Yesterday Little became a bit less…well, little. He turned 5. 5! I’m not really sure why, but I loved referring to him as my 4-year old and I’m kind of having trouble coming to terms with this number.
It’s not that he doesn’t seem 5. In fact, on Big’s first day of school, a few parents and even the teacher tried to scoot Little into the 2nd grade classroom thinking he was one of them. He’s tall. He walks and dresses like a big boy because he’s desperate to keep up with his older brother (though for now he’s still happy to be walking in Big’s shadow most of the time). But he still seems a bit tangled in that awkward, but lovely place, between wanting to stay my little boy and wanting to become independent.
But according to the calendar (and him), he’s growing up. And every day the character who’s one great big walking contradiction makes me laugh and fills my heart with joy — when he’s not driving it into palpitations, that is.
I’m constantly learning from the way he approaches the world — physically and mentally, the way he truly cares for people, and the way he uses his wild imagination. Here are a few of the lessons he’s taught me recently.
Lesson #1: It is possible to be absolutely literal one second (like insisting that “a few minutes” of rest time is exactly three, and counting to 60 three times), and outrageously creative the next (like impressing even his highly critical brother by making up a really fun game called “Bad Guys and Invenidy” — yes, an entirely made-up word — to stay entertained in a hotel room).
Lesson #2: Sitting on the couch on your head can be a perfectly comfortable and logical choice. (As is somersaulting from one side of the room to the other.)
Lesson #3: I do hip hop all wrong. But that’s ok. Because when Little corrects me, he does it because he’s sincerely concerned — not annoyed — by my embarrassing lack of technique.
Lesson #4: Sometimes when a little kid begs for Turbo “fruit snacks” at the store, it’s not just to get a sugar fix. It’s because he thinks his Squinkie collection needs some new friends to play with.
Lesson #5: It’s ok to do nice things for people when nobody’s watching. I see it happen, his teachers see it happen, and I’m constantly in awe of his easy thoughtfulness when it comes to sharing and helping others. (Though that whole walking contradiction thing does come into play here when he wants to taunt his siblings, of course.)
I don’t know what the year ahead holds (though he did say he’d like to go to McDonalds, Chuck E Cheese, and Vegas while he’s 5), but I do know I couldn’t be happier to have a great seat on Little’s roller coaster as he happily rides (and jumps, and runs, and spins…) through his adventures in life.