I can hardly call you "Deano the Bambino" anymore, since you're such a big boy. A HUGE boy. Five was the most incredible age. You are like a tiny little old man sometimes. Your expressions and gestures are so pronounced for one so tiny. One of your classroom volunteers commented to me that she's never met a kid who talked with his hands as much as you do, and how much fun it is to have a conversation with you. That made me smile. If only she could see our entire family talk. We wave our hands around so much that I halfway expect one of us to take flight.
You've had a big year. You finished preschool with flying colors. And you miss preschool. It was such a magical place and you flourished there. A lot of your friends go to your new school, but I know you miss the independence you were allowed there. You're getting the hang of kindergarten, though. You've made some cool new friends and figured out how to function in a more structured setting. You still get on the yellow light about once a week, usually for yelling in the bathroom. You assure me it's because the echo is irresistible. You're starting to read a lot, which is really cool. You point out your "high frequency words" every time you see one. I love it when you go through the alphabet making all the letter sounds to find the one you're looking for.
You took a long trip with just your dad this year to visit the family in DC. Mommy had to work and missed out. You were gone 18 days, the longest we've ever been apart. I missed you more than you could possibly imagine, but I'm glad you got to go and have fun. You went to summer camp with your cousin and nature camp and also took swimming lessons. Here at home, you went to theatre camp at Mommy's theatre. I loved watching you sing and dance. You are still absolutely fearless, a quality I hope we can retain.
Your "baby phrases" are slipping away, which makes me a little sad. You say "yesterday" now instead of "last day." You still call a yawn a hum, though. You are still so, so good with your hands. We got you little Legos for Christmas and Santa brought a Lego table. You have barely stopped playing with them since they arrived. You love babies and animals. You keep insisting that Chutney needs a baby. We need a kitten in this house like we need a hole in the head, so that's one wish that will NOT come true. You rat yourself out when you've misbehaved at school, which, I must admit, is sort of adorable. You also told half the family what their Christmas gifts were before we opened them. But it's ok--you were just excited.
You got a good citizenship award at school last month. Your dad and I are pretty sure your after-school care teacher nominated you because she tells us all the time how compassionate you are. That is one of the greatest things about you.
Your imagination is still so big and so fascinating. I'm starting to see a lot of myself in you, especially in the way you play. Since you look exactly like your dad, it's nice to see a little of myself come out in you.
I'm so glad you've inherited my love for Christmas. You undecorated the tree several times this year, which was not so great, but also not the end of the world. You still love to come to the theatre with me. You have a loose tooth and are getting your six-year molars. You have the best bedhead in the world. Your favorite food these days is ham. You sleep in your Spiderman slippers every night.
I adore the person you're becoming. I like that you still insist on snuggling with me during storytime each night and that you're so forthcoming with affection. Your personality is infectious. Your dad and I are so proud of you.
I asked what song you'd like for your birthday video and you said, "Elise Mommy Dad." That's what you call "Feliz Navidad." Your dad suggested "Wrecking Ball," but no. I'm going against both of you and using a song I love that will forever remind me of you.
Happy sixth birthday, muffin. I love you to pieces.