My twins have come a long way in the five years since their arrival at only 26 weeks gestation (a whole trimester too early). We celebrated their birthday last week, and one of the books they received as a gift highlights what a milestone age five is: On the Way to Kindergarten by Virginia Kroll.
The book features a family of bears, illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg, and describes through rhyme the cub’s milestones from the newborn stage through age five — drinking from a sippy cup, sleeping in a big bed, catching a ball, brushing teeth, and writing his name in “almost a straight line.” At five, the cub is off to kindergarten, where exciting adventures await him.
It’s a sweet book, one that triggered a welcome walk down memory lane of when my daughters reached each of the milestones mentioned. Milestones are a big deal to preemie parents, having been told by our well-meaning NICU doctors, nurses, and therapists to expect developmental delays.
Or maybe it’s better to describe On the Way to Kindergarten as a bittersweet book, one that made me realize just how quickly my twins are growing up, because, to quote the end of the book: “… Now [they] are FIVE and… bab[ies] no more!!!!!”
My girls won’t start Kindergarten until September, but turning five still comes with certain privileges. At their preschool, for example, they now have the highly coveted opportunity to slide down the fireman’s pole in the playground, known to the kids as the “five-year-old pole.” My girls are thrilled to have turned five before the majority of their classmates, even though I continue to wish they had been born in March, when they were due.
Other signs of independence will come soon enough: sleepovers, unaccompanied play dates, and with Kindergarten, riding the big yellow bus.
They are big girls now, though if you ask them, “are you big?,” they reply, “I’m medium sized.” In less than a year they’ll be off to the new world of elementary school, a world that is not only challenging, but one that is far more dangerous than it should be, as we saw last week.
It’s harder to protect my babies when they grow up.
*Top image: My daughter’s foot and my husband’s hand.