My youngest child is now 6. I realize at my age I shouldn’t be writing that sentence. I should have written that sentence, at best, 10 years ago. I have officially put myself in a position to think the phrase “I am an old mothah” fairly regularly.
I felt it quite acutely when we went to A&M this past weekend to see Ryan for parents’ weekend and most of the other parents just had their college aged kids to deal with, or maybe a high school sibling at home, or at worst a pesky middle school sibling to contend with. Nobody else seemed to have any preschoolers on board.
And that’s another issue that keeps surfacing. We made the decision to give Riley an extra year of preschool this year, yet everyone who hears that she’s six assumes she’s in Kindergarten or even first grade. Which by calendar, she should be. I realize that. But we decided she needed another “growth year” in preschool for her social and emotional development, and we’ve been pleased with the year she’s having.
It’s just weird finding myself saying “Nope, she’s still in preschool” while fighting the urge to sound apologetic about it. Weird, because I am NOT sorry about having done this. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “I wish we hadn’t waited to send our child to Kindergarten; we should have pushed him/her sooner.” But you sure will hear people with kids struggling in 3rd or 5th or 7th grade say, ”Maybe we should have waited.”
I don’t know why it’s any sort of big deal. I KNOW we’re not the only people in the world to “red shirt” our child. Can’t wait til she’s a head taller than all the other 4th graders and kicking serious ass on the football field in 7th grade. Our plan for her full domination will be realized some day soon. Muahahahahahaha!
But pre-K5, Kindergarten or 1st Grade, she is now 6. I do have to say that her turning 6 didn’t hit me quite as hard as her turning 5 did last year, at least not from a milestone number standpoint. 5 was a hard one for me to get my head around. 5 seemed farther from 4, than 6 does from 5. I realize the math is the same (and I went to Kindergarten twice!) which means it’s all mental, but it’s how I felt.
At any rate, she turned SIX on March 22nd. And here she is first thing in the morning of turning said 6. Pretty much to the minute of the time she was born. She was less peaceful looking than this when I saw her 6 years ago though.
Here she is smiling as I’m trying to wake her up by singing the Happy Birthday song in some weird voice. I always sing the Happy Birthday song weird.
I was sort of in violation of orders at this point because before she went to bed the night before her birthday, she had said “Make sure the first thing you say to me tomorrow is ‘Happy Birthday’ okay, Mom?” Say, sing, whatevs.
Here she is trying to smile for the camera, but her eyes wouldn’t fully open.
After a good breakfast and tooth brushing, she was much more alert and posed for a picture in the car, wearing her new birthday clothes:
And showing off her new Sporty Shorty Skechers that she got from Michael. I let her open this gift early so she could wear them to school:
And guess what we made to take to school for the Preschool snack in honor of her birthday?
A big mess, mostly, that’s what I made at 7:00 in the morning. But the final product was cute, and mostly tasty. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes:
I like the way they look, but they always taste a bit chewy to me. I thought that making them fresh-as-can-be in the morning with all newly-bought ingredients would prevent that, but apprently baking cupcake batter in an ice cream cone makes the ice cream cone a tad chewy, whether made fresh with a new box of cones or with a box of cones found in the very back of the pantry, which was what I had used on the test batch the week before. Yes I said test batch.
As for the decorations on top, I thought about buying maraschino cherries as the finishing touch on the cupcakes, as they were supposed to look like little sundaes-on-a-cone, but I feared the drippy mess by the time we drove them over to school (even in the very awesome holder that Mike had fashioned from a shirt box and a box knife) so I put red Dots candies on top. Looked cute, and it’s a tasty candy, right? Apparently not so popular amongst the preschool set. Riley said only 2 or 3 of the kids ate them, she herself NOT being one. I asked if the kids threw them away and she said that one of the teachers had walked around picking the Dots off the cupcakes of the kids who didn’t want them, and eating them herself. I would SOOO have been that teacher! haha
After school I took Riley to the mall to ride the carousel. Because that’s our tradition. Tradition? What tradition? Well, SHE said it was. Last year she didn’t have school on her birthday, and I wanted to do something kind of fun, so I took her to the mall in the morning to ride the carousel. Apparently one in a row is a tradition. So we had to follow suit and do it again this year.
