Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just a Number, or Does it *Really* Matter?

In a few short weeks Samantha will be turning 6. 


I can't believe it.  A year ago at this time, I was thinking that the preceding year hadn't really netted any major milestones met, no major happenings to report, nothing I could really put my finger on and pinpoint, no "these-are-the-amazing-things-that-happened-this-year" things.  It was a pretty ordinary year, during which we did pretty ordinary stuff.  She was completing her final year of preschool, and while we were thrilled at how well she transitioned to 2 days a week of full-day private preschool in addition to 3 days a week of half-day public Special Education preschool, and how well she made "typical" friends, it was all still pretty regular stuff.

This year, that is definitely not the case.

I've been bowled over by what 5 has brought (the first 3 are more our own personal "letting-go" milestones):

  • The elimination of pull-ups at night (they were already eliminated for daytime) started two weeks before her 5th birthday. 
  • The removal of her bedrail, and the child-proof door handle in her room (we finally let go and realized that she's not a wanderer, plus she'd certainly need to be able to get to the bathroom if necessary!).
  • The end of the audio baby-monitor.  Several months ago it just stopped working.  Which was fine with us. 
  • Reading!!!!  And not just reading books at her age-level, but reading, voraciously, just about anything she can get her hands on, including 2nd grade-level books.  I've posted about this before, but my dream was that she'd be reading by the time she got to Kindergarten.  She was, a little bit, but for some reason, by the 3rd week of school, something just clicked and she began to read, naturally, unhindered.
  • Writing!!!!  She has beautiful (to me, at least) handwriting, and is now responsible for writing out her own birthday/thank you/Valentines/whatever cards (with verbal prompts to help with spelling).
  • Picking up a few chores here and there.  Ask her to feed the cats?  Set the table?  Clean up her room?  You got it!
  • And so many more.

But it's bittersweet, really.  I was sad when she turned 5 because it was such a huge moment of growing up.  For me, and for her.  My baby was no longer a baby.  Now, I feel trepidation towards 6 because of what the number itself means.  Well, what it means to me, anyway.  While Samantha is still 5, I can say, when someone asks, "Oh, she's 5.

Like it's an excuse.

Oh, how awkward I feel for saying that, but it lives in a little box in the back of my mind.  Yes, my child comes across as younger than she is.  So five is a convenient explanation.  And, on the flip side of the coin, my child, academically, is pretty amazing, surpassing many of her typical peers in a lot of things (I only say that to make the point in the next sentence).  So five is used to boost that.  The expectation at five is that she shouldn't be able to do those things, and saying, "Oh, she's five!" sounds super-impressive.  The expectation at six is that she should, and the number is no longer a source of marvel. 

Yes, it's just a number. 

Yes, I'm being a tad bit ridiculous. 
Yes, I'm incredibly proud of everything she does, regardless of age!

And no, I cannot believe she's almost 6 big girl.  How time flies.  How amazed I am at her, each and every day, and all that she's taught me about oh, so many things.  How much I treasure every minute I get to spend with her, looking at her, marveling at this beautiful creation we brought into the world nearly 6 years ago.


Rochelle said...

The reading goal is the same for my girls. I want them to be voracious readers! Sammi is a rock star no matter what age!

Penny's Peeps said...

Well, I am AMAZED at your precious almost 6 year old!!! Way to go Sammi!!! Love and hugs!!!

Anna Theurer said...

Excellent post, Becca. Age is just a number but I too find myself as using it as an excuse. Ellie is almost 3 and doesn't talk. At two, it seems o much more acceptable that she isn't talking. These are my hang ups that I need to let go of. Anyway, it sounds like Sammi has had a wonderful year! Happy birthday!

teal915 said...

She has definitely been ahead of Madison, who just turned 6 last week, in a few things. Samantha is doing so great. Is it terrible if I really wish that Kamdyn is like her : ) And I don't think anything you said was silly. I felt the same way with Kamdyn turning 2. I could say she was 1, and it didn't make her look at that small or delayed with not walking, but now that she's 2, it sets a pretty big gap.

Rob Monroe said...

Birthdays are such great reminders to look back and see just how far they have come! So glad you shared. :)

Alicia Llanas said...

she is amazing! and she has some amazing parents! i love to see her acomplish new things!

ready for the partyy??!!

Leah said...

What a great way to put this. From both sides of the coin. I'm already finding myself having to process the changes in my girl at each milestone (or lack thereof), and it is going so fast. I am so impressed by your beautiful girl. And by you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It sure has made my life brighter.

Lisa said...

I totally get it - I never thought about it until Cate turned 6 and I saw her 3 year old sister creaping up on her in height and skills that someday she will pass her in educational skills and possibly look like the older sister. I'm so proud of everything Cate has done but the older she gets the more the comparisons are inevitable.

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

birthdays make us reflect...and I think it makes me recognize how in a short time like a year can bring so many hoorays! how many look how far we have come...Sammi turning 6 is wonderful! and she should be so proud of herself! she is a ROCKSTAR! smiles

lovemy3 said...

Sammi is my inspiration that Hailey might be able do similar as her at that age!

Jenny said...

This was excellent...And I totally get what you are saying about the age thing...I love hearing what Sammi has accomplished over the past year...Really made me smile. I can't believe she is turning SIX soon!! This year really flew by...

my family said...

becca Im am guilty too..before W turned five when someone asked how old he was I was not apprehensive, I caught myself a couple of times since he has turned six when people ask how old he is I quickly say.....he just turned six, as if I need to explain. I get so mad at myself. So proud of this kids of mine why do I feel like I have to explain his age to others.

Yea sammi!...william loves books and is doing well with sight words hopefully it will really kick in this summer:)

ChaCHA online said...

Birthdays... a time for reflection, and this year, a time for getting rid of car booster seats. They change so much from year to year. It is fun to look back and see the progress they have made. Loved your reflections.

Meriah said...

wow-weeeee! 6!

yeah, I hear you. I feel the same way sometimes with Moxie. Her being one was, 'she's just one' and now she's TWO, so there is a different level of expectation. I know that's different from reading and stuff but it's on the same page.


Becky said...

She is doing so is wonderful how well she is reading and an inspiration that my Kristen will keep on progressing in that area too...

Happy Birthday to Sammi! Celebrate! :)