Our little Biscuit turned five yesterday. Boy, we’ve had quite a ride with this spunky little five year old. But (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) even with all the crazy ups and downs of the Emmeline roller coaster, I still say it goes too fast. I’m not sure I’m ready for this girl to really grow up.
We had a great day. I mean a really great day. A magical kind of family day. The day I dreamed motherhood would be like all the time (then I woke up to reality).
Em, of course, planned the whole day out weeks in advance. She’s like that. A planner. We were all just along for the ride.
Breakfast of Jackson Soufflé (aka German Pancakes) and a pink smoothie, then Swim Clinic at the high school, then the New England Cartoon Festival at Symphony Hall, then home to open/play with presents, then a pizza dinner, then a family movie night. It really was a pretty perfect plan. Em’s Aunt KieKoo was in town, which thrilled Emmeline to no end. She adores Jeff’s sister Karen. It was so great to have her for Em’s big day. Em couldn’t resist opening a few of her presents at breakfast (even though it wasn’t part of the plan). She immediately put on the shirt that Hazel had bought her and a pair of her new high heels and slung her new Hello Kitty purse over her shoulder. She looked herself up and down and declared, “I look soooo put together!” She is quite the diva. After Swim Clinic (an awesome free clinic put on by the Malden High Swim team) we headed on the T down to Symphony Hall for the New England Classical Cartoon festival. This is a fabulously sneaky way to expose kids to the joys of classical music. Lure them in with Looney Tunes cartoons on the big screen at Symphony Hall and then hit them with a few fantastic concertos performed by fantastic youth orchestras. It’s actually a great fit, the classical music in those old cartoons is awesome, and it totally worked for my kids. They ate it up. Especially the birthday girl. She is really really into classical music right now. Here she is ^^ dreaming of her life as a violinist. She is memorized by this instrument, every time she notices a violin playing in anything she can point it out, and gets all animated.
She started Suzuki violin lessons in September and is loving playing the violin. She is meticulous and eager and really a joy to practice with (most of the time). I didn’t learn until a month into lessons that Lindsey Stirling was her motivation to learn the violin and that she mostly wants to play so that she can dance and play violin at the same time. Oh the things this little girl gets into her head! The other kids all sat mesmerized as they listened to the NEC Youth Orchestra and some “From the Top” musicians play. Here is Hazel listening to a piano/cello/violin trio play Brahms. Those kids were ages 11,12 and 13 and boy could they ever play. I always go to these things hoping that my kids will engage, that they’ll be inspired, that they’ll want to work hard. It takes so much work to get to the fun part of playing and instrument. I think seeing things like this helps them see that one day it really will be exhilarating. Ok, I could go on and on, but that’s a post for another day. Back to Em’s birthday. Em chose 5 Guys for her birthday lunch. Mostly because it was right next door to Symphony Hall, but also because it’s FIVE and Em is FIVE. She thought that was pretty cool. After lunch we waited in line to go into the “Instrument Petting Zoo.” It was totally disorganized and a long wait, but it was worth the hassle. My kids all got to handle and play new instruments. To see how they felt in their hands, to blow through their pipes and draw music from their strings. The volunteers were was fantastic and patient and really spent a lot of time with each child. I could tell that they were intent on sharing their love for their instrument with these children, in hopes it would spread. And I think it did. Charlie has been begging me ever since to start on Cello. Music to my ears. I love that instrument. Even Peter got to play a little Cello. He was delighted with it. Hazel loved playing the flute. Thought it was the best instrument there. Em insisted on waiting in line to play the violin. She acted like she didn’t know a thing when the guy handed her a violin. Not sure why, but I was chuckling. That teacher there was really amazing. Had a huge crowd of kids around him for hours, all screeching on little violins. He kept his cool, took genuine interest in each child, tried to pass on a love for the violin to each little curious soul. It was a beautiful thing to watch. We made it home in time to frost the cake that Em and Jeff had made the day before. Em had very specific ideas about how she wanted this cake to look at taste. I think she was happy with it. We opened more presents and had pizza and sang and blew out candles and stuffed ourselves with cake. But before I get too far with these funny candle blowing pictures (notice Peter) I have to stop and give a little shout out to Hazel who really made this birthday great for Emmeline. She started buying Em presents in August. She bought (with her own hard earned money) present after present and wrapped up anything precious to her that she knew Emmeline wanted. I think all in all she gave her about 7 presents. She made cards and decorated her bed. She was just a little angel of a sister. I love that Hazel (more about her and her awesome birthday back in September soon, I hope). Peter was certainly curious about this whole birthday thing. If anyone mentions birthdays he always informs them that his birthday is in March. Poor guy, march is a lifetime away for him. Celebrating with Em makes him want March to come sooner, I’m sure, but he’s doing a pretty good job waiting. Sorry there are so many of those, I just love the story of these four siblings that those pictures tell. Last, we all cuddled down in our cold basement to watch Monsters University. Em was cuddly and warm and leaned over two times during the movie to say “thank you for my click clack shoes.” Here’s a few things I’m loving about Em these days:
- Em is feisty. She has spunk and she just is who she is. No filter. She’s comfortable in her own skin, doesn’t really care (ever) what other people thing.
- Em is a great friend. She is so great at playing with anyone who comes into her space. She gets people going, invents games, organizes everyone and does it mostly in a pleasant not-too-bossy way.
- Em is a fantastic big sister. I don’t know what I’d do without her (or what I will do without her next year) while the big kids are at school. She is forever keeping Peter happy and engaged in something fun and often pretty educational. She gets him all organized in the morning, helps him find his clothes and make his bed, she does “emmeline school” with him and teaches him all kinds of things, she ‘reads’ to him and sings to him and gets him wrapped up in all kinds of imaginative play. She takes out his train set and builds tracks for him and puts it all away when she’s done. She has taught him to color, to cut, to play with play dou, to get dressed, to put his stuff away. I can only count a handful of times when she has been mad or frustrated at him (which is saying A LOT with this fiery girl!) Those two really love each other.
- Em has a brain totally unlike mine in that she always knows where everything is. If I can’t find my keys or my phone or the overdue library book Em always knows exactly where they are. She is always finding everyone’s missing shoes and homework folders and coats. She has such an orderly little brain.
- That orderly little brain also loves to organize her room and make her bed. This girl makes her bed so meticulously everyday. And she puts her clothes back in the right drawers (something that is way beyond both my big kids).
- She is quick as a whip. You really can’t put anything by this little girl. She listens to everything everyone does and is always in the know.
- She’s funny. She’s always making all of us laugh. And she has a silvery giggle that is contagious.
- I love the way Em sees the world. She goes into this mode sometime where she absorbs everything around her deeply and then tries to make sense of it out loud. When I really stop to listen to what is churning through her brain and then coming out, I am always astounded by her depth.
Can’t believe THAT magical little baby, that little captor at my breast, that funny little walker, that little baby big kid, that adorable little three year old, that funny little girl is now officially a Shumway big kid. She’s five.
I’m so happy this girl came into our lives 5 years ago. Life might be a little more peaceful without her, but boy would it be dull. She is a little beam of sparkly light in our world. We love you Em. Can’t wait to continues to see more of who you are.