Remember when I used to write you multiple letters per year? Those were the days, weren't they? Here we are. Five. No longer "four and three quarters." You already stand about 2" above my waist, which means you're a mere foot away from being an adult. Or at least as tall as some adults. And let's face it, probably more mature than a lot of adults too.
Perhaps what was most profound about the last year was somehow you shed all the last vestiges of being a young, little kid and morphed into full-on Big Kid. Your emotional maturity, verbal skills, critical thinking skills...everything....just sky rocketed into the next dimension. And holy smokes, it is SO. MUCH. FUN!!!
Holding your lanky 50lbs in my arms to dance is getting pretty difficult. But we still dance occasionally to "Wise Men" or Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing". I keep thinking about a quote I read a really long time ago. It was something along the lines of "one day your mom set you down and never picked you back up again." I remember being just struck to the core with sadness at the thought. And of course, it's not like you know when that day is going to be. It just happens one day. I keep wondering if that day is coming soon for us because I'm just not strong enough. And it seems much too early, much too young. That's the disadvantage of being an Amazon child. One day your stature will serve you well, but now, it's making Snuggle Dancing hard.
It's hard now to write about your life without bringing your sister into it (that dang little sister--always stealing your thunder!). Shortly after you turned 4, she was classified as immunocompromised and it had a huge impact on your life. We even debated pulling you out of school. There were no more trips to the Discovery Center with Dada, no more story times at the library with Bibi. Play dates became nearly impossible. We tried to minimize the impact on you, but some days there was (is) just no way around it--it sucked. You took it mostly in stride anyway, as you do pretty much everything. You seem to have some innate sense of how to roll with the punches, which is good, because some days it feels like they just keep coming in your tiny young life. It's not fair, but there it is.
Last summer we took a road trip to Durango and rode the train to Silverton. We met all of Dada's family there and you had so much fun running with the cousins. We stayed in a different hotel every night for 6 straight nights and you loved it. We stopped and climbed a roadside arch in Moab, and you still talk about the "circle rock". It was our first trip as a family of 4 and you were a champion traveler as usual. I miss traveling often with you.
Later we took a much longer rode trip to Baton Rouge. We were gone for about a month. We went to our house in New Orleans, got beignets and walked along the Mississippi River. We went to Paul and Danielle's farm in Wiggins, MS where you fed peppermints to cows and Jack the donkey, drove a tractor, and fed the horses. There were bugs there (of course there were, it's The South), and you were WAY outside of your comfort zone. But you were brave and tried all these things anyway. And it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. That day was my favorite part about traveling--when things are completely unplanned and unexpected and turn out to be utterly delightful.
This was also the year you discovered Jesus....in the form of Santa. This has been really interesting for me to watch since we haven't given you even the tiniest bit of religion. And yet here you are basically praying to Santa. You say things like, "let's just ask Santa [for a new car]." Or, "Santa probably knows [the answer to some obscure question]." I overhear you talking to Santa about things that are going on in your day. Well, there's a lot going on in the world right now. I suppose talking to Santa can't hurt.
You also started dance classes this last year, and you LOVE it. It has been so fun watching you practice. I've already taken you to see several ballets, but this has given us a platform to explore more of the music and the stories that go with the art form. You now regularly ask Alexa to listen to Swan Lake, or "chovsky's" (Tchaikovsky's) Nutcracker. Maybe you won't stick with it, maybe you will. I just hope you continue to love it as much as you do now.
There was MUCH more to your year that I naturally can't fit in one letter. Some of it I'm deliberately reserving for a separate letter (which will become obvious why when I post that one in a few days). These letters, this one in particular, seem more and more inadequate the bigger you get, because somehow I just keep loving you more and more, and that can't even begin to be trapped on paper by mere words. I'll keep trying, but I wish I could do better.
Happy 5th Birthday to my Best Alice. I love you most of all, Sugar Bean.
P.S. Stop acting like some big kid and calling me Mom!!!
Me, every night: Good night, Sugar Bean, I love you.
Alice: Good night, Sugar Mama!
This is freshly baked, high tempervised cookies just for Mama. (Dumps pot.) Wait, the freshly got stuck in there. 5/29/19
Peeking out from behind a door: Don't you want to know how I redisappeared?! 6/2/19
We were doing exploraments!! 6/15/19
I love you better than the curtains now. 8/9/19
Should we call this "Farland," because it's so far away? 8/9/19
Me: What was your favorite part of the trip so far?
Alice: OOOOOOO I HAVE ONE!!! LOOP FRUITS!!!!! (Fruit Loops) 8/10/19
Andy: Alice, what should we get Auntie Aura for Christmas?
Alice: We should go to the store and buy her a yellow trapezoid! 12/15/19
Alice, singing: I got my chicken for the long way round. 12/29/19
I'M CAT WALKING FOR ACTION!!! 1/4/20
Alice, on wearing skinny jeans: "well mama, at first when you put them on they're weird. But then you just keep wearing them and after a while it's fine." 1/2/20
Safa: Alice, what kind of picture do you want to color....shapes, trees...?
Alice, thinking hard: I think I'd like to color some cheese! 1/28/20 @ Safa's house
Kim (the preschool teacher): Who are some people that help us?
Other kids: trashmen, police, fire fighters
Alice: GOATS!!!! (She later explained to me it's because they eat trash)
Alice: Are there shorts as long as pants?
Me: .......do you mean....pants? 4/1/20
Mentioning to Alice that I needed to look in the alley trash for something I accidentally threw away, she replied with a completely horrified look on her face, LIKE RACCOONS??!!! 3/4/20
Thoughtfully: I might want to work here when I grow up (at the Boise Landfill) 4/4/20
To Andy, while he was hacking at some roots with a shovel: Dada, be careful not to punch yourself in the crotch!!!! 4/18/20