Monday, July 23, 2012

The Autobutts don't cry over birthday cake

Junior turned five last week. It doesn't seem possible that five years have gone by and yet, poof, there you go.

Five years.

In the last few months the Thomas the Train decals have come down from his bedroom walls—"too babyish"—and the "big kid" toys have eeked their way into our lives. It's been challenging for me. I can build an elaborate train track for a Useful Engine. I cannot, however, transform Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, from a truck into a robot in under 45 minutes.

 Even with the aid of the instructions—which are the size of a tablecloth.

Optimus Prime and his robot friends have met the Little People, though, so I guess they're here to stay.

I had wanted to write an eloquent post—a real ode to this child of mine who seems to outgrow a pair of shorts a day—but I find myself scrambling for the right words to express my feelings about Junior's fifth birthday. There's happiness, of course, that he's a bright, energetic and compassionate kid, but there's also wistfulness. How did it go by so quickly? Does he have to keep growing?

There's a little bit of frustration—for frick's sake he's five now, does he still have to whine?—and then there is appreciation. Now that Junior understands more and is more articulate, he feels more like a real person. There's actual dialogue. I appreciate his presence in a way that I didn't when he was a screaming, unreachable toddler.

Go figure.

There's curiosity. How will he handle kindergarten? There's anxiety. What if he's teased?

Yes, there's a bit of everything in this birthday.

I underlined a line in a book I'm reading, and I suppose it captures what I'm trying to say a lot more succinctly that I have. The book is Best Friends, Worst Enemies. When I grabbed it off the shelf I thought it was a book about siblings; it's actually about the social lives of children. The line is this:

"...a central paradox of parenting is that we securely attach with our children so that we can someday let them go."

Why didn't someone tell me this journey was going to be so damn bittersweet?

Happy birthday, Junior. You are loved.


Patty Woodland said...

I can't begin to completely understand but I suspect that with having a child it's a battle from the start with letting go....

Happy Birthday to Junior! Here's to one of life's best lessons - cake is good.

NHGirl said...

Stay away from the Dark of the Moon MechTech ones! They are so flipping hard to transform.

Anyway, I feel your pain. My son started loving the Transformers at 3. I think I've spent several days of my life transforming them or popping their arms back on. If my son didn't love them so much, I'd toss them.

Adventures as a Small Town Mom said...

Happy belated birthday!

I love the captions you added to your photo - too funny :)

Mom of A and a said...

A belated happy birthday to him! Try youtube for videos of how to transform...much easier than those confounded picture instructions!

DianaL said...

Oh my goodness I can relate. My son turned 5 in June and I am awed by him every day. Feeling all your feelings that you articulate so much better than I ever will. :) Happy Birthday Junior!

Sara said...

We did Transformers for my son's 5th birthday too. His engineer uncle spent an hour trying to get Optimus to convert at the party. Those things are tricky.

Man! There are a lot of holes in my neighborhood

Our young neighbors Bob and Claire are wonderful —which is a fricken relief because we basically share a yard. A flat, treeless yard. When ...