Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jemma is Five

Dear Jemma,

Just typing that title - FIVE! - makes me amazed, proud, and sad. Nobody here can believe that you are five whole years old, and yet you are. We have been blessed with five whole years of your delightful, inquisitive, silly, sweet, social, confident self, and we feel so lucky.

Right now, you're at school, which you continue to love, and you talk almost daily about how much you can't wait for next year's school, when you'll be at the same school as Annie. You have learned SO MUCH this year: you can write all your uppercase and most of your lowercase letters; you can read short words; you can spell short words; you can add little numbers; you are fascinated by science; you are intrigued by maps, globes, and Google Earth; you love to read and be read to; you have learned to swim and scoot on a big-girl scooter and do the monkey bars all the way across, both forwards and backwards. We are so proud of you.

At home, you do puzzles, draw pictures, beg to play checkers on the iPad, play with the bazillion stuffed animals and babies we have, and want to be doing anything Annie is doing. You are usually the last one up in the morning and now that it is winter, you prefer to start the day by sitting on the heat vent in your room before you come out to eat breakfast. You can dress yourself completely - even all your snow gear! - and you never, ever, ever want to wear jeans. You want to grow your hair out long again. You love to have your toenails painted.

You are silly. You tell knock-knock jokes that make no sense, you love to watch silly cartoons, and when we read a funny book you've read before, you start giggling even before the funny part happens. Last night you had me and Annie both belly-laughing in my bed just anticipating what Tacky the penguin was going to do.

You are tender-hearted. Even during the limited amounts of time when you watch even the most innocuous television, you're known to run from the room or cover your eyes if anything even sliiiiiightly uncomfortable or loud or scary or awkward is starting to happen. Your compassion makes you such a good companion to our family, because often, just as the rest of us are at our worst in difficult situations, you'll save the day with a kind word, a hug, or by running to get some little thing (a glass of water, a book, a stuffed animal) to make us feel better.

You are enthusiastic. When you are excited about something or hear especially good news, you pump your arms triumphantly in the air and do a little wiggly dance of joy. The smallest things make you happy: dessert, time with beloved family and friends, a good song, a fun time sledding or ice-skating, a good story-and-snuggle session before bed.  When I read this quote this morning on my daily happiness calendar, I thought right away of you:
"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about" - Charles Kingsley
We still tend to baby you sometimes, call you Roo and Moppet and Snuglet, pick you up when you should really have two feet on the ground most of the time. But in spite of your status as the little one in this family, you have so much to teach us about how to be, and you have such a bright future. We are sure of it. We love you so much, and we have loved our five whole years with you in our family.

Happy belated birthday.


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