Before you dive into this post, PLEASE click play on the audio above! This song was a highlight of our year, something we sing every single day, and it sums up this beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl who is growing like a weed! If you’re looking for a special gift to give to someone you love, I can not recommend these special, personalized songs enough. Anyway, enjoy Coco’s song while you read about our birthday girl!
I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I have a five year old. It just feels… different. Like I’m no longer a “new mom” and I should be this seasoned professional parent by now or something. The truth of the matter is, the one thing that’s annoyingly true about motherhood is that all of the old adages were spot on. There’s a reason your mom had those weird signs and sticker decals everywhere that carried sentiments like, “Don’t blink” and “The days are long but the years are short.” I hate when those things are true… alas, they are.
Oh, this girl. She is a rollercoaster of emotions with the majority of them channeling pure joy and excitement. She wakes me up first most days and asks me if she can sing me a song. Usually it’s a song she learned in school and there’s always a few words or phrases that are delightfully wrong which just adds to the listening experience (except when it’s 4AM and she wants to sing it a few times to get it just right.)
She’s a curious kid who has a lot of beautiful questions like, “Does it hurt when you lose your tooth? Where does the blood go? And how does it grow back?” Her confidence level has soared in the past year and she can boldly ask for her favorite Starbucks order without caution. (“A blueberry muffin, cold, please!”)
She’s blooming in front of our eyes. From her love of organization — don’t put one of her beloved Tonies in the wrong spot, please — to her determination to nail her daily chores. The girl is very particular (she takes after her dad) and meticulous (also, dad) but charmingly charismatic and loves being the center of attention (hi, it’s me in a little human’s body!) From making her own bed to laying out her clothes for the next day including her accessories, she is totally becoming a little girl and growing before our eyeballs. She loves doing “Brain Quest” trivia during meal time, is starting to write words and sounding out letters to learn how to read. She also counts to 100 (albeit with the whole 1, 2, skip a few style) and is a sponge for learning these days.
It’s wild how you can experience so many lasts and not even realize it until one day you look at your life as a parent and it’s entirely changed. Her independence means she doesn’t call on us for every little thing (like going potty!) and it’s incredibly bittersweet to think through all of the things you are no longer needed for.
Highlights of This Last Year
This past year was filled with so many meaningful memories with our girl. One of our biggest intentions this year was to get some really intentional one-on-one time with Coco and one of Coco’s favorite things to do in the world is travel. The girl talks about all the places we’ve been together in astonishing detail and she loves a good plane ride (especially when she gets to watch a movie!)
Drew took her on a weekend adventure to the Mall of America where they stayed in the hotel, rode on some rollercoasters, ate at Rainforest Cafe, visited the aquarium, and swam in the hotel pool. The photos from that weekend adventure are priceless and she is still talking about it often. I got to take her to Chicago (which thankfully is a quick direct flight from us) where we stayed at the Four Seasons and did things like eat room service noodles in bed, swim in the pool for hours on end, visit the National Museum of Ice Cream, and enjoy the city.
These trips are something we hope to make an annual thing with each of the girls and something I hope to do until I’m old and gray with them. A focused one-on-one weekend of pure enjoyment and memory making. It was the start of something good, something really good.
Her 5 Favorite Must-Haves at Age 4
Her Tonies Box: Honestly, this is our most used toy of all time. One time we thought her charging cord died and we didn’t know what to do because this “toy” is a staple in our lives. She uses it every single day, usually multiple times per day. It’s essentially a little speaker box and you can set different character figurines on top of it and it’ll play music and tell stories without having a screen. Coco loves listening to the stories! If she wakes up before 7AM (which is basically every single day) we set her up with her favorite Tonies and she’ll listen to stories for about an hour. She also listens during her “quiet time” on weekends and before bed. It’s 1,000% Coco’s top toy/activity.
This chest: I was looking for a solution for the girls keepsakes since now that we have a five year old and are collecting more things that I want to eventually pass down to her someday, like her favorite “classic” outfits and her artwork she creates. When I got these personalized chests, Coco was so excited to add things to it, organize everything inside, and lock it up. We’ve had to ensure she doesn’t lose the key (wink!) but it’s been something that she loves just as much as I do. I imagine someday sending it home with her when she’s an adult and having a little time capsule of all of the things she loves.
