Tomorrow you turn 6 years old, and my mind can barely grasp that. The things that you've dealt with in the past year are enough to throw anyone off, and while you've had your rough times, you've adapted remarkably well. You are bright, fun, silly, sassy, and energetic.
Your birthday last year came right as my maternity leave was ending from birthing a surrobaby; we took the day to celebrate, then that week I headed back to work, back to yoga, back to all the things that had been on pause in our life. Since then, life has really picked up speed.
You got dragged along on our endless house-hunting adventures, something that both excited and scared you. You were excited for a new house, with a little more room, and for going to school with all your daycare/preschool friends when Kindergarten started in the fall. But you didn't love the idea of leaving our house, the only home you'd ever known, and all our amazing neighbors. But you kept a good spirit.
We all know how that turned out. In August, we asked you how you felt about moving to Colorado; and you were game for the challenge. None of us could know all that it would mean. The excitement, the new experiences, and the loneliness and ache for our family and friends left behind.
Your Nonnie and Papa; Auntie Ro, Uncle Pat, GG and Casey; our neighbors Joe, Sue, Pat, and Kathy (as well as everyone else on the block!); your friends and teachers from the daycare/school you'd been attending since you were 12 weeks old. You miss them with a passion that bursts out of you sometimes, an amalgamation of sadness and anger and emotions inexpressible.
But there have been amazing parts too. You and I have so much more time together (both a trial and a blessing!), and we've gotten to do some amazing exploring out here in the West. You've become quite the traveler.
You also started Kindergarten! You were nervous, but so excited about the prospect, and you have done so well. While you sometimes say that all your friends are in Pennsylvania, we've been assured by your Kindergarten teacher that you have lots of friends in class, and that everyone likes you. You are picking up more and more sight words, and are great at sounding out. You love math, and are fascinated by animals, as well as other cultures and languages.
You took up swim lessons, and they've lived up to all I thought they would be for my little fish. You continue to love hiking, camping, and all those wonderful outdoor activities that are so prevalent out here.
At six you are completely into Legos: Star Wars, Scooby Doo, cityscapes, it doesn't matter, if its a Lego, you will build with it. Your favorite things to watch, read, and pretend are Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. You love cartoons (Wild Kratts, Arthur, CyberChase, Word Girl, and these Tinkerbell movies in particular), reading (comic books, Harry Potter, Junie B. Jones), and playing imagination games about super heroes.
You still love frozen green beans, your favorite breakfast is pancakes, your favorite lunch is soup, and you would eat pasta for every meal if I let you. You love berries, apples, and clementines; as well as steak, pork chops, and chicken breast. Tacos are one of your favorite dinners. You have a definite sweet tooth, looking forward to your daily "junk," with your favorites right now being ice cream, creamsicles, pez, lollipops, starbursts, and chocolate frogs. You are finally getting braver about food, eating things you previously wouldn't, and being willing to try new things most of the time.
You're long and lean, and seem to be stretched a little bit more every morning! You are now 33.4lbs, and 44.5" tall. We had your 6 year check up with our new doctor's office last week. They noted that you are healthy and spirited! And *knock on wood* you seem to have outgrown your need for the inhaler when you get sick!
It may seem boring to talk about favorite foods or how much you weigh, but I want to remember all there is to remember about you at this age. It is trying, but I also recognize just how fast it is going.
Right now you have fears about being alone, thanks in good part to having your first "new house experience," so you want one of us (me, Daddy, or Daisy) with you all the time... but already you do so much on your own that you didn't before, and I know the time will come sooner rather then later, that you don't need me around. A time will come of wanting privacy, of independence and growing up, and you won't cling to me and beg for me to come with you; instead you'll tell me to leave you alone. So this moment, right now, no matter how hard it is, I want to remember it. All the silly little details of it.
Already growing so much... this year you started taking on chores. You feed Daisy every night, put away your clothes after we do laundry, and are responsible for cleaning up your toys. You happily and readily sort through your stuff after Christmas to pull out items you don't play with anymore to pass them on to someone who will.
You also hit a milestone this year, with nighttime potty training. You've been completely potty trained (during the day) for years now, but just weren't there at night. You slept too soundly and couldn't hold it the whole night. Until just two months or so ago, you could! How excited you were to finally make that jump. After a week of dry diapers, we just stopped using them! And we haven't looked back. Diapers are now a thing of the past.
Daisy continues to be your favorite. You love walking her, feeding her, and just being around her as much as possible. You snuggle her on the couch, in our bed in the mornings, on the floor... wherever you can! You play tug with her, rub her belly, and are just generally happier when near her or touching her. Daisy doesn't quite have the passion for you that you do for her, but the bigger you get, the more she wants to be near you.
Gwen the past few month have been hard for us. There has been so much growth, but as we all know, growth can be challenging. I want you to know, that no matter the struggles, no matter the upsets and fights and misunderstandings, my love for you is the most intense thing I have ever experienced. I hope you always know that I'm here for you, that I love you, and that I always support you.
Love you "too much,"