On the carousel:
And I bought her a lollipop at the Hello Kitty store, just like last year’s tradition! And we found a kiosk that was going out of business. Everything was one dollar! So she picked out this:
Pretty, huh? That will only remain a tradition if we find Dollar Kiosks again in subsequent years.
Home again, home again. Mike got home early and we went to eat at Culvers and then came home to have Princess cupcakes. A crown on the big one and the number 6 on the rest. Man were THEY good! My brain was interpreting the age number as a challenge–must. eat. 6.
How’s this for a perfect balloon?
And blowing out the candles after singing. Actually I videotaped the singing and blowing part, so I had to re-light 2 candles to catch the blowing on camera for a still picture. So what you’re about to see is actually a re-enactment… shhhhhh…. (you know, there’s no reason I needed to tell anyone that…I have such a penchant for full disclosure)
She got some cute gifts, including this doll that REALLY SWIMS ALL BY HERSELF from Mike’s parents:
And her first pair of roller skates from Mommy and Daddy:
Which she immediately strapped on, along with all of the padding that came with the skates and helmet:
And headed out to the garage to skate with Daddy. Love this pic:
And here she takes a break to field a Birthday Phone call from Aunt Lisa and her cousins, Lauren and Jason.
She started to get the hang of it and didn’t need Daddy QUITE so close:
She played out there for about an hour. Then came in and scarfed another fanTAStic cupcake! Good birthday day!
3 days later was her birthday party. She had decided she wanted a bowling birthday party and after checking out the pricing for various places, Main Event actually worked out to be the least expensive. Not cheap by any means, but the least gouging of the options presented.
Here she is ready for the party to start.
Oh good, they’re expecting us!
I posted the picture of that sign on Facebook and had people ask “Who was Leo?” cuz he sure looked like he got preferential billing on there! I have no clue.
Michael liked all the noise of the place… I think he was the only one, ha:
Kaiden was ready to get her bowling game on:
And so they bowled:
After bowling, they all washed their hands and marched single file to the party room. Seriously, they stayed in formation.
Behold! The Party Room!
Riley had said she wanted Hearts and Princesses for her party, so that was what I went with. Pink, purple and white all around. Happy Birthday banners down the middle of the table and… wait, can you see those little table decorations? Look reeeeeally close.
No? Well, they started as terra cotta planting pots which she and I painted pink to look like this:
Then we glued on some BLING:
Added some hearts and bejeweled flowers on sproingy wires:
As well as some more bling:
And party shreddy paper stuff, so they looked like this:
They were cute, but maybe a little too small for the tables. I don’t always get “scale” right when I decorate. Luckily, Riley didn’t judge me too harshly. The rest of you picky party goers can kiss my crafty bohiney.
The kids all sat down at the two tables:
And they raised their hands politely in response to questions like “Who wants more cheese pizza?” and “Who wants lemonade?” and “Who got pizza sauce on their party clothes?”
Michael ate a bunch of pizza (see? mid chew)… Hi, Grandma and Grandpa!
And here’s the birthday princess, ready for her cake and presents!
I know, you’ve been wondering about the cake. Did I make it? Did I buy it? Did I fret over the decision for much longer than is healthy or warranted considering her age? The answer to all of the above is: YES! And after all was said and done, I pretty much did the same as last year and had a bakery (Tom Thumb) make the cake, frost it plain white, and stop there. Then it was up to Riley and I to take this:
add some of this:
and a whole bunch of other stuff, including more sproingy wires with bling, hearts made from HOMEMADE fondant (oh yes I did) to create… this:
I found the Princess discs at Party City. They’re actually (more unnecessary full disclosure here) pencil sharpeners with princess faces on them, but when they were pressed into the cake, they just looked like plastic decorations. I didn’t like the green ones (because I was sticking with pink, purple and white ONLY) so I covered them with pictures of RILEY AS A PRINCESS. See, here she is as Cinderella at a birthday party last year:
And as Belle at Disney World (and Halloween, but this pic was from Disney World):
Here you can see her “cameo” to the left actually in the cake:
And here is my beautiful princess with her custom Hearts N Princess cake:
Custom. That’s right, folks, you can’t buy this in stores! There’s a reason for that.
