M. turned five on Saturday. In some ways time has flown, and in others that night five years ago when S. called down to me and said that her water had broken* seems like ages ago. I’m pretty sure being a parent for five years ages you something closer to ten. Especially when your first-born (and second, and potentially third) is as head-strong as M. is.

(My classic response, “Are you sure?” It was two weeks early! I wasn’t expecting it!)

We just did a small party for her Saturday; we’re in the process of planning a party that includes her friends in a few weeks for a day when S. isn’t working, as she was on Saturday. We had the obligatory cupcakes. She got some clothes, a jump rope, a bell for her bike, a soft baseball bat/glove/ball set, her first Webkinz (as did C.), and a movie. She was predictably thrilled with it all, especially the Webkinz puppy, which was a replacement for a beloved toy dog that was recently trashed after C. peed on it.*

(Good times that day, let me tell you!)

She’s taken to the baseball bat pretty well. Sunday night she hit four in a row, including one over my head. She has a tendency to get excited and swing before the ball has left my hand, but when she focuses she makes good contact. Catching with the mitt is another thing completely. That may take awhile to master.

We’ve been practicing soccer a lot lately, and she’s taken an interest in being a goalie. A couple weekend back she was positioned in the goal C. for for her birthday and I was kicking the ball at her. She was doing a great job stopping it, so I slowly increased the force behind the kicks. I struck one pretty solidly and it smacked her in her chest, surprising her a bit. I quickly complimented her on the fantastic save and told her that’s how the great goalies do it. She was convinced and asked me to kick it harder. I was tagging the ball pretty good that day, but keeping it on the ground so she could use her hands and chest to block it.

Well, Saturday night after she got her fill of baseball she pulled out the soccer goal and wanted to show off her skills to her assembled relatives. She stopped a couple and I warned her I was going to start kicking it hard. She said ok and got into position. I took a solid cut at the ball, about as hard as our previous sessions, only I got my toe under the ball. I watched as the ball looped off the ground, took a dip, and then smacked her right in the face. She cried a bit and I apologized but also reminded her that she needed to get her hands up and stop the ball, even if it’s in the air. So I worked towards both Father of the Year and Coach of the Year at the same time!

So now she’s five. Kindergarten is right around the corner. In some ways she seems very grown up, especially when she’s wearing her glasses to watch TV or play on the computer. Other times she drives us batty with her whining and deliberate efforts to act inappropriately. It’s been a difficult summer for her and us in many ways. I think being in school every day this fall is going to be a very good thing for both her and us, both academically and in terms of getting her out of the house and keeping her interested and occupied. But she’s a good, smart, and sweet girl, and hopefully she’ll begin to leave the toddler tantrums behind now that she’s officially a big girl.