Happy birthday to you, my 5-year-old girl! You are sleeping soundly (even in bed a bit early) after a very exciting day, which began with getting your very first pet (Piglet the guinea pig!), donuts for breakfast, cake frosting for brunch, presents to open, and topped off with a birthday party at Monkey Joe’s.
I will recap these highlights in time, but right now I find myself focusing less on what we did this day and more on who you are this day.
When you were a tiny baby, when I was bleary-eyed and exhausted, when this parenting thing felt overwhelming, I remember thinking forward to age 4. Not that I was trying to hurry you along, but I imagined 4 to be a pretty perfect age – old enough to be tucked in to bed without a fight, potty trained and more independent, but young enough to still want your parents around and to be amazed about even the small things in the world. And I was right – FOUR WAS AWESOME.
Fortunately, I imagined 4 to be just the beginning of this golden period (I’m trying not to imagine when it might change, like perhaps in those teen years). If my imaginings continue to prove true, 5 should also be stellar.
And just who are you as you turn 5 years old? You are far too complex a human being to adequately sum up in just a few paragraphs, so I won’t try to include a comprehensive list. I’ll just share a few snippets of Camille, Age 5.
You are incredibly affectionate. You will often stop in the middle of whatever you’re doing and say, “Mama, I just love you. You’re the best mama in the whole world.” You have this hug you’ll give when I pick you up (which is getting harder to do the bigger you grow), where you’ll wrap your arms and legs around me tightly and squeeze like a boa constrictor. I don’t know exactly why, but you named it your “bug leg hug,” and it’s a heart melter every time.
You adore horses and barracudas. You are worried about the depletion of the rain forests. You want to be a veterinarian and a paleontologist when you grow up.
You are always listening and absorbing. Recently you pointed to an art print on the wall at a house we were visiting, a print I’d not even bothered to notice, and said, “Mama, I think that’s a Monet.” I had to read the fine print, but confirmed you were right. I had no idea you could recognize his works and style. A few days later, listening to music in the car, you said, “Is that a violin?” At first I said no because I didn’t hear it among the main instruments, but when I stopped to listen – really listen – I could hear it too. I called you a smartypants. And I meant it in the best way.
You want to travel around the world. You don’t like tree sap because it sticks to your bare feet. You love pickles. You do NOT like grill marks on your food.
Speaking of food, you’re a pretty good eater and a very inquisitive one, too. You like to know about the food on your plate – not just what it is but why it is. Those apples – what do they do for me? What’s in that broccoli that makes it healthy? Why can’t I have more macaroni – what’s in macaroni that isn’t good for me?
And you really care. You’ll grab that “broccoli tree” as we call it and announce, “I’m going to have some fiber now.”
You are very sensitive about many things, but about animals in particular, which is why I find it interesting that you have no problem (thus far) with being an omnivore. The other day at dinner, you looked at the meat on your plate and asked, “What is this?”
“It’s pork,” I told you.
“But I mean, what did it come from?”
Pause. Your Daddy and I looked at each other, silently determining the best way to tell you the truth. You finally broke the silence yourself.
“Is it pig meat?” you asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Oh! Good! Yummy protein!” you exclaimed as you dove right in. Well, that was easy!
Some things you love:
Sand Gnats baseball games
The colors pink and purple
Being with friends
Wearing dresses (that don’t tie in the back)
Adding eyelashes and hairbows to all the animals you draw
Some things you don’t like:
Getting water in your eyes
French fries and most potato-based food
Bugs in the house
When your hands or feet get dirty
When the squirrels eat our pears
If your ceiling fan or clock is turned off
Some words to describe you:
But most of all, you are you. You are your own Camille. Wonderful, lovable, amazing Camille, and I thank God you are in my life. Happy birthday to you, my love.