Five! Milo is 5! / by Leslie

Milo has been waiting for this day since Christmas. It's been particularly painful this last month. He just, couldn't, wait. It's finally here though and he's so excited. Last night he was telling me to get the presents out of the closet and put them on the table for him and get the balloons. Bossy man, but he knows the routine now. Since he turned two, for his birthday morning, we set up the kitchen table with gifts from us, mylar balloons and cupcakes. This year, he knew exactly what to expect and wanted to make sure he wasn't disappointed.

He asked for a skateboard and a Harry Potter video game for the Nintendo DS. He's clearly not a toddler anymore who is just happy with the box, this kid is a real boy! 

Five is a big birthday. It marks the transition to kindergarten and in every way, Milo is just simply not little anymore. He's taller and thinner and there is very little chub left anywhere. He's physically strong and able to ride a bike and he's emotionally maturing too, aware of how his friends make him feel and wanting to know how others are feeling. 

I'm not the kind of parent to weep at my children growing up. I get wistful about it sometimes, but mostly I am as excited as they are for new challenges and stages. It does seem like yesterday though, that I was laboring with him in my belly. It's so weird how time works when you are a parent. It goes by so fast, and then other moments seem to slow to the point where a minute feels like a day.

So much changes when our children are small. The first year is practically a blur. Things have slowed down a bit, but to think of how much Milo has grown in five years is amazing. To think that I have been a parent for five years is amazing. I often feel like an imposter and then other times like I could write a book. What is that phenomenon?

Oh how I can gush about Milo. He's the best kid. (Aren't they all?) He's so thoughtful and caring. He asks Chris how his day was at work and if he had lunch with Uncle John. He'll watch me do something like make my bed and then he will go off and make his own bed. He seems to understand when I have had enough and will say things like, "It's hard to have two kids, isn't it Mom?" He'll put his hand on Quinn's cheek and look at him so lovingly. It's true, this kid is full of empathy. He also has such a base understanding of things. I asked him why he has to run around like a maniac and play rough with Quinn. He told me because he is a boy. When I get frustrated with how long it takes him to get in his car seat he says, "Mom! I am just a kid!" He's always snapping me back to his reality and I am a better parent for listening to him.

He talks about his future children, wondering what he will name them and if he can have the Harry Potter books so that he can read to them like I read to him. He worried about me when I was sick and told me to stop reading because it sounded like my throat hurt. He's a nurturer, that's for sure.

Of course he also fights with his brother and melts into a heap when I ask him to clean up his toys. His legs get tired and he can't walk or there are simply too many toys for him to clean up by himself. He's hungry all day and then at dinner, not so much. Though he has gotten to be a much better eater and I really shouldn't complain about that. But mostly, and I say this sincerely, he is very cooperative, he listens and he makes me proud.

I look forward to seeing him grow up. I wonder what his future holds. He changes his future job daily. A construction worker, a soldier, a scientist, an archeologist, a painter, a rock star, a cook. They are all roles that he loves. It's no doubt he will be a parent, maybe a teacher, even a doctor and not because of the money, but because he can take care of people. 

I hope he is always as happy and content as he is today, on his fifth birthday, with presents and new toys and balloons and pancakes for breakfast. I hope that he finds love in someone who takes as much care of him as he will them. I hope he finds his passion in a job that he loves. I hope all his dreams come true.