StarGirl at Five

“How many Harry Potter movies are there?” StarGirl asks me from the back seat of the Wrangler as we drive around Easton. The question isn’t surprising; she’s just watched Chronicles of Narnia and has decided she’s ready to watch the first Harry Potter movie.

“Well, there are seven books,” I said, “but there are going to be eight movies, because they’re splitting the last book into two films.”

There’s a pause, then StarGirl says “Eight minus two is six.”

This seems like a non-sequitur to me. Granted, she’s doing math at preschool, but why that particular equation, and why now? I mean, I’d expect eight minus one equals seven, given the conversation, but why two?

“Yep, that’s right.” I reply.

“There are six Star Wars movies!” she says triumphantly.

Ah, geek math. The equation now makes sense and I’m momentarily overcome by a burst of pride.

This is life with StarGirl at five. My beautiful, smart, willful, stubborn and always surprising princess. She’s just as much into princesses and her Littlest Petshop Animals as ever, but her passion for dresses has tempered enough for her to wearing pants without a fight (and sometimes of her own accord). She loves baseball enough to want to watch The Rookie in the middle of the winter because she needed a fix, and she’s excited about the start of the new season.

She’s learned to play checkers, and she’s working on chess. Playing chess with my daughter was one of the most rewarding moments of the last year. Teaching her what the different pieces were — and reading her the ‘learning chess’ book that she checked out of the library — was simply amazing. It also flashed me back to my own childhood, and my mom teaching me how to play.

I think we can officially call chess a family tradition now.

She’s enjoyed preschool, and is looking forward to kindergarten (so much so that she thought she was starting kindergarten on her fifth birthday because five-year-olds go to kindergarten and hey, she was five.

StarGirl loves video games, so much so that we’ve implemented a twice-a-week limit in which she’s allowed to play games for about an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She can play what she wants — Animal Crossing on my Nintendo DS, LEGO Star Wars on the Xbox 360, or Webkinz — but she only gets to play one.

She can be ornery, as is the case with all five year olds, and let’s be honest, with parents as stubborn and Sue and I it’s only to be expected. This gives rise to periodic time outs as she’s sent to her room — the amusing part is that when she storms off to her room she usually spends the next five to ten minutes ranting about how unjust this is, and talking through her side of the disagreement. It’s fascinating (and often amusing) to listen to.

It’s been a great year with StarGirl, and the next one looks to be as entertaining as the last. She’ll be starting kindergarten and learning to read, which are both momentous undertakings. I’m also planning on taking her to her first baseball game — the Lehigh Valley’s new AAA Philly’s affiliate the IronPigs — and if that goes we’ll, will hit a Mets game at Shea Stadium (which will be all the more monumental given that this is Shea’s last season).

Of course, it’s the stuff you can’t anticipate that makes parenting so much fun (and occasionally terrifying), and it’s those things that I’m looking forward to most.

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