This feels like a milestone birthday. Five! I suppose it is in a way - she'll be starting kindergarten in the fall. Actually, she is more like 5 going on 15. The way she speaks, the attitude, everything seems like a tamer version of what the teenage years will be like.
Despite her spunky personality, Clare is really very sweet. She dotes on her cousin and stands up for her brother. She tells me she loves me daily (she tells me she hates me daily, too, but I know she doesn't mean it). She cares about her friends. She has two best friends at school, Chloe and Keira, but I think she still prefers playing with the pack of boys she's run with since we moved here. She should have a lot of time with them this summer.
Clare lost a tooth yesterday! We were walking back from an early birthday dinner at Snuffy's when it came out. I am sure the sucker she was eating helped it along. She was quite excited. It has been a big few days for her. She has two other loose teeth, so I think the Tooth Fairy will be back again soon.
Clare loves to be outside, whether she is swimming, hiking, gardening or biking. She is learning to ride her bike without training wheels, and can already do four laps around the parking lot next door before losing confidence. She is planning to run a few races this summer, and will also be trying ballet for the first time. She'll continue with soccer and gymnastics as well. She still doesn't like going under the water at the pool, but she is no longer scared of the big pool. Small steps, but she's getting there.
She is still an extremely picky eater. She does not like her food to touch on her plate, and is unwilling to try pretty much everything I make. She does love berries, pizza (as long as it's pepperoni and black olive, or plain cheese), spaghetti (with no sauce, of course), macaroni and cheese (but just Annie's, NOT homemade) cucumbers, carrots, and most desserts, but especially strawberry ice cream and any kind of cake. Making lunches next year should be a challenge. There is no way she'll eat hot lunch.
She loves wearing dresses and playing dress up. She is begging me to take her to the salon to get a manicure. She is not afraid to get dirty, though.
She has started reading on her own, some, and we have been reading chapter books together. I plan to read "Little House on the Big Woods" with her this summer, and I can't wait.
Clare is into puzzles and books, but she also likes play doh and painting. And TV, of course. Her current favorite shows are "Phineas and Ferb" and "American Ninja Warrior" and her favorite movies are "Mulan" and "Brave." She is hoping to see "Star Wars" soon and wants to be Darth Vader for Halloween.
She also likes watching cooking shows with me, and it has lead to one of her favorite games. We play cooking show while I am making dinner. It even has a name: "Clare and Emily's Home Cooking." At first, she was very concerned about camera placement, but she eventually decided they were just everywhere, so it didn't matter where we stood in the kitchen. It is pretty hilarious, actually. I need to film it one day, because she is a surprisingly good cooking show host.
She and Christopher are each other's best friends and worst enemies. One minute they are playing sweetly together, and the next one of them is screaming or crying. I am sure it will be this way always. (But without the screaming and crying when they are adults. Although you never know.)
The celebration of Clare's 5th birthday has gotten a bit out of control, with two family parties, a dinner out at Snuffy's last night, and a party with her friends this coming Saturday. Next year I plan to scale it way back. (There were some unusual circumstances prompting one of the extra parties: my brother and sister-in-law were visiting from England. We had to celebrate with them!)
It is so fun to have a conversation with Clare. Her observations on life are smart, logical, and funny. She remembers everything, and has a thousand questions about every new topic she encounters. Four was a good year, and I can't wait to see what the year ahead brings.
Happy birthday, Clare. We love you so, so much.