We had a few minutes to kill after we ate cake, so she opened her gifts:
I took a picture of her with each of her gifts and the party guest who gave her the gift. I gave a copy of those pictures to the guests with their thank you notes. I won’t post them all here… except for this one because it’s a truly awful picture of her and it makes me laugh.
Seriously we have laughed and laughed at that picture. When we put them all up on the computer after the party and looked through them, even she laughed at herself, and TOTALLY joined in with the inappropriate bathroom related jokes Mike made at her expense. She’s a good sport. Plus, you know, pooping is funny.
Okay, okay, I’ll be a good mom and post a better picture of her with one of her classmates. No toilet necessary:
After all of the individual pics, we took a couple of pictures of the whole group, one regular:
There were supposed to be 4 more kids, but a horrible virus swept through Riley’s class 2 days before and knocked a few out. Riley herself had had the bug on Friday night, but was fine by Saturday night. 3 kids got it Saturday night and missed the party on Sunday. Then 3 of the kids in the picture ended up getting sick and missing school days later in the week. As bugs go, it was pretty mild as it was mostly just a fever and body aches (although a couple of the showoffs actually vomited with their bout) but you still can’t go to a party or school with a 101 fever!
Riley said thank you to all of the kids that had come, and passed out her “parting gifts” as I call them. We didn’t do full party bags, just tied all of this together, and gave one to everyone along with the balloons from the party room:
These were the girl packs, while boys got a little disc shooter toy in place of the solar flower. I didn’t take a pic of those. Not sure why.
As part of the Main Event party package, each of the kids also got a $10 game card to use in the arcade. So we all dispersed to play games such as this:
Until finally, exhausted, we made our way to the car and home. We ate some leftover cake… and I think we had popcorn for dinner. Cuz that’s how I roll when I’m out of gas.
We got most of Riley’s new toys unboxed and sorted. She got some really awesome gifts. And she spent a couple of hours winding down, building these lego sets.
They’re part of the new (controversial) Legos Friends Line. That’s their official name, but they’ve been referred to as Legos For Girls as that’s how they’re being marketed. Some parents of girls feel that girls are being pigeonholed with pink and purple products, when, they claim, they are just as capable of playing with red, blue, and yellow Legos. I understand that.
I also understand that many of the lego sets prior to these Legos Friends were designed with themes that are traditionally sought out by boys: Star Wars, Pirates, Batman and other Superheroes, etc. Not that girls CAN’T play with these, but they often don’t.
Riley has played with the regular colored Legos that we have upstairs to create a few random buildings, but this is the first time she’s shown an interest in following the step by step instructions to create specific items, in this case a Dog Show Arena, and a Treehouse that came with a Cat, respectively. Her time commitment and attention to detail was impressive.
She loves animals. I guess the Lego people could have met in the middle and made traditional colored Legos with animal themes. I would think boys would like those too. Instead it took the pink and purple palette to get some animal kits created.
I can see both sides of this issue. I’m going to err on the side of “Fine Motor Skill Enhancement” and “Following Directions in Sequence” and not let the color scheme bother me.
The whole thing is mostly a non issue, though, as I know her days of Pink and Purple are numbered anyway. She won’t be asking for Hearts and Princesses forever. Nor for snap together Dog Shows. Like many of us girls, she’ll only be frothy and pink for a little while, then she’ll move on bearing no scars. Life has a way of balancing out the colors of our lives.
I don’t know what the next step on her path will be. I’m content to take our time finding out. In the meantime I’ll enjoy the sweet yet unpredictable confectionary madness that is six.
Happy Birthday, Princess.
**(Apologies To A. A. Milne)