A very proud Claire turned five today. She is excited to be one year older all of the sudden. Leading up to her birthday, she had asked me if she would get taller when she turned five, since her five year old friends tend to be taller. She was sort of interested when I told her she gets a little tiny bit taller every day.
Her birthday fell on a boring old Monday this year. She had actually spent the previous four days at home for Thanksgiving, patiently awaiting her birthday. I had been tempted to let her open one of her presents early over the long weekend, but I held off, assuming that would set a dangerous precedent. I can just hear, “Please Daddy! It’s almost my birthday” next year.
We decided to push her big birthday party to following weekend, and for tonight let Claire pick where to eat for dinner after we picked up her and Molly from school. She was initially overwhelmed by the decision. She thought briefly about going to Jason’s Deli because they have hot dogs and free ice cream. But she decided against it because the ice cream would spoil appetite for birthday cake after dinner. She settled on McDonald’s, mostly because of the playground.
We ordered hamburgers and went out to the playground seating. So we sat out there on the dark playground alone as a family at 6 pm on Monday night. It was a little odd, but Claire was happy, and Molly was really excited about the whole thing. Pretty soon, a girl Claire’s age and her little brother showed up, along with their mom and dad. Claire went to the girl and said her usual, “Do you want to play with me?” And of course within a minute there was a lot of running and screaming and laughing. Claire got excited enough to climb all the way up the tall, dark, plastic tower and slide down the pitch black covered slide several times. This was unusually brave for Claire, who would normally be hesitant to climb the tower even when well lit.
We eventually turned loose a very interested Molly, who immediately crawled over to the bottom of the slide and tried to crawl up it, never mind incoming kids twice her size. Molly was overjoyed to get a shot at the slide, and she kept frantically trying to climb up the slippery slope and let herself slide down. With our help, she got to slide down a few feet at a time. She was overjoyed, and was having a great time celebrating with Claire.
Once we got home, we put an exhausted Molly right to sleep and did presents and cake with Claire. We gave Claire a little purple stuffed kitty with an unusually long furry tail, and an Annie costume. She had been going through an Annie obsession lately, and had been asking to be an “Annie actor” a lot, specifically asking for an Annie dress, an Annie locket, and tap dance shoes (by which I think she meant black dressy shoes). We thought this would be the perfect gift, and she was anxious to try it on. Once she got it on, though, for whatever reason, she froze up and started to look very awkward and uncomfortable. We really felt bad for her. I don’t think I have ever seen her look that uncomfortable in all her life, and why will always remain a mystery. The wig was really bad and didn’t really look like Annie; maybe that had something to do with it. Anyways, it was not a loss in the end. She would go on to wear that outfit many times over the next few weeks, but she would never perform any Annie songs or dances in it. She just liked to put in on after school and curl up on the couch and watch TV in it. Whatever makes our five-year-old Claire happy!