Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On the Cusp of Five

With a little more than two months until she is officially five years old, Annie is, more and more, my big girl. Less frequent are the days where she whines and hits and yells and can't pull it together. More common are days - lots of them, in a row - where we do one fun thing after another, where we talk about anything and everything, where we kiss and hug and giggle spontaneously, where I am so glad to be with her.

She continues to astound me with what she knows and what she notices. We still play "Which is more, 18 or 43?" with various numbers in the car, and she still mostly gets them right. The other day, Annie turned to Jemma in the middle of a game and said, "Jemma, which is more, 1 or 3?" And I was amazed that she knew to make the game as simple as possible for her two-year-old sister.

She loves words and letters and knowing what things "mean." Driving through Eastown today, she pointed out the "lowercase e" and then started listing off things that begin with the letter E: "elephant, eggs, Elizabeth, . . ." and went on for about five minutes. She "reads" a few words on sight. She asks how to spell things like "Congratulations" to make a card for baby Arlo next door, sticking her tongue out of her mouth with concentration as she prints each letter with an orange crayon. She can tell time (just the hours) on a non-digital clock.

She flies around the sidewalk on her scooter and balances for what seems like minutes at a time, coasting between driveways. Just this week, after weeks of ignoring her bike completely, she abruptly decided that she wasn't afraid of falling down on it, anymore, and now she straps her helmet on and pedals furiously around the block on that, too. We went to the track this afternoon to run off some steam, and she had me time her running a lap. She ran a 400 in 2:17 (by comparison, it took me 1:27, only fifty seconds less), then wanted to do another one. Immediately.

She can crack an egg to help me bake. She chooses all her own clothes. She does the monkey bars all the way across without stopping and can pump on the swing with no pushes at all. She has plans for herself every day, ideas about where we should go and what we should do, and it is a great joy to stand back and watch her, my almost-five-year-old, embrace her life.

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