On the eve of her fifth birthday, RR had a crisis. She did not want to be five. She didn’t want to remain four but no, she didn’t want to be five. I’m sure this was my fault (isn’t it always your mother’s fault?) because after bedtime stories she curled up in my arms and I told her about all the things that she will be able to do when she’s five.
You’ll be able to swim and you’ll be tall and you’ll be a kindergartener and you will swing high on the swings and you will laugh harder and be stronger and you will…
You can see the mistake. I saw it, at least, somewhere in between you’ll be able to ride a bike and you’ll get to do work all day long at school. This child is not a person who wants to learn to pedal anything. Not even the promise of work all day could lessen the bike blow*. It’s more than that though. She’s our baby. She’s not an old soul. She’s not the sort of person you look at and think: this person has seen multitudes. She is fresh and wide-eyed and new, and well, bikes are dangerous creatures best observed from a distance.
But like it or not, she is five and I tell you, she is going to seize five and twist it into pretzels.
*We didn’t get her a bike. It has taken five years but we have learned at least one thing.