Thursday, March 4, 2010

Past 4 1/2 But Not 5

Monkey Man turned 4 1/2 on September 11. Over the summer, he asked over and over again when he would turn 4 1/2. So once the day came, the day when he officially got over that hump and was cruising on his way to 5, he made sure EVERYONE knew precisely, exactly, how old he was.

Stranger, Family member, Friend, Anyone on the street: "How old are you?"
Monkey Man: "I'm past 4 1/2 but not 5."

Now I miss that phrase. Monkey Man turned 5 yesterday. And I might as well have turned 40 because that's how I'm reacting. His turning 5 is more upsetting than me rocketing into my, (gasp, choke, puke) last year of my mid-thirties in 2 weeks. Total aside: 36 is still mid, right? Just because mathematically we round up once we get to the 5s, I'm still in my mid-thirties, right? RIGHT?

So Monkey Man turning 5 is like a smack in the face that he is a big boy. I am a bright girl. Bright enough, anyway, to understand that he is not a baby. He is a very independent child, and I actually love and appreciate this independence. I love that he can open the door for me when I'm carrying all 50 things I didn't need from Target. I love that he can dress himself and demand that he wear the same sweatshirt that he rolled in the dirt in just the day before. I love that he can put that dirty sweatshirt in the laundry basket and understand when I tell him it needs to be washed and he can wear it tomorrow when it's clean. And he DOESN'T throw a fit.

But this turning 5 thing, it is making me sad and nostalgic. He's not a baby, a toddler, a preschooler. He's IN preschool, but when someone asks, "How old are you?" and he says 5, they might think he's in kindergarten. And being in kindergarten is fine, and when the time comes and I've cried away that first week, I'll be ready to accept it. But for now, he's still home, having fun a few days a week in his small preschool.

There are times when I can really feel that peach fuzz atop his newborn, almost-bald head rubbing against my cheek. Or when I can see clearly, like it happened yesterday, Monkey Man standing in his crib doing the sign for banana because that is what he wanted first thing in the morning when we stopped the bottle. And I can play back, almost by the minute, everything that happened on March 11, 2005 that led up to his birth and turned my world upside down.

But I'm a little crazy. And an upside down world is a lot of fun. Especially when looked at through the eyes of a 5 year-old.

Monkey Man - you are truly one of a kind, a piece of work, something else. I tell you this all the time - Even when you are a big man, you will always be my little boy. I love you to the moon and back, bunches and bunches. Freddy Spaghetti, Goofy Goofenheimer, Bud.


Tamara said...

Happy birthday, Monkey Man!

Kindergarten registration is this week around here...I have to do that today, so I'm feeling your growing pains as well. It's sooooo bittersweet.

Tamara said...

Hmmmm...I thought I commented to say "happy birthday, Monkey Man," but maybe I hallucinated it.

Anyway, "Happy Birthday, Monkey Man!"