This week, my baby girl turned 6. At first, that number really got to me. For reasons I can't explain, 6 sounds much older than 5. It whispers of major developments ahead: The end of kindergarten. The end of no homework. The end of asking Daddy to pick me up some "c-a-n-d-y" without her catching on.
The end of her being a little kid.
She's aged out of tot camp and pee-wee baseball and outgrown the preschool section of the shoe store. Whether or not I'm ready to admit it, my baby has crossed an imaginary line. She's growing into one of the "big kids."
That said, there are many wonderful things about having a 6-year-old. Here are six awesome things to celebrate about being 6.
1. The unbearable lightness of peeing.
If your kid is like mine, by 6, the potty humor has really hit its stride. Of course, there was always the occasional "Knock, knock. Who's there? Poo poo!" merriment. Now, however, the hilarity has grown more sophisticated, as she writes and illustrates entire "books" paying homage to the toilet in pink and purple crayon. I miss the knock-knock jokes.
2. Reading, writing and 'rithmetic.
Slowly but surely, my daughter is deciphering the world of words around her. For the first time, she read the four questions at Passover. (I have to give her credit: "bitter herbs" and "unleavened bread" are quite a leap from the "Bob likes dogs" she's used to reading.) Even when she struggles, I'm so proud to see how much she's accomplished and how hard she's trying. And she's learning addition, so no more short-changing her allowance when I need laundry money.
3. Goodbye, Dora.
Over the past year, my daughter has grown bored of "babyish" TV shows. While I'll miss "Sesame Street," I don't miss Dora, Diego, or any of the other characters that burst into song every time someone asks for directions or opens a backpack. While I'm not sure what to make of scantily clad "Winx" fairies battling scantily clad witches, I do enjoy watching superhero cartoons and, best of all, "The Voice" together. Team Christina, baby!
4. Drop-off playdates.
Last week, my daughter had her first drop-off playdate. I confess, this was bittersweet for me. Back when I was being pulled into tea parties and games of tag with giggling preschoolers, I dreamed of the day when I'd be able to run to the grocery store while someone else's mom watched the kids for an hour or two. But walking away from that playdate -- without my daughter by my side -- well, that was a bit of a wake-up call. She's growing up... and, whether I like it or not, growing away.
5. Miss Independent.
We've always encouraged our daughter to do things on her own. But these days, I'm amazed at the things she can tackle. She shovels snow. She helps pack her brother's lunch. She makes her own breakfast and, if Mommy's buried in a mountain of laundry, she'll make her brother's breakfast too. She's so self-sufficient, in fact, that I think it's time for her to get a job. Or clean the house... while Mommy sleeps, of course.
6. She's still a kid.
Sometimes, my daughter seems like a small adult. But then, out of nowhere, she'll burst into tears because I complimented her brother for brushing his teeth and not her (even though she finished brushing 20 minutes earlier). These outbursts remind me that she's still a kid, and she still needs her Mommy. Because no matter how excited she is to show me the math work in her backpack, or help me cook an omelette, she still needs attention, reassurance and kisses and cuddles.
Few things make my daughter happier than dancing around the living room with Mommy, or playing dolls together, or snuggling while I read her a story. And, perhaps, that's the most awesome thing about having a 6-year-old. She's still a kid, and she's still mine.