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Look Who's Five!
Alex turns FIVE today! We're throwing her a "surprise" birthday party at a local playground, this afternoon. See a slide show of her day, which started at 6 AM, and get a dad's perspective on what he thinks of his five-year-old daughter.
Our Little Girl is Five Years Old
Yesterday morning, Alex helped Dad bake her birthday cake. She got out the eggs, butter, flour and even managed to stir up the cake batter. But what she really wanted, was to "help" decorate it.
Last night, Alex - AKA "the Oop" to family and close friends - got her chance. While Dad layered on the frosting and made a couple of colored batches for the lettering, Alex feasted on the sugary dregs. No wonder she had a hard time hitting her normal 8 PM bedtime! (Of course, Mom had to help too - *cough* with the frosting).
Alex's birthday started dark and early this morning, because Rachel is working a day shift and wakes at 5:30 AM. Alex is off to day-care today, then kindergarten, then day-care again, then "the surprise"! (Mom has planned a birthday party at "Jump'n Jimminy's", a kid's play palace in Nanaimo) Alex doesn't know anything about it! Her cousins (Toby and Ella) and her aunt are even coming over from Vancouver and will be there for the festivities!
Our little girl is five. When did that happen?
For a slide show and more details about Alex's "big day", carry on ...
The Morning "Celebration"
Because of the surprise party, we thought we'd do a "quiet celebration" at home, before Alex jotted off to day-care. We didn't dive into Dad's home-made birthday cake, since 6 AM seemed a tad early to be consuming a ton of sugar, but we did let Alex open gifts from her grandparents and her mailed birthday cards.
She opened cards from her god parents (Kim, Kurt, Aly & Garret Easthouse), Grandma and Grandpa Kimler, Gran & Granddad Pilley and her Great Aunt Karen. Thanks for thinking of the Oop!
She also opened a couple of gifts. Grandma and Grandpa Kimler sent her a lovely new shirt (which she's wearing today AND it's photo day, so you'll be getting a 5x7 of the Oop decked out in her new garb ... depending on whether she elects to keep her sweater on). They also sent a large, nicely illustrated book of Fairy Tales (many of which are "new" to the Oop!) Gran and Granddad Pilley gave Alex a cross-stitch, as is tradition, with the date, her name and a Nursery Book character (Tom Kitten), by Beatrix Potter. The cross-stitch was accompanied by a small book with a title by the same name.
Happy Birthday, Oop! I love you, little buddy.
Gosh, it's hard to believe that the little blob (I'll leave out the graphic details of where the little blob came from) is now five years old. She's much bigger, having grown nearly 3 inches since her last birthday. She's now in school too, which is both exciting and frustrating. (Exciting because the Oop is a social creature and loves school. Frustrating because she's now picking up everyone else's bad habits, attitude and language.)
We wonder (a) what she'll be like when she's 13 (because she can be an ornery cur now) and (b) will she be a leader or a follower? (We hope a leader - of the right kind - but concerned that she's so eager to "fit in", she'll be a follower.
Gone are the cute little sayings we used to hear, like "pony hair" (instead of "pony tail") and "yesternight" (instead of "last night"). She seems to be getting a more firm grasp of the language, even though her enunciation still leaves us wondering, a lot of the time, "What the heck are you saying, child?"
On the plus side, she'll pipe up with some new phrase that she's picked up from somewhere and what's even more surprising, is that her context of usage is usually spot-on. The other afternoon, Rachel reported that she was explaining why something wasn't going to turn out quite the way Alex expected. The response from the Oop was, "I can work with that, Mom!"
Alex now has a social life and activities. Besides kindergarten buddies, "play-care" buddies, Alex likes the guys at the fire hall and the neighbor kids (Jack, Sidney, Luke and Adam). She's forever saying, "I'm going next door to play with Sidney" (Sidney is 14 years old and often baby-sits Alex. While Alex adores playing with Sidney, it's not always reciprocated, especially since Sidney has many after-school activities, friends, homework and is just about to discover "boys". Still, to her credit, she's very fond of Alex and is very patient, even coming over sometimes, asking to "play" with Alex.
Alex is still swimming (now private lessons twice a week). She was getting a tad lost in the "group" thing, so we thought our money would be better utilized with a slightly-more expensive 1-on-1 thing. Alex has just joined "Sparks" (youngest version of "Girl Scouts" in Canada). She's got a cute little pink t-shirt she wears and a pink sash. Each time I see her head off to their meeting (one night a week for an hour) I think she's supporting the fight for breast cancer!
The roll of Mom and Dad as taxi drivers has begun!
Alex can be a very thoughtful and diplomatic girl. She was gushing over the cake Dad made, saying it's best because, "it's made with love." (Personally, I think she was just vying for more icing, like a drug addict would say anything for her next fix!) Still, she'll pop up with something that's so completely thoughtful and appropriate, we think that she's wise beyond her years.
Don't be fooled, the Oop can be a typical five-year-old too. She told me the other night, "I'm never going to play with you again!" (Forget why, but she didn't like something I'd done). I was relived, however, when five minutes later, she announced, "Dad, remember when I said I wouldn't play with you? Well, I we can play together if you want."
Yep ... definitely a girl ... changing her mind at a moment's notice!
The Oop loves watching television and watches too much (completely her fault of course). Mind you, she's still watching "Tree Channel", which is aimed at very young kids and many of the shows are edutainional. Odd fact: The Oop doesn't turn the television on by herself. She always asks us first. (Not something we've enforced, so we deem it "pleasantly odd").
