G is turning six in two weeks, and I'm having serious issues with it. I went through something similar when she started kindergarten back in September, but this is on a grander scale. I guess I'm just not ready for her to be this old. *sniff* When she was a toddler, I could hardly wait for her to grow up. I wanted to have real conversations with her and read classic children's literature to her and do all the things we couldn't do yet. (I'll admit that I was also pretty excited about the idea of not changing diapers or dealing with tantrums anymore.) Now that we're there, I wish I could turn back time and have a little toddler again. I get emotional about it at the oddest moments, too. For example, just before Christmas, I replaced the small bookshelf I bought when she was two with a pair of larger units that take up an entire wall. The result made her room look like a big kid's room instead of a little kid's room, and before you could say "hysterical mother," I was all watery-eyed and quivery-lipped. Oddly, I didn't have this problem when we bought her bed, which is supposed to be the Really Big Furniture-Related Rite of Passage. For one thing, she almost never slept in her crib -- it was more of a giant stuffed-animal container han anything else -- and for another, she was still so small that she could hardly climb onto the bed unassisted. It's harder to pretend your child is still a baby when she's over four feet tall and is dancing around with an iPod and singing along to Hilary Duff, you know?
The funny thing is, last year, she angsted for six months before her birthday because she didn't want to turn five. Every night at bedtime, she'd lie there in the dark and moan, "I wish I could stay four forever! I don't like the number five!" and I would console her and tell her how cool it would be to be five and how much fun she was going to have. Now she's eagerly anticipating her birthday, and I'm a soppy ball of angst.
Anyway, one way or the other, she is going to be six soon. She spent most of November and December poring over the Birthday Express catalog like a high-school senior with a bunch of college brochures, trying to make up her mind about what sort of party she wanted. At last, we decided that she wasn't going to have a Birthday Express party at all. Instead, she's taking five of her friends to Build-A-Bear Workshop to make teddies, and then going upstairs to Red Robin for dessert. (Which reminds me that I should probably call Red Robin to arrange this. And mail the invitations. Yeah. That'd be good.) On her actual birthday, she's going to bring cupcakes and juice for everyone at school. This is a compromise -- her first choice was having a party at home for all her school and non-school friends, but I didn't think it would be a good idea to try to cram 24 kids into my living room. Scratch that: I knew it would be certain disaster. So we decided to go the two-celebration route, and she took it very well. Hmmm, maybe there'll be some benefits to having an older kid after all.