Alice turned five yesterday and it only solidifies for me that the parenting journey Peter and I (and many of our friends) are on is far from over.
When she was born, I remembered thinking “When she is five, it will be momentous”. I couldn’t conceive of her as being any older than five. It was the age in my mind that marked something final - not like the end of life or the end of days, just the end of something intangible.
Five is year that private Jewish pre-school will end for her; Can I get an Amen!? As sweet as that may sound, we are right back where we started with Owen. Before I know it, he will be wrapping Teffilin and my bank account will continue to look like a sad clown for the foreseeable future.
Five is the year that she will begin to read on her own. Eventually she will be able to read herself crappy books about shy bunnies before bed! Sadly, Just as soon as we are getting this gradual release from Alice’s mind numbing book choices, we have realized that Owen isn’t really speaking ( he knows he doesn’t have to because he is so handsome). We have been upping the book reading ante at night for our mute little stud muffin. He also likes books about shy bunnies. Ugh.
Why am I surprised by all of this you ask? You chose to have kids, and you are complaining about incredibly normal parenting activity. Sending your children to good schools and reading to them are literally the foundations of “good and sound” parenting practice and you are bitching about this? Lady, what is wrong with your crazy ass?
Glad you asked. I had this fantasy that Alice would turn five, and that morning she would wake up, walk downstairs in a flattering, well assembled outfit, have her hair and teeth brushed and say something like “Mom, I think I am ready to live on my own. Want to go shopping and talk it out over lunch?”. We would spend the afternoon laughing and reflecting on the last five years together. We would head to the closest realtor, and she would get her own place right down the street. It would be small, but comfortable. Doorman at the entrance, of course. I would see her all the time, but she would get herself to school and camp and all that jazz.
Again, remember, this is my fantasy. Not something I actually believed would happen, just something my limited imagination would let me dabble with. What I have discovered is that I don’t really like the day to day activity of parenting: dressing, packing, strollers, car seats, bath time, high chairs, bed time. I love my kids (obviously), but I don’t love the stuff that I am responsible for when I am “mommy”. I was kind of hoping that her turning five would bring less of that “you pick out my pjs” whining, and more of the “let’s go get a late dinner and take in that new Kate Winslet movie”. I am feeling ornery about my kids being so young, and I have so much of it ahead if me!
I know, don’t rush it! Don’t wish the days away! They will leave you before you know it. I know! I just can’t wait until the day when I am not picking up chunks of banana from the floor, wiping an ass, running upstairs to get a pair of socks that don’t make their toes feel “yucky”, or eating chicken nuggets off of their plates when they are done with dinner.
This must be why very rich people get nannies. Oh, now I get it. This is why rich people get nannies! Taking care if little kids sucks, so they pay other people to do it! Only took me five years, but now I get it.
Alice is an amazing little girl, and we made an awesome Gnome garden in her art studio, and I know that that is what I will remember about her turning five. It’s funny how we don’t remember the daily nuisance of it all, even though the days feel rich with it.
Happy birthday Alice. I can’t wait until we can grab some sushi together, and until then, I will work on loving picking out your pjs.