In other words, this is one of those updatey posts, and you will be forgiven if it is not as fascinating to you as it is to me. (But don’t TELL me it’s not fascinating — I’ll hurt you.) (Also, Orange’s age + Apple’s age = Raisin’s age, and that’ll be true next year, too, provided that I leave off the half and just say they’re three. Isn’t that AMAZING!? No? Okey-dokey then.)
Raisin will be five years old tomorrow. I was going to write a weepy sentence about how I can’t believe that she’s going to kindergarten in the fall, but she’s been so ready for such a long time that it doesn’t feel true anymore. Raisin flies up daily on the wings of fantasy and rapture, and just like Anne Shirley, her crashes into the depths of despair are similarly dramatic. One minute, she’ll be doing a crazy excited dance because I’ve promised that she can go outside after school, and the next she’ll be sobbing on the couch because I will not let her wear a dress that is 3 inches too short. She is enthusiastic and bright — sometimes her ideas come so quickly that her mouth can’t quite keep up.
Raisin notices and remembers everything. This is a trait that comes in handy when I can’t remember where I left the remote, but not so much other times. An example: I recently said something like, “Well, that’s just GREAT!” when someone spilled their juice and we were already running late for preschool. “It’s not great, Mommy,” Raisin responded.
“You’re right,” I said, “Mommy was being sarcastic.”
I use sarcasm all. the. time. I know this because Raisin now tells me each time I say something sarcastic, and she is always right. Also, as an added bonus, I have just taught my 5-year-old how to be facetious. Wonderful. (Mommy, you’re being sarcastic again!!!)
Raisin, I want you to know that I tell this story because I’m proud of how quickly you learn new things and put them into action. It’s a funny story, I think, because somehow Mommy never quite remembers just how smart you are. You are always willing to explore uncharted territory, always excited about each new day and the adventures it brings. Your energy exhausts me sometimes, but mostly it keeps me going. Finding activities and ideas worthy of your enthusiasm is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy, and I can’t wait to see what you do with all the experiences kindergarten is going to bring.
If Raisin is an Anne Shirley, or maybe a Jo March, Orange is my Beth. (Although blessedly not so “poorly” or whatever the 21st century equivalent is.) Orange has a sweet disposition, a ready sense of humor, and a playful nature, none of which 95% of people she encounters will ever see. Only in places she knows, with people she’s met several times, does her real self come out. People who see her very little are always commenting on how suspiciously she looks at them. (Good for her, I often want to say, but don’t.)
When she is comfortable, Orange is one of the most compassionate kids I know. She takes very tender care of her dolls. She knows just how much it will please a mommy or a grandma to get an extra hug or snuggle. She makes up sweet little songs. The Jellyman and I are almost glad when she throws a tantrum or insists on having her turn, because so often she is willing to accommodate anyone, anytime.
Orange, if left to her own devices, would take life at much slower, steadier pace than either of her siblings. I hate that I am always rushing her, so if anyone has suggestions about how one mom can keep three kids out of traffic when one is dancing obliviously, one is 50 feet ahead because he sees a truck up there, and one is 10 feet back watching an interesting cloud, please let me know. I’m thinking something involving a giant butterfly net….
Orange, I am so proud of how brave you are. Mommy is always, of necessity, dragging you into situations that are new and uncomfortable, and you always go. In the last 6 months, you have learned to do and say so many new things — you’ve made a huge, flying leap from babyhood into little girldom, and you are handling it all with considerable grace. I love the rare moments in our family’s crazy life when we can all slow down, because that is when you really get to shine, and it is something well worth watching.
There are no characters in my beloved girly literature to whom Apple compares. A boy Ramona Quimby, maybe? Or Superfudge — that’d be a good one. Apple’s favorite shoes are his “running shoes,” because like Forrest Gump, he’s been running since he figured out how. Yesterday we took the kids to the zoo. It’s a big zoo, and the kids missed their nap, and yet Apple ran through the entire outing. I have no idea how that’s possible — you’d think we fed him on a steady diet of Red Bull and Mike & Ike’s.
Apple dives into life headfirst. Literally — the Jellyman and I have both sustained numerous gut injuries because the kid’s head is so hard. “Sandbox!” he’ll yell, and take off in that direction. “Truck!” he’ll shout, and he’ll be gone again. I have to turn getting dressed into a game in order to keep his interest, but this often backfires when he gets too excited about it and takes off running in nothing but a diaper. (Or worse, when he climbs out of the bathtub while I’m not looking, and streaks through the house leaving wet footprints everywhere.)
Apple has the most contagious, mischevious grin I have ever seen. He knows you want to be part of his fun — why wouldn’t you, really? — so he flashes the conspiratorial smile, and suddenly the whole room IS in on his game.
Apple, you, too have made a huge leap in the last 6 months. Your words and abilities have finally caught up to your spirit, which must be such a relief to you. Mommy loves to watch you racing through life — I just wish I could keep up with you! I am so glad that there is just enough baby left in you that you still want Mommy when your racing finally wears you out.
As I’m writing this, I keep thinking of all the ways that it’s wrong. There are so many examples of Raisin being sweetly dreamy, of Orange being silly and bouncing off the walls, of Apple being shy and quiet. They are fun, crazy, indescribable, healthy, amazing, beautiful kids, and I am one very lucky Mom.