Like most kids, Alex loves doing art work and hates cleaning her room. However, when she does clean her room, it's generally well done (no stuff under the bed, things semi-neatly put away, all things picked up, etc.)
Alex isn't very athletic. In fact, she's a tad uncoordinated. Not a strong runner (she looks like she's gonna topple over any moment). I was, however, impressed when she grabbed her tricycle last month and rode it down the hill (legs off to the side) into the pasture. She fell at the bottom, each time, but popped up, yelling, "I OKAY!" ... then back up the hill to do it again!
You GO girl!
Alex still loves helping out, but not as much as she used to.
"Alex," we'll ask, "Do you want to set the table for dinner?"
"No thank you," she'll reply.
"Urm ... I wasn't really asking ... " we say.
"OooooK aaaaay" she'll say in disgust, then trundles off to the drawer for the cutlery.
Yep ... our Oop ... a not-so-typical, typical five-year-old!
She's sure gonna be surprised by her "surprise" birthday party!! (Festivities begin at 4:30 PM)
The Party at Jump'n Jimminy's
Alex's "surprise" birthday party wasn't meant to be a surprise. It only worked out that way because her Aunt Susan called, saying that they might be able to attend. (We didn't want to get Alex's hopes up that her cousin Toby, and maybe Ella, would be coming ... so kept this news to ourselves.
In the afternoon, I picked Alex up from day-care at her normal time. I was tasked with getting Alex to the party, but also had to take Lauren, the day-care lady's daughter.
"Hmmm," I thought, "surely Alex will think something's up."
I told Alex that we had to do Lisa a favor and take Lauren to a party at Jump'n Jimminy's.
"Oh, OKAY," Alex said, "Can we go in, so I can play Dad? Jump'n Jimminy's is fun!"
"We'll see," I said, in a fatherly tone, thinking, "Wow ... this is gonna work!"
When we arrived at Jump'n Jimminy's, I capitulated to Alex's insistent request to "stay a while" and admitted her as a regular party guest (We were charged for two people, the birthday girl - Alex - who oddly, never showed up and this guest, coincidentally named "Alex". At the end, they realized the mistake, but it was too late to refund our money and we ended up getting 2 free passes, instead).
Anyway, Alex was in! In her excitement, she blew by Mom (and her aunt Susan) on her way to the play structure. We ran after her and caught up to her just about the time she spotted some of her friends!
I think Alex was surprised to see her friends, but didn't yet realize that they were there to celebrate her birthday!
There were lots of hugs all around and then - as only kids can do - she accepted her good fortunes by diving into the play structure with her buddies. They ran around, climbing, screaming, running, spinning and sliding for the next hour or so, as all the other party guests trickled in.
A couple of other parties were taking place at the same time, so there was no shortage of kids, bouncing from toy to toy.
Eventually, our party was called into one of three "party areas", to eat, cut the cake and open presents. There was a bit of a SNAFU initially, because the Jump'n Jimminy's staff tried to place us into the same room as a huge party (they have 3 party "areas" but two are shared). This other party was so huge they were practically taking up the whole area. If we were forced to "share", we'd surely be swallowed by this larger, expanded party.
Rachel told the staff we would be moving to the 3rd area (especially since she was the first of three to book the event). So we slide the plates and cups into the third (and more private) area and began festivities.
Kids had their choice of hot dogs or pizza, iced tea or lemonade, along with cupcakes and a veggie plate. (The veggie plate was supposed to be for the adults, all of whom sat at one side of the room, but it wasn't practical not to share with the kids).
There was a bit of a delay with the food, but eventually, everyone ate and then it was time for cake. (The cake isn't provided by Jump'n Jimminy's and Rachel had purchased a large, pan cake with balloons, Alex's name and a bunch of 5's written all over it). The kids (adults mostly) sang "Happy Birthday" and Alex took about the same number of breaths, to blow out the spare array of five candles. (Dad's just thinking of how many would have to be on his cake, if there was one per year!)
I had to leave, at this point, because I was already late for an "air brakes" course at the fire hall (an air-brakes endorsement is required to drive the two large pumper trucks).
After cake it was time to open presents and boy oh boy, did Alex get some great presents! Imogen gave Alex a "princess" cape and arm covers, which her Mom - Haley - had sewn. Scarlett (Imogen's sister) gave Alex a set of pretty, plastic shoes, to complete the "princess" dress-up gift! (We've been hearing a lot of "click-click" about the house, since, as Alex pretends to be a princess). She also got a bunch of "Polly Pockets" dolls ("pocket-sized" rubbery dolls) that came with accessories like: a car, wardrobe chest, couch, pet kitties, etc. She's been playing with those a lot! (Thanks Vada and Zoe!)
Other gifts include: (crap, I can't find Rachel's list of gifts, which she used to send out "Thank You" cards). I'll have to ask her about it when she comes home.
Well, that kind of borks my conclusion to this wordy tale of Alex's big 5th birthday story!
By the time I got home from the fire hall, around 9:30 PM, Toby, Ella and Alex were all just heading to bed. Alex was still on a sugar high, but her little body was giving out and she was well past the point of being tired.
"I'm NOT tired," she wailed, with a toothbrush in her mouth. "I don't wanna go to bed in your bedroom, I wanna sleep with Ella, in my room!
(The only way we were going to get Alex to settle down was to separate her from her cousin of nearly the same age. Toby was sleeping downstairs, with his mom, so it was only Ella we needed to worry about.)
We did manage to get Alex into our bed and wouldn't you know, our little five-year-old was asleep within five minutes!
Alex had one heck of a long, exciting birthday!