Happy Birthday! You’re 5 years old today! The oldest you have ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be! You’ve been waiting eagerly for this birthday for the last 6 months! This is the first birthday that you have been excited for! You have been counting off months, telling me what kind of party you want, which of your friends you want to invite to the party, what you want to eat and all that jazz!
This past year has been quite the year for us! You started going to school in a van. For someone who clung to me all this while, this was a big milestone. The first day was rough for you but you soon adjusted and now adore your van kaka!
We moved houses and you suddenly lost all your playmates. It wasn’t an easy time, for either of us but we survived. We discovered new games and new pastimes.
Your Atya came to stay with us after she had a baby and you were probably the most excited! You were so gentle and understanding that I was amazed. There wasn’t an ounce of jealousy or rivalry with the new baby – just pure love! I knew right then that you needed a sibling of your own and that you would be an excellent older brother!
This past year, we travelled quite a bit. You had your first international vacation, visit to your Gayu Ma, the road trip to Bhutan! And you loved every bit of it. You’ve caught the travel bug so early that I’m going to have a hard time keeping up!
We discovered your love for languages and your amazing memory! You love to sing songs and you remember the lyrics even if you have just heard it a couple of times! Your Sanju-Baba maximized this trait by teaching you lots of poems, that you now recite and show off in front of teachers! Your teachers love the fact that you can recite Sanskrit poems off the top of your head and that you have relatively little fear of performance. Your confidence and stage presence have given you the opportunity to recite and perform on stage!
But you are a creature of routine. You are on your best behaviour and most comfortable when you know what’s happening when and are mentally prepared for it. Anything new, spontaneous, out of the blue unnerves you and upsets you. Even something as simple as opening your tiffin to find out there is “paratha” when it was supposed to be “dosa” day! I’m not proud to say this but you get this from me. Your Baba is the supercool dad who juggles anything life throws at him without letting it affect him. And me, well, let’s just say that you are a mini-me! And as a mom, that is my next challenge. To prepare you for any curve balls that life may throw at you. I have to yet teach you that life doesn’t always pan out the what we imagine and not everything goes according to plan. We must learn to make lemonade when life throws lemons at us!
Having said that, I must say, you are growing so much with each year! This year we also conquered the fear of water! After a failed attempt last summer to get you to swim, I really didn’t expect anything different this summer. But you proved me wrong yet again! You learned to kick holding a float, albeit in the baby pool. Then in a few weeks, you learned to “practice” in the adult pool, all the while wearing a swimming jacket and clutching me in a near-death grip! I will never forget the day I wriggled out from under your grip. You screamed for 2 seconds, then stopped mid-scream, looked around and realized that you were afloat. I could almost see the realization dawn upon you that wearing a swimming jacket meant that you couldn’t sink / drown!! You gave me the most wonderful smile and said, “Mom, this is simply amazing!” And my heart soared at that exclamation!
That brings me to another aspect of your personality that emerged this year! You have learned to speak so well! [Part of the credit does go to Peppa Pig!] You can form sentences and articulate your thoughts and feelings! Your vocabulary is expanding exponentially and it never ceases to amaze all those who listen to you speak! It thrills me to hear you use words like ‘ginormous’ and ‘brilliant’ to describe your toys, the butterflies, the construction vehicles and everything under the sun!
This birthday is special also because your baby sister arrived a week ago! You were adamant that the new baby was going to be a sister and that she had to arrive before your birthday! And luckily she did! Becoming a “dada” and turning 5 years made me feel that you suddenly had grown up! In the span of 24 hrs. you went from being my baby to being the “dada” who wanted to pet her, hold her, soothe her, who wanted to help me and do everything that a “dada” does.
Just yesterday afternoon, the three of us [you, your baby sister and I] were sitting on the bed. I was observing you observe her. You wanted to caress her hair and cheek and I wanted to caress yours. Suddenly you looked up at me, gave me a quick hug and said, “Don’t worry Mom! I’m going to be her Best Friend! I’ll take care of her forever!” My heart melted. That moment will stay frozen in my heart forever. There – right there I knew, that my little baby was no longer my baby.
Five years ago, I held a tiny baby in my hands and knew instantly that my life would never be the same. And today, as you hold your baby sister’s hand, you’ve changed my life all over again!
Love you to the moon and beyond!
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