Nearly-5-year-olds say an awful lot of funny things in one day. In my house each day, I am favored with an awful lot of funny things times three… or sometimes four. It’s not that I have multiple nearly-5-year-olds running around my house. It’s just that my one-and-only nearly-5-year-old finds it necessary to repeat her funny sayings and mannerisms over and over and over… and over again.
“I was like…” is the most oft-repeated phrase tumbling out of her mouth each day. Most of the things she says are funny the first time around. And then, the teenage “I was like…” makes me chuckle. But that’s where the funny stops. Only she doesn’t understand that.
Her “I was like…” phrases aren’t the only signs that she’s rapidly growing up. Yesterday, I walked by her bedroom and saw a sign taped to her door with stickers that spelled out, “I don’t want you.” Only, she ran out of “As” and “Ns,” so she compensated by spelling, “I don’t wqt you.”
“What does that mean, Lydia?” I asked her.
“Oh, I ran out of stickers, so what it’s supposed to say is, ‘I don’t want you to put me to bed,’” she matter-of-factly explained.
“Huh,” I said, thinking how we wouldn’t miss the beginning of our favorite shows due to prolonged bedtime routines anymore.
But still, I couldn’t be sure that she was ready to give it all up.
“So Daddy won’t sing a song with you anymore?” I asked.
“Nope, I can sing the song to my stuffed animals,” she explained. (Except she pronounced animals as AMinals.)
“Daddy won’t say prayer with you anymore?”
“No, I can say it myself,” she proudly said.
“I won’t come and snuggle with you anymore?” I persisted.
“No, I can snuggle with my AMinals!” she excitedly decided.
When bedtime came, she was true to her word. Ryan walked her into her room, snuck in a song, gave her a hug, and walked out the door. When he turned around to say goodnight, she was already kneeling by her bed, saying her prayer on her own.
He came downstairs and sadly said, “Did you see what the sign on her door says?”
“Yep, we’ll see how long this lasts,” I answered, having already made peace with, and even welcomed, her grown-up decision.
My sensitive husband, who had just spent the night holding her hand while pretending to be scared of fake witches and ghosts as we made our way through a corn maze, wasn’t ready to make peace with our nearly-5-year-old acting more like a 15-year-old. Very reluctantly, and with much sadness, he allowed her to have her independence last night.
But this morning, at 7 a.m. sharp, he was rubbing her back to gently wake her up. When she stirred, he scooped his little girl up and carried her downstairs to breakfast, savoring each moment that her sleepy head stayed snuggled on his shoulder.
And after breakfast, acting every bit of her nearly five years instead of the 15 years she wishes she had, she asked him to snuggle with her. He made absolutely no hesitation.