed puppy and named it Rose. As she gets older, that ability to see hurt and know just the right thing to say or do keeps getting stronger.
She is generous. Whenever she receives a treat, she gives part of it to her family members or best friend — even when it’s only one piece of candy, she’ll somehow break it into three pieces so she can share it with her siblings. If she and I are eating the last of the Oreos, she always insists we save one for family members who aren’t present. (She doesn’t seem to notice my grumbling as I put the last Oreo back to comply with her request.)
She’s a good reader, but likes to pretend she’s not. Often, she’ll tell me she can’t read something, but when I walk away I hear her sounding out the words with ease. I haven’t figured out what that means yet, but I think it has something to do with her version of that fierce fourth year.
She’s FUN. So much fun! She loves to play, and she loves to be around friends all the time. She has a hilarious sense of humor, and an awesome deep laugh that comes out of nowhere.
She is a delightful middle child, sometimes lost in the sandwich of her older and younger siblings, but always persevering to be the happy girl she wants to be (That is, when she’s not acting like a frightening 4-year-old).