A Whole Hand

She was one.


Then, two.


Next came three.


Followed by four.


And, now five.

img_9225It’s Millie’s fifth birthday today. She was once a baby and now she’s not. She’s five.

At five years of age, Millie’s favorite thing in life is stuff. Food also ranks pretty high up there but mostly it’s her “stuff” that she treasures most. It seems like such a distinctly Girl Thing (the boys aren’t like this) but Millie surrounds herself with little odds and ends from every corner and crevice of the house. She fills her bedroom with random cardboard boxes, an array of Lego pieces, torn slips of paper too important to toss, broken toys, extra blankets, costume jewelry, innumerable barrettes and hairbands, bread bag ties, instruction manuals, rocks, flower petals, stuffed animals, American Girl catalogues and an assortment of other flotsam that all takes up valuable real estate in her small space.

I’ve never known a child to be so content surrounded by so much chaos. But, Millie is. And, although we certainly try, I can’t fault her for her belongings. Millie has an incredible imagination and each of her treasures has a place in it. Her mind turns an Amazon delivery box into a three part play and a lowly piece of wobbly furniture becomes a fully stocked writer’s desk. She spends hours upon hours in her bedroom creating a world with all of her special things. Everything makes sense to her even if the rest of us find the accumulation of crap maddening.

Sometimes, when Bob and I check on her at night before heading to bed, we find she has relocated to the floor to sleep; a selection of her favorite items surrounding her head. Sort of like a halo made entirely of junk from the recycling bin. We try to tuck her in the best we can, removing the piece of cutlery from beneath her arm and the produce rubber band from her wrist.

A couple of months ago, I tried to get Millie to tackle her messy bedroom. As I stood there, chastising her for the condition of her room, she looked at me, pointed a finger in my direction and said, “But, Moooo-oooom. This is my fun zone.”

Indeed, Millie. Happy birthday to the biggest fan of fun I’ve ever known.

Finally Five

Charlie turns five years old today. Yesterday, he was only four, a BABY. Today he is five, Imminent Kindergartner.

Portrait of the young man as a birthday boy.

Portrait of a Young Man as the birthday boy.

Incidentally, it was Haircut Day on Easter (isn’t that how you celebrate?) and Charlie surprised us when he asked for a close cut. He has had long hair for a year or so – mostly because he was terrified of the buzzing noise the clippers made and refused anything more than my Edward Scissorhands-like approach to trimming his hair. However, seeing as he was almost five, he hiked up his big boy pants and asked for short hair when I plopped him in the chair. We had grown attached to Charlie’s long locks but after a consultation with Bob, who said it was Charlie’s call to make, I fired up the clippers and got to work. The very next day, Charlie came down with a mysterious high fever that has kind of put a damper on his birthday week. Naturally, Bob and I are assuming Charlie’s long hair gave him some sort of Samson-esque power, like immunity to illness, and now that his hair is gone, he has succumbed to more mundane problems.

Now, for a few things that Charlie, at five years old, enjoys:

1. Doc McStuffins. For awhile, we thought Sofia the First would usurp Doc McStuffins in the race for Charlie’s attention span and brain matter but Doc has maintained the top spot for several months now.

2. Engaging anyone that has time for a chat. When Charlie has exhausted our patience with detailed stories of farms and farming equipment, he moves on to absolutely everyone else. Walking your dog? Enjoying dinner out? Working the counter at the hardware store? You are all fair game. Yesterday, I explained kindly to the family next door just trying to mulch their flower beds that when they tire of Charlie’s elaborate discussions about tractors and Gators and combines, they could simply ask him to stop. Everyone is extremely patient, even when I can tell they’re devising an exit strategy in their head.

3. Lego bricks. But Charlie is only a fan when his older brother is playing with them. Charlie is also fond of anything Millie is playing with. The competition runs deep between those two.

4. Strawberries. I’m not sure Charlie will survive this spring strawberry season without turning into one giant berry. He finds them utterly delicious and will eat an entire cereal bowl’s worth for dinner.

5. Shooter guns. There was a point and time when Bob and I at least feigned concern that the kids were fascinated with weaponry. No longer. I believe some kids are born with the innate desire to pretend to shoot things. Charlie owns a few Nerf guns and a couple of old-timey style muskets and pistols. They are all over the house therefore, my main reason for despising our home’s gun culture is because I repeatedly trip over them.

6. Driving. Charlie has a natural affinity for driving and maneuvering. We noticed this when he quickly mastered navigating his play Gator in and around the house and garage. Bob has begun letting him steer when they park the car after work and Charlie just thinks it is the coolest thing EVER. And, the kid has skills.

7. Watching John Deere videos on YouTube. He could do this for hours. This requires supervision though, as some of the tractor-themed videos on that site can quickly veer off in other directions (read: women in bikinis).

Now, for something that Charlie, at five years old, doesn’t enjoy:

1. Anything related to school or writing or coloring or markers or drawing or reading or scissors or acknowledging in any way that school is going to happen this fall whether he likes it or not and his days of unschooled loitering outside will come to an end.

For the longest time, Bob and I have talked about how Charlie seems to be taking his time maturing. He was a lazy walker, a delayed talker, a late independent potty-er. Everything in his own time, on his own schedule. As the middle child, he seemed to cling to his status as “little guy,” never fully relinquishing the title of baby to Millie. Now, with a crisp haircut and the purchase of some sneakers that actually fit his feet, we went from toddler to BOY all in one day.


Congratulations, Charlie, on turning five. You’re a whole hand now!