body and soul

Even before the last jingle bell was removed from the tree, Caroline was already full of enthusiasm about her sixth birthday. The realization that her brother gets his cake before her inevitably sends her into hysterics. Most years, I am feeling pretty bummed that within seven weeks, they will be done with the two most fun times to be a kid for the entire year. By summer, Caroline starts wondering when her birthday will come around again, lamenting that she will never get to raise the flag at camp or have a jumpy house at her party. In my head as she laments, I say to myself that her birthday makes her one of the older kids in her class, reminds me that she will be learning to DRIVE in the winter, and will hopefully have some maturity on her classmates, despite the fact that she has yet to lose a tooth and "WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN, MOM?!?"

I booked the birthday party entertainment two days after Christmas this year. With Connor changing preschools and turning just three years old, it didn't seem appropriate to plan a school friend birthday party. Caroline didn't have one at age three (which might be more related to the fact that her brother was just two weeks old at the time) and they had a joint family and friends party when she was four. Still, it didn't feel right to have a more casual family party for him when his turning six years old sister gets a big party. He is old enough to feel slighted and not old enough to understand that she is older and perhaps I should not feel so bad about it, but I do. Luckily, both kids were on board for the same theme and we are combining them again this year. I am not sure how this will go, but two cakes and two rounds of singing doesn't seem too bad. Connor will only have a few friends, but at three, I think that is acceptable.

There will be live animals in my home. I'll give you a moment to soak that in.

...

Amid all the birthday talk happening at home and invitation coordination, Caroline is presenting some interesting conversation starters.

"Will I grow bigger next year too?"

"Yes, you will grow bigger every year."

"Are you still growing?"

"Well, no, but there are other ways to grow (and not just horizontally). Eventually you will stop getting taller and your feet will stay the same size (IMAGINE!!!! I will not need to provide you with an entirely new wardrobe each season!). Your brain and soul will never stop growing as long as you are willing to work on making them get bigger."

"What's soul?"

Whoops. I totally brought it upon myself. How do you EXPLAIN what a soul is to a kindergartener? I had mistakenly brought up something about being immortal and intangible and EEK!!! 9-1-1. She seemed satisfied with my explanation that it was something inside each person that you cannot see. She looked back at me in the rear view mirror as I explained that you can grow your soul with your beliefs, values, how you treat other people, and the choices you make. I looked back at her searching for comprehension.

"So, if my brain keeps growing, will my head keep growing bigger too?"

She is still very much onto the next with her thinking and comprehension. I can't mess any one answer up too badly yet and for that, I am thankful.


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