Dear Avery, After your cousin Ben's birthday party last weekend, you were out walking around the Upper East Side with your Auntie Dawn. When I came to pick you up, the three of us stopped into a mani/pedi place. All the ladies in the place, both those working and those enjoying a treatment, celebrated that this was you first time getting a big girl pedicure. We sat in pedicure chairs next to each other and you squeezed my hand tight at the beginning of each new step in the process. When Lucy (the lady who gave you your pedicure) started to scrub your legs and feet you squeezed my hand extra hard because it really tickled and because as you leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, what if she scrubs off my freckle?" The sweetness and innocence of this statement was not lost on me and nearly made my heart burst with love; I know how much you love that freckle on the bottom of your foot and how much you think this makes you who you are. I love the wonderment that is your five year old self colliding with new experiences. Love, Mama
Dear Avery, You are my sweet five year old girl and I love you! Now that you have turned five, I can safely say that some things that I may have associated with a phase are truly just aspects of your personality, of who you are: blinding sunshine, booming claps of thunder, intense sweetness and intense fury all wrapped up into one (not so) tiny package.
Your daddy has lots of nicknames for you, the latest being "Cutie Pebbles" and while you complain and resist and stamp your feet, eventually you choose to own and exemplify those names, all in your own time. Thank goodness we've moved past the nick name "difficult" :) Your Grandma Ruth says you feel intensely and she is right. What she hasn't articulated is how much you are just like your daddy (who has a nickname of Triple E - Easily Excitable Eric). I love that you share his ability to exude passion and joy for even the most simple things - this is a gift. The flip side of this passion is the thunder that I mentioned. You can scream and cry and lament and even have a private, yet spoken aloud conversation "Why G-d!" that I actually find quite amusing. As you continue to grow, I hope you learn how to harness this passion and emotion to your benefit.
Most inherent to your personality and amazing to/different from me is your facility to make friends around every corner. You are so easy with people, you are never shy. Wherever we go, whether you are being dragged to one of your brother's sporting events or just out for an afternoon you simply find someone to connect with, play with an in an instant, this person is your friend. What a marvel! And now the list of "now that you are five":
you can (almost) do a perfect cartwheel
you can (almost) brush your own hair
you can (almost) take a shower by yourself
you can get yourself dressed for any occasion with minimal drama
you can go downstairs in the morning by yourself, grab a yogurt and spoon and call it breakfast
you can navigate a computer and get to your favorite game websites
you can write a card: DEAR MOM I LOVE YOU AVERY
Thank you for the love notes. Thank you for your (most of the time) sweetness.
Here's looking forward to an amazing year of kindergarten. Happy (belated) birthday! Love, Mama
Dear Alex, You are now officially a fourth grader. Well, that's not quite true, but you are no longer a third grader and schoooooool's out.......for summer! As I wrote to you when you turned nine, you are in a far more relaxed and happy place than you were at the beginning of the school year. One of the things we talked about the entire year after you had seen the movie was signing you up for "School of Rock". As the year progressed, there always seemed a reason to delay; you were just starting a new sport for the season, or Hebrew school, or after school science (which you hated, by the way!). And the end of the school year seems no different because you are about to start camp (and then it will be football and school again........). So we just realized that there is not good time to start and you just started. And you loved it. I mean you really loved it. You came home from your lesson and had such energy and excitement in your voice. Who knows if it will last and become a passion or if it will shift and feel like work. But right now in the moment, I know it makes you feel amazing. You got to choose your main instrument that you want to study (you choice voice). When you met with your instructor, after singing scales, you also got to choose what songs to sing and you chose The Ramones "I Want to be Sedated" and Cowboy Mouth "Jenny Says". After only one lesson, the reviews are in: you were told that you have great pitch and great "pipes" and that you make great song choices. And you felt not just "good enough" as is often the case when you competently play a sport but are not one of the all-stars. You felt that you were the best at something - that this was your place. Next up, trying this as part of a band, I can't wait, I know you will be amazing. You may or may not be a rock star later in life. So what I hope for you is that you retain an amazing sense of confidence throughout life from this experience. Love, Mom