My sweet pea made me a Mama five years ago today. We’ve been learning together ever since. One of the things I learned early on was that being a parent was going to change me. Eden hadn’t read the same books about parenting that I had, and in her infancy taught me that listening to her and listening to my intuition was more important than what any book said.
I sometimes regret that Eden gets the rough draft version of my parenting, while Isaac and any future children get a more polished version. But thankfully she has a sweet heart, and just enough grace and spunk to deal with my imperfections.
Her fifth year has been big…she has grown to be shockingly independent compared to her toddler self. I should have seen it coming when she learned to swim on the first day of her fifth year, at her fourth birthday party. It’s been a year of big firsts. She entered preschool bravely last fall, a little bit nervous and a little bit excited.
She walked into her classroom with a heart drawn on her hand and my love in her cells and she thrived. She had the best preschool teachers on the planet and I’m not biased at all.
She made fast and strong friends, painted tons of pictures, and learned through playing and singing and reading and touching things and looking and listening and experimenting. I couldn’t be happier with her first school experience, and neither could she.
At home, she learned to pump herself on her swing, to pedal strong on her two wheel bike with training wheels, to paint a rainbow, to make herself a bowl of cereal and milk, to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using a half jar of each, to sing Mumford and Sons, to read simple words, to write her family’s names, to be patient, and to ask for help when she needs it. She taught herself to whistle after practicing and practicing for the last month. She is so proud of herself for that and I am so proud of her for not giving up when all she heard was air.
She loves language. When she hears a new word she picks it out and asks what it means, and then it becomes part of her vocabulary. Yesterday she was explaining to Isaac that “quarrel” is another word for “fight.” She has taught me to be careful what I say because she will be saying it tomorrow.
She loves her brother and helps take care of him. She crouches down to be at eye level with him, talks in an excited voice to him, explains things to him in the way she thinks he’ll understand, reassures him, and loves to make him laugh with her silly faces. She makes up games to play with him and gets upset if he doesn’t want to play with her. She also sometimes makes him upset because she thinks “it’s funny,” which assures me that she is a normal child.
She loves her friends. A far cry from her toddler years when we had to carefully measure out the amount of stimulation and social time she could have before she was overloaded, she now can’t get enough of time with friends and family and activity. She often asks “how many places are we going today?” and 4 or 5 is her ideal answer. Every friend is her best friend and she is always sad to leave them.
She loves to dance. She took dance lessons for a couple months this year and enjoyed it, but wasn’t begging for more. She’s more of a freestyler and could not wait for the dance floor to be opened at the several weddings we attended this year. We have dance parties in our living room to all sorts of music and she has the best moves. She and Isaac love having dance parties with house music and strobe lights in the basement with Daddy.
She is growing, changing, learning, and sometimes I see glimpses of her teenage self, her mother self, her working self. She is a five-year-old who carries the seeds in her of the rest of her life. She is teaching me to water her well.
As much as she grows and changes, she will always be my sweet Eden girl, the one who made me a Mama. We have a rhyme that is just hers and mine, and her eyes still light up when we say it. Tonight she said “I love you even more” when I said “I love you so, so, so much my sweet Eden girl.”
How much does Mama love you? Sooooo much.
More than you can count.
More than you can measure.
Enough to last forever.
Love you sweet pea,