Thursday, March 06, 2003

On Being Five

Dear Aviv,

It’s hard to believe you’ve been with us for five whole years now. I hope it’s been a good five years for you. We’ve certainly enjoyed having you around - from the Shabbat morning cuddles you give us when you climb into our bed, to your wide-eyed wonder at things we jaded adults take for granted, like the subtle differences in rocks used for skipping across puddles.

Oh, you’ve given us a few scares, for sure.

Like the time that you and Amir were playing “Batman.” For some reason this involved wearing a blindfold. Improvising, Amir put a diaper on your head and then guided you around the living room. You were laughing and enjoying the game so much, it must have come as a total shock when you slammed into the glass door with your knee and with a crash, the glass shattered and the blood began to gush.

Delay. 1 second. 2 second. 3. Cue the crying. Cue the parents running across the house.

Remember what happened next? Imma took you to the hospital for an X-Ray and a little sewing up. You were so tired by all the excitement that you fell asleep in the car. You didn’t wake up when the doctor stuck a needle into your knee to numb the area. You didn’t wake up during the stitches or when they taped on the bandage. The doctor and nurse both said they’d never seen anything like it before.

And in the morning when you finally did wake up, you came to our room as usual, climbed into bed and then announced with total surprise: “What’s this thing on my leg?”

You never cease to crack us up, Aviv. While adults get tired of a game after playing it once, maybe twice, you can go all day, again and again, with something as simple as hide and seek. Even though the person you’d be seeking would hide in the exact same spot each time, you’d always be surprised, always shrieking with such delight.

And yet for every moment you make us laugh, there’s another where you inspire us. Because when you’re five, you still believe that magic is real.

“Watch this!” I said to you one afternoon as I took a marble, placed it carefully into my hand, and covered it with the blanket.

Say “Abracadabra,” I told you. You did.

Then I called out “look over there,” and the marble was gone. (Of course I had dropped it under the blanket while you were distracted – sorry if I’m giving away my secrets).

A minute later, I did the same trick, with the same distraction, and the marble was magically back.

And then you said "Maybe we can make Marla come back like that.”

From the day you were born, you have been our most independent child. You’ll nonchalantly inform us that you’re heading downstairs into the courtyard to play with the other kids and two hours later we’ll get a call from a neighbor.

“Aviv is finished eating his dinner…do you want him to come home yet?”

Yes, you have a style all your own. When most kids are crawling, you decided that “scooting” on your tush would be lots more fun. It certainly got you lots of attention. Remember the time you scooted down nearly the entire length of the Tel Aviv boardwalk, bringing smiles to a growing crowd of fans and onlookers?

Speaking of style, you got your first taste of the fashion world when you were only two hours old. Remember? No?

Well, it was just before Purim, so Amir and Merav came to greet you in the hospital wearing their holiday costumes. Imagine: the first glimpse you got of those creatures who in the future will torment you so mercilessly was that of a bashful ballerina and a beaming Ninja turtle.

Now, I know you want a younger brother or sister to play with. And Imma and Abba have discussed the issue at length. For five years, in fact. All I can say for now’ll always be our baby.

Yes, yes, I know, you’re not a baby. You’re a big boy now. So why don’t you get dressed by yourself? Pick up your toys? Eat your vegetables?

But don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up. You’ll have lots of time for school and work and girls and all those adult pursuits. You’ve got to get through the army, though of course we still cling to the hope that we won’t need one by the time you’re old enough. And after that, you could be a fireman, a brain surgeon, entrepreneur!

For now, though, open your presents, blow out your candles, and enjoy your big day. Imma and Abba are happy to tie your shoes and wash your hair and tell you a ‘pon a time story before bed.

Because although you may be a big five-year-old now, at the same time you’re still our little five-year-old and we’re not quite ready to stop taking care of you just yet.

So Happy Fifth Birthday, Aviv! We love you so much.

Your Imma and Abba

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