These dresses: We have them in 3 colors, different sleeve styles, and multiple sizes because she wears them all of the time (and tries to wear the spaghtetti strap style in the winter.) She loves all things tulle so we’ve had to learn how to launder loads of tulle every week from the tutus to dresses. These are soft (not scratchy!) and super affordable! Her closet is literally a tulle explosion and gifrlfriend lives for it.
This brain activity: This is kind of funny because growing up my mom would do Brain Quest with us as kids as we cleaned up the kitchen after a meal — genius move, mom! Now every morning before school and every night during dinner, Coco wants to do Brain Quest. It’s her one request and she loves answering the little questions. It’s such a throwback, but I’m so glad they still exist.
This chore chart: Our girl loves and craves having her own special “responsibilities” around the house, and as a kid who swore I’d never make own children have chores, I now have a daughter who is begging to have chores! She loves putting a little magnet that says, “Bravo!” next to each daily accomplishment, from brushing her teeth to making her own bed to feeding our dog. She loves checking off a task and getting an “end of day review”. I swear, parenting is literally just a reflection of who you were as a kid with a twist, so this has been a fun one for us!
I asked Coco 21 questions to get her current answers:
- Favorite Colors: Pink, purple, gold, and yellow.
- Something she loved doing this year: Being at our old house and playing in the backyard.
- Did you go on any airplanes: “I goed on one for Arizona and I went to Fiji when I was a little baby because my mom and dad take care of me when I was there.”
- Favorite Memory: “When I watched Quinnie in the hospital and when she got born.” (Which was two years ago, lol.)
- Favorite Song: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Ba Ba Black Sheep, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Favorite Food: “Strawberries and all the fruits but not pears because I haven’t tried them yet.”
- Favorite Movie: “Over the Moon”
- Favorite Book: Little Red Riding Hood
- Favorite Saying: “That my birthday is coming up!”
- Best Friends: Elise, Summer, Ariella, and Vidar
- What makes you really happy: “When it’s my birthday and my ears get to get pierced.”
- What do you love doing with daddy: “Playing with him and getting energy for the day.”
- Favorite thing to do with mommy: “Blowing bubbles outside at the lake house and splashing and having fun in the water for days!”
- What are you excited about right now: “I’m excited about when my ears get pierced and I’m excited about that because they will just hurt for a second.”
- If someone was sad what should someone do: “I’d cheer them up and sit by them for lunch.”
- Who do you sleep with at night: “Crystal and sometimes I sleep with my buddy, Cupcake. Her nickname is Cupcake.”
- What do you want for Christmas: “I want jewelry and ice skates to go iceskating on our pond at our house in the woods.”
- Tell me about your sister: “My sister Quinnie is very nice, but sometimes she be’s mean and hits me but I still like her anyway. I feel ‘good’ about her.”
Happy 5th Birthday, My Sweet Girl
You woke up next to me in my bed this morning at 6AM and asked if you could sing me some songs. They included: “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Five Little Pumpkins,” and the cute blessing song you sing at school and includes a verse in Spanish. If that’s not a great way to wake up, I’m not sure what is. This morning while eating breakfast we watched as the clouds turned pink through the window and a song played in the background about miracles and I looked at you and said, “You know you’re a miracle, right?” It’s impossible to explain the uncertainty we faced and the darkness that happened before you came. You are human sunshine and a constant reminder that the waiting seasons aren’t wasted, they are worth it.
Watching you grow and become the unique child you are inspires me to connect with who I used to be! Every morning before I send you off to school we say these words and you embody each and every one of them. “I am brave. I am strong. I am confident. I am capable. I am kind. I am smart. I love myself. I love others. And today is going to be the best day ever!” And as your mom, my goal is to make every day the best one, because it’s one more day I get to spend watching you grow and evolve and become. I love you to the moon and back and always and forever. I love you with all of my love.