Independence Day

Today Chloe turns 6.

Hard to believe another year has passed.  Last year I wrote about how Chloe had essentially started to come out of her shell.  I think its safe to say that she obliterated that shell this year.

“Mommy, what do I need to do, right now, to make sure I don’t have a baby?”

I know what you’re thinking.  6 is probably too young to have a conversation about birds and bees.  I agree.  We didn’t.  In case you don’t know her, Chloe isn’t talking about getting pregnant.  She certainly doesn’t understand that concept (as far as I know).  She knows that babies grow in mommies’ bellies and then the doctor takes them out.  She’s not saying she doesn’t want to have babies at some point, just not today.  You get it.  I mean, she’s literally just 6 and has like, 1st grade and stuff coming up.

Chloe is, in my estimation, one of the more introspective and analytical kids I know.  She is a puzzle-solver, but not in the traditional sense as much as that she wants to know how everything works and always be prepared.  If she doesn’t fully understand something, she’s generally fine, but would prefer to hedge bets and play it safe.  No babies for her just yet.  When she asked about not having a baby right now, its her way of saying, “I don’t know what happens to get that baby into my belly, but I think its safe to say that I’m not interested in that right this very decades.”

My wife and I have always known her to be lots of fun but it has only been the last 1.5 years or so that she’s shared that side of herself with anyone.  Like I have mentioned here before, she’s not much of a spotlight seeker but has taken a strong interest recently in dancing.  She and Julianna both, as they get older, find themselves wanting to have their own time & space in the house.  We believe in that independence.  There are times when I will come to check on her and she’ll be by herself, in our living room, playing music in itunes or pandora (like Velociraptors and doorknobs…these kids), and just dancing.  In the past, if spotted, she would “shut it down” almost immediately and maybe even cry because she was embarrassed.  Now, more often than not, she will say something like, “Daddy, sit down and start the song over so I can show you the dance I’m ‘choreographaging’.”  And so I do.  I do start “All Star” by Smash Mouth from the beginning and watch a carefully ‘choreographicated’ dance…all 4.5 minutes of it…over and over again.  She even decided it was ok to teach Julianna the steps.  Then we got to watch it again.  Recently, she asked me if I had the song on my phone (of course), so I could play it so she could show the extended family the dance.  Who is this kid?

Then there’s the issue with the boyfriends.  Sensing a theme here?  Ever since kindergarten started, she’s got these boys lining up, wrapped around her finger.  A few months ago, I was in their school teaching Introduction to Computer Science to some 3rd and 4th graders (don’t judge).  After I was finished, I was on my way out when I ran into the school Principal.  He said, “Kindergarten is having lunch now, you should stop by and say hi.”  K.

I go into the cafetorium or whatever its called and can’t find Chloe.  My nephew, Ben, also a kindergartner, comes running over to help direct me.  I walk over to where he says and find Chloe, sitting 5 or 6 seats down from the other kids at her table, with nobody on her side next to her, directly across from a boy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this boy is probably some sort of huge asshole.  I mean, BACK OFF.  The two of them, chatting away like my mother used to when this year’s Mah Jong card would arrive in the mail.  She barely gave me the time of day.  There was a time when she wouldn’t let me leave the room.  Now she basically said, “talk to the hand.  I got a boy sitting across from me in the cafetorium.”  This guy…I mean, who does he think he is?  They actively separated themselves from the other kids at the table.

Well, it turns out, according to her, as well as 2 or 3 other kids in kindergarten who told me at lunch that day, Chloe and “Shitlist Entry #1” are in love and will be getting married.  Yada yada yada, great news, a few weeks later, they are no longer in love and they are no longer getting married.  It is probably because he doesn’t put the covers back on the markers.  Jerk.

Anyhow, it wasn’t long before another boy caught her fancy.  She gets all bashful, but confident, when asked.  She’ll happily tell me about how they sat near each other at Music class or that “he was on a swing 3 down from her at recess.”  I mean, give me a break with this.  I don’t need this sort of stress for at least another 30 years right?

Then I got this other kid, who we run into now and then, who is super nice.  When I say nice, I mean, he seems like he might actually be the nicest kid on the planet, genuinely.  He always says hi to me like kissing my ass is gonna win browny points with her or something.  He might be onto something.

But then, 2 weeks ago, she comes home from school and tells me that “#1” from above is back in the picture, literally.  Turns out he drew a picture that had 3 hearts on it and told another kid in the class that the hearts were for Chloe.  Well, believe you me, that kid ran straight to Chloe to tell her.  Whatever, it won’t last, probably.

The sad part is, she’s got it all under control.  She’s got all of us wrapped right around her 6-year-old finger and she knows it.

Last night, she read me a book for her bedtime.  It seems that the days of me reading to her are probably more behind us than in front.  She wants to do the reading.

She’s growing up and gaining confidence and making me prouder each day more than the last.  She’s constantly making us laugh and she always, totally has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on around her.

My baby, you know, the 6-year-old who doesn’t want to have a baby of her own just yet…FYI.

Happy Birthday Chloe.

Love,

Daddy