Thursday, December 02, 2004


Our baby turned 5 today.

5, at least from a parent's perspective, is a landmark age. Potty training: done (nearly... gotta tackle those yucky ones yet). Booster seat instead of infant seat: done. Realization that being 5 means certain responsibilities: done.

I call her "Tiny." I really shouldn't, but she does inherit the smaller end of our gene pool, and we are not giants. Unfortunately, the last child of any family will always be the "baby," and our baby is not altogether eager to leave that era behind. She still needs snuggle breaks every afternoon with Mommy. She still wants people to read to her, even though she's reading at about a 1st grade plus level already. Her imagination is limited only by her relative lack of experience, but she's quickly catching up with her older sister.

Mommy, of course, has hit that stage where "my baby is growing up!" accompanied by a wistful look. I have not interpreted this look - nor has my wife ever implied - to mean that she wishes she had another baby in the house. Quite the contrary. We've both reached that age where we will enjoy watching the girls grow into each stage of their lives. Except, probably, for that stage where Daddy begins answering the door while polishing the ol' .45. But I fully expect Mommy to get more of those wistful looks in the ensuing years. Shucks, I'm 46 and my Mommy still gets 'em.

Tonight we celebrated by taking the girls to Ye House of Giant Mouse and Cheese, the venerable temple of cheesy entertainment (literally!), as well as pizza. We'd been threaten promising to take them there for weeks to celebrate their reading accomplishments in school, and the little one's birthday became the catalyst. So, off we went to visit the Rat and spend some of the tokens we've been hoarding since our last visit. The girls had a blast. Mom and Dad enjoyed watching them have a blast.

With both sides of our family living in a relatively near-by county, it often happens that birthdays in our family get celebrated multiple times. This will be no exception. Tomorrow we wend our merry way to Ventura County to celebrate BDay Number 5 once again, as well as to participate in Grandma's annual Christmas Concert at her church. Since most of her kids and in-law kids sing, we generally all get to participate, give or take having to watch grandkids.

In the meantime, we get to enjoy all the benefits of a child turning 5. This is about the age where they begin to understand that they have wills of their own that they can assert. Ah, yes. Now I remember. 5 year olds become more fussy about what they will or will not eat. They don't like being told they have to "be patient" about anything. In fact, didn't I threaten - just the other day - to play the boarding school card?

No, sir. No more babies in this house...

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