Monday, March 10, 2014

Maggie, My Bluebaby Muffin

Maggie, my wonder monkey, my bluebaby muffin, it is hard to believe you are five years old. You are no longer our baby and won't be our preschooler for much longer. It's a momentous birthday.

I'm going to be sad the day that your articulation moves beyond bluebaby. It has been hard this year to bid adieu to tajul (towel) and funin (seven), among others. You continue to wow us with your development, surprising us with small signs of maturity. Your speech is still a little hesitant, but your vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. You are a funny little mirror, reflecting the words and phrases Daddy and I use. It tickles me to hear you try out phrases like by any chance, or hear me tell you that you are not a fan of something. Green beans, for instance.

The more you communicate, the more we are learn about the inner workings of your mind. We are just now discovering how sensitive you are to tags and lumps in your clothing. I hate to think you've been feeling that way for years and have just now learned to express it. I thoroughly enjoy and support your creative expression through your clothing choices, though: multiple colors and patterns in one outfit and shiny, glittery footwear. But I am disappointed that you only want a "small ponytail" in your hair every day. There are so many other options!

This fall, you astonished me by introducing yourself to an electrician who had come to our house. "What is your name? My name is Maggie, and this is my little brother Leo." I don't know who taught
you that, but it wasn't us! With the exception of your cousin Charlie, you don't have much use for children your own age. Charlie has a strong will, but you have one to match his when it really matters, and the two of you make a great team. You can entertain yourselves for longer and longer periods of time. All we hear are the giggles.

I think your best friends are fictional: Maisy, Olivia, and Frances. I hear you "read" your books from memory during quiet time (hardly ever a napper anymore). But games and puzzles are starting to compete with book time. It is so convenient that you love learning activities like your number and rhyming puzzle pairs. And you've just learned about memory games. Your memory for the location of the matching tile is better than mine! Fortunately you have Papa Willie as your willing partner for Chutes and Ladders and CandyLand.

You have the most beautiful, rolling giggle. Movies and TV shows bring it out in you the most. Timon and Pumba, Olaf the Snowman and Sven the Reindeer. These are the characters that get you going more than any others.

For the first time in your life, you've started weekly lessons in gymnastics. I may enjoy watching you roll and jump and balance with Mr. Rob more than anything I watch you do all week. You amaze me! If I asked you to walk the balance beam with "airplane arms" or jump up on a pile of mats, you'd tell me it's too hard. But Mr. Rob doesn't even need to ask, and you have smile plastered on your face the entire time. 

Finally, after years of Daddy preference, I've got a little of you back. You even prefer me to Daddy at times. We are partners in the kitchen, and we both love to work with scissors and glue.

Tracing letters is still great fun, but I've seen you write your name without any help. Granted, the letters did not proceed left to right, but four out of six were recognizable! And now our porch floor is often adorned with chalk portraits. You have a strong attention to detail if not a strong sense of shape representation. Your representations have ears and foreheads and hair and knees (among the other common features), but the ears and arms both sprout like whiskers from the sides of the head. And the hair is limited to one scribble at the tiptop. Utterly charming.

The sweetest moment of the day is our goodbye routine. Daddy has offered to walk out with you out to the schoolbus and bid you goodbye, but I'm the one you need. Every day you remind me to wave and blow kisses. So I walk to your side of the bus and furiously wave (both kinds of waving) and blow kisses until I can no longer see you. I suspect going to school still makes you nervous, but the predictability of this routine brings you comfort. I just love it. You'll probably have to ask me to stop some day.
You are our little worrier. Anxiety will be ever-present in your life, I'm afraid. Genetics or example or both. I know that handling my own anxiety is a gift I must give you in order for you to learn to handle your own. We noticed a tremendous upswing in your anxiety levels with your class change in January, and it is just now starting to settle back down. We see it in your hesitation to try new motor tasks and your limited interest in social interactions with children your age. And we definitely notice it in your list of fears that you love to number off. It must bring you some level of comfort to repeat them, but the cause of them is still unclear. Loud noises, understandable. Car washes scare me, too. But why are screws frightening? And small lights shining in the dark (from a smoke alarm, for instance)? Or tacks in the wall? My working theory is they look like eyes to you and you feel you are being watched. As your communication improves, we will know more.

Five years old! That puts Kindergarten on the horizon and all the anxiety of mainstream public education. Fortunately, you are spared that anticipation. And so far, your teachers seem to recognize the absolute treasure you are (you can tell when a teacher really loves a student), and you have two staunch and stubborn allies in your parents. There are mountains and mountains ahead of us, but you are our smart, brave girl, and isn't the view lovely?


  1. Crying! What a beautiful tribute to beautiful Maggie, who is now a "whole hand" old! I can't believe it. Maggie is so lucky to have you two as parents....parents who MOVE mountains to give their smart, brave, girl such a glorious view. (Oh, and I think your working theory re: eyes is likely spot on!)

  2. Simply wonderful. I'm crying too! Love this girl and love the way this post describes her. Love the relationship she and Charlie have. Love the mountains metaphor and love Katie's words about them. Happy Birthday wonder girl!!!

  3. I've learned a lot about your kids in these last two posts! I know kindergarten is going to be scary for you, but my guess is that Maggie is going to rock it.

  4. Oh, this is beautiful. And so many things you said ring so true. We really must make a date to sit and talk forever one day. :)

    1. Oops - and happy birthday to you both!!! Got distracted...

  5. The view is lovely indeed, and happy happy birthday to your gorgeous little girl. And well you of course, but her more, for obvious reasons. OMG to five. Tucker will be five in July. How time flies...

  6. Isn't it shocking? Five years! Will Tucker go to Kindergarten next year? The lovely view is in reference to a wonderful poem by Brian Doyle. It compares all the trials of raising children to mountains you must climb. How you can get caught into thinking that once you get over this one, it will be easier. But the truth is there are just more and more. So why not enjoy the view? I nee to read the poem on a regular basis.


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