Hi, 5!

Birthday Bench Monday!

Sassy is officially 5!

This birthday has taken a rather melodramatic one for me, the mama, in so many ways. Firstly, I’ve never had a kid of mine turn 5 where I didn’t have another littler kid coming along behind who had yet to reach the milestone. Secondly, 5 is so freaking old in kid years! 5 isn’t babyhood, it’s not even toddlerhood. It’s full on big kidhood. Thirdly, I’m looking around and thinking, ‘Where’s my baby?’

Aside from what 5 means to Sassy (she has full control over her daily attire, she can jump higher now, and she can eat even more fruits and veggies, to quote the Princess), I’m discovering it has an effect on me, too. Or, on my uterus, which can’t stop yelling at me to “Quick! Have another one! I’m still good to go for another couple years!” I look at the friends pushing their strollers down the street together and think, “I’m not in that crowd anymore. I’m not a young mom with baby…I’m past all that now.” I see pregnant women and their big bellies and think, “Never again!” It’s all so….final. I thought I was ready for the next stage….older mom with school age kids…but now I’m not so sure. Or, at least, my uterus isn’t so sure. My brain is totally 100% certain that it’s ready to leave the babyhood behind.

On Sassy’s birthday morning, when she woke up and announced, “I’m 5 today!!!!” I made a big deal about how she was too big to be MY baby….where’s my baby, who are you–not my baby!, where did you put my baby?! and she laughed and laughed. “It’s me! I’m your baby! But I’m not little anymore. I can talk, and swim, and ride a bike, and eat food not milk, and I don’t sleep in a crib or use diapers or cry. I’m 5!!!” And then all day we’d repeat the discussion. “My baby can’t ride a bike!” I’d say. “Yes, I can, mama! You taught me how! But I taught me how to swim. I did it myself!” she’d answer. “But I want my baby back again!” I’d say. “My little baby that I would rock in my arms,” (here I’d gather her up in my arms…legs all floppy and hardly able to hold her all in my lap) “and pat when she’d cry, and put in her crib to go to sleep. I want that baby!” She laughed and then would get serious. “You can’t have that baby anymore. It’s me! I got bigger! I’ll never be that little again, mama!”

Put a knife in my heart and pour salt in my wounds. No, my little firecracker, you’ll never be that baby again.

I’m surprisingly verklempt at this milestone. It really caught me unaware, as I’ve never had this reaction before to 5. Probably because I was still dirty diaper deep in babyhood with another kid.

At the close of the day, when we were snuggled up for our good night routine, I twirled her hair between my fingers and though about the night, 5 years ago, that I swaddled her up in her purple blankie and held her close to my heart all night long. I never could put my newborns in the hospital bassinets–I had waited 9 months to get them here, no way was I going to put them down for a long time after. I loved that little baby then, and love her now with the same tenderness and awe.

“Sassy?” I said quietly, as she drifted off to sleep. “You’ve done a good job growing bigger, and it’s OK your not a baby anymore. You can keep growing up, bigger and bigger, because you are good at learning new things and getting big and strong! I’m glad you’re 5.”

And I really, truly, almost meant it.