Dearest Bean,

If you can manage to remember this year, you will know why the letters to you have been – well, we will just say “infrequent”. You have no resemblance to a baby anymore at all. This makes me a little sad, but also very proud. Somehow, to spite all my good intentions but failed attempts at good mommying, you have grown into a great kid. Here are a few things that have been going on, since your last letter.
– You continue to take swimming lessons and continue to amaze (read, horrify) me with your brave leaps and love of the water. It is said, and I can’t agree more, that children are not given enough credit for doing amazing things. You can’t keep yourself afloat with swimming yet, but you can swim to the bottom of a 5′ pool and retrieve things from the bottom.
– Ballet has intrigued you, so in the fall I got a video of Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing in the Nutcracker. You fell in love with the story, so in the summer we started reading the story over and over again. I thought I was doing such a great job of exposing you to some culture that you had a passion for. You started taking ballet lessons and have proclaimed yourself an expert because you can do the “ballet walk”. Then we went to the local ballet company’s showing of the Nutcracker. You were mesmerized and excited – you named all the characters to me and when the Nutcracker dancer showed up in human form, you said (loudly) “LOOK, MOMMY – IT’S MIGEL BERSHNIGOFF”.
Culture lesson fail. I shooshed you and tried hard not to laugh. Really, the effort was there. I could see disappointment in your eyes when I told you that Mikhail Baryshnikov was the dancer, not the character name. I will still claim the whole thing and overall win, because you do love the story and ballet.
– You are reading more and more sight words. However, you are starting to “not try” and I am not sure if it is because you are afraid to fail or if you are too tired or what it is – I see how smart you are, even though you are trying to hide it. Instead, you are trying to get praised for things small children do and you’ve been doing for a very long time. If you can give me a tip, that would be great.
10988794305_442d867ae9– We went to Disney World! I really hope you remember it – I didn’t want to take you until you were older because I want you to remember how great it is. You had such a wonderful time – you got to meet Cinderella, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, Snow White, Belle, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and so many other characters – although the trip was vastly different from my last trip, it was so much fun to watch Disney through your eyes. Even though we did get all the princess vomit, as I called it. My very favorite picture of you to date is when you were laughing at something silly that Goofy was doing. The photographer got the image of you, perfectly! It was exciting that you weren’t shy of meeting all the characters, as you had been in the past. I was also very amused that you wanted to ask all of them questions – my favorite is when you asked Pocahontas why the white man wanted the gold – I dont’ think she was prepared for quite the political question from such a small girl. But – she did a great job – can’t complain!

– For Halloween you wanted to be a princess (what is it with the Princesses? I ask you – I want you to strive to be a strong woman who can be as feminine as you want to be, but also know you can kick some ass when it is needed (both mentally and physically). So why, dearest Bean, do you play “Princess” and “save me” over and over again? I even tried to meet you half way with offering up princesses who are good role models for you – Mirada from Brave, Princess Leia… there is even a new one – Anna from Frozen. These are still “Princesses” – with all the frilly wonderfulness… but manage to be strong at the same time. OK, maybe Leia isn’t all that frilly… but come ON, kid… work with me! (Ok, I admit – I am trying to force a standard that isn’t what you are naturally attracted to, so clearly you are going to go the opposite direction… but again, with the tips… I’d appreciate it). Your aunt said I should go with the Princess Aurora costume because you picked it, you didn’t change your mind and could use it for dress up for the rest of time… Although she has a point, and a good one – I still had a little hope you wanted to be Rosie the Riveter – then could play dress up with her for a while. Seems she isn’t frilly enough.
– For Christmas – you got it! You anticipated Christmas and got into the full spirit of the season.  Last year you got Christmas, but really didn’t get it until it was time. This year, you were so very excited from mid-November on. Again, it is so wonderful to watch the excitement of the season through your eyes. Bonus, with the excitement came your first picture with Santa that didn’t involve me pushing you closer to him so you could be in the same picture, no tears and you even asked him a question about his reindeer and asked him for a Christmas gift. I know these are things I wish for, but I finally got it this year!

– We got to take a trip to Washington DC this year and go see the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian – you were in LOVE with the whole thing! I love how much passion you have for dinosaurs and learning about where they came from, how big they are and how they relate to us in our lives.

– Finally, for your birthday – the birthday that fills one whole hand! You asked if you could watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Reluctantly, Daddy and I agreed to get you up, let you watch the ball drop at our party, then send you back to bed. You were so very tired, but I could see that you were very curious what this “ball drop” thing was. Although you were so very tired, I could see that this meant something to you and would have been disappointed if you missed it. Even though you were tired, you still talk about it and I am very glad that we listened to you and let you do something we weren’t sure about. You will have to remind us of this again, I am sure. Just as you are new at this whole kid thing, Daddy and I are new at this whole parenting thing… so cut us a little slack would ya.

Your family birthday party was disappointing to you. Of course, it was on your birthday after the NYE ball drop and everyone was feeling very tired… and well… rough. One of your friends stayed the night before, so was able to come to your party. This year, you asked for your party to be at Bounce-n-Play. Initially, I didn’t see the beauty of taking you to the party, having all your friends, then leaving all the clean up there.. so we signed up. However, your family birthday party in the past has been a preview of your home birthday party with friends a few days later. There are usually games, but none planned this year. I am sorry for this, and will do better in the future.

– Since this whole “5 year old” thing has come into the house, you have been fighting a lot more. I have to say, I am not a fan. You have lost so many privileges that Daddy and I are having a hard time trying to figure out what else to take. I am not sure if you are going through a conflict of “baby to kid” and still wondering where your ever-changing boundaries are, but I do wish you would at least verbalize what you are thinking… so we have a small chance of catching up. Until then, Daddy and I must have daily conversations about what you are allowed to do or what has been taken away… sad that we can’t keep up. Maybe we will do a board with every privilege you have, then write a date on it for when you can have it again. Thankfully, you are loving all the “extra privileges” you get as a 5-year-old. You can now wash dishes (most of them) by your self, you can organize your toys by yourself (not just pick them up and put them in a pile together), you can sweep and mop (almost by yourself) and you think these are great privileges. You have also asked if you can earn extra money for extra chores. Daddy isn’t ready for all that quite yet, so we are working on it. It will come, my dear.

That is all I can think of for the time – I do hope to have more frequent updates for you as you grow and as we figure out how to parent you.

I love you very much,