Thursday, April 21, 2016

June at Five

June is five now. Five's a big deal, right? It feels like five's a big deal.

Five is when she'll go to kindergarten. Five is the first birthday party that both Michael and I remember. Five is going to be the beginning of a whole new phase of life, when real school starts.

June is so smart, man.

These days I like asking what she learned about in the science room at school because it's the best way to get a substantial answer out of her. She went on and on about birds, about how birds of prey are fastest when they are diving, and how we don't have blue jays in our area, we have scrub jays, and how mourning doves are in our area but we don't see them much because there are too many predators.

I'm just amazed about how much she picks up after only hearing it once, or I guess just how much she picks up. She's always listening. The other day I was whispering with Michael in the kitchen about if we should go get dessert somewhere. When I next saw June in the living room, she asked what we had decided about dessert. Makes me a little paranoid in my own house!

She has a real instinct to protect people. When Michael is wrestling with everyone on the floor, she is constantly leaping in to deflect him away from me, or jumps into a protective crouch in front of Bennett. "No, come after me!" she'll growl in between barks. When she sees kids being mean to each other at the park, she stops what she's doing and watches. She went over to help Bennett when a little girl was being mean to him the other day. (I wasn't there, but Michael says she told him to go away! when he stood near her group and waved at them. He continued to watch them, but the girl came over and sort of pushed him. Bennett said, "No, stop it!" and June swooped in to help, but Michael got there first. I actually wish I could see June follow through to see what she would do.) She holds Bennett's hand while he balances walking along a curb.

Sometimes she's the loud one in a group, sometimes she's shy. Whenever we're on FaceTime, she vanishes and doesn't make much of an appearance. But she'll talk to grownups as if they were old friends. (Our adult neighbors listened so patiently to a lengthy description of how she prefers to eat her hamburgers yesterday, bless them!)

She has this flair for dramatics. Where she learned some of these expressions or their appropriate context, I'll never know. She's got a face for seeming truly vulnerable so she gets her way, a lofty face for when she knows she's arguing a case she can't win, an exaggerated eye roll for when we ask her if she knows how much we love her. "YESS!" The other day Michael was waiting for her to use the potty before bedtime and she was dawdling. Finally he said, "June, it's time to go, come on, let's just go potty." She narrowed her eyes, said, "I'm about to," and as soon as she started going, cocked an eyebrow at him. I laughed so hard hearing that story.

And her silliness. On the night before her fifth birthday, I was putting her to bed. Normal routine of reading books, then cuddling for a few minutes. Then I said, "Alright June, I want one more kiss. One more kiss from 4 year-old June, because I'll never get a kiss from her again. Tomorrow it'll be 5 year-old June." As if she understood how solemn my heart felt about the moment, she tenderly brought her hand to my chin and gently brought my face to hers. And just as our lips met, she...stuck her wet little tongue in my mouth."UGH! JUNE! GROSS! Why did you do that? Oh my goodness, what am I going to do with you?!" And she LAUGHED and LAUGHED.

And, really, that probably was the best way to get a last kiss from my four-year-old, because that is just exactly who she is right now.

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