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You and I and Turning Five

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The day after Charlotte's birthday, it rains. It absolutely pours.

Charlotte does not like the rain. She likes it when the rain stops and there are worms everywhere and she can pick them up and bring them inside to surprise her mommy. Mommy does not like those surprises, which is what makes it fun.

Mommy is not fun lately. Gemma makes her not fun.

Charlotte does not like Gemma. She'd thought she wanted a baby sister, but she had been wrong, wrong, wrong.

Daddy says she has to like her because she's her sister, so Charlotte just doesn't like her in secret.

She especially doesn't like her that day because she has colic. Colic means she's crying, but she doesn't know why. Which isn't fair because when she cries and doesn't know why, Mommy tells her to be a big girl and stop crying...but she's only five and five is not that big.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Daddy gets her dressed and he does it all wrong. He picks out the underwear with Dora on them which are for Fridays and today is only Wednesday. She wears Paw Patrol on Wednesdays. When she tells him this, he just laughs and says that's just a made up rule which doesn't make sense because all rules are made up. That just makes him laugh harder. Charlotte does not like being laughed at.

Then he does her hair and he does that even wronger. She wants the French kind of braid which means it makes her head hurt, but she has hair like Cinderella when it comes out. Daddy does not know how to do the French kind of braid, so he just does a regular one and when she gets mad at him, he puts her in time out.

He tells her she should know better because she's five now. But she's a brand new five, so she doesn't think that's fair. Daddy tells her life isn't fair and she knows.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Daddy tells her to play quietly because Mommy is trying to put Gemma to sleep. But Gemma is always sleeping and she doesn't want to play quietly. She wants to be loud because she is not allowed to be loud at kindergarten and if she can't be loud at school or at home, then when can she be loud? It isn't fair that she has to be quiet just because of a stupid baby she doesn't even like. But she only says that in her head because she doesn't want to get in trouble again.

If she can't be loud, then she wants to watch the new movie she got for her birthday. Daddy says it's too scary for Declan who is only three still. Three is still a baby.

If she can't watch Trolls, then she will watch Cinderella, even though Daddy says, "Again?" because she has watched it five million times already. He lets her watch it because she 'exhausts' him, which means she wins because he is too old.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Daddy makes Coddle for lunch. Coddle is grown up for garbage food. Charlotte hates Coddle.

But she is five now and that means she's not allowed to cry about it, even though she wants to. But she is a brand new five, so she makes yucky faces while she eats until Mommy catches her and puts her in time out for being rude to Daddy who worked hard on making lunch (even though she knows he didn't because she saw him).

After lunch, Mommy lets Declan have a piece of her birthday cake because he ate like a big boy and it isn't fair. Charlotte glares at Gemma who is eating her lunch from Mommy's breast (and she isn't allowed to call it gross because it's 'natural') because if it weren't for her, Mommy wouldn't have been too tired to make grilled cheese which Charlotte likes.

Mommy catches her again and says she doesn't like her attitude which is the grown up way of saying she's in trouble for no reason.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Mommy finally agrees to let her play outside because she's driving her crazy. No, she cannot take her new doll outside to play in the mud. No, she cannot bring the worms inside. No, she cannot make Declan eat a mud pie.

But she can play outside, so she decides to let it slide, which is something Daddy says a lot. It means he isn't going to tell Mommy about it, even though she was bad.

She gets to wear her puddle boots which she likes because they look like dinosaurs. She also has to wear her rain coat which she doesn't like because it is too noisy when she's trying to sneak up on the ducks to catch one to be her pet. She thinks a duck would be a very good pet, better than a cat or a stupid baby sister.

There are no ducks in the backyard anyway, so she is disappointed. Instead, she makes the worms race each other, but they are very bad at it. They keep going backwards which is the wrong way to win a race. Charlotte is very good at winning races. She beats Daddy every time, but that is because he is old.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, she gets puddles everywhere and she forgets to clean them up because there was a very important worm she had to show Mommy – it is purple which is the best colour.

She knows Daddy has found the puddles because he slips in one and falls and shouts, "Fuck!" which is a bad word that Mommy says a lot. "Charlotte Grace..." he says, which means trouble.

"Fuck!" she says because she is five now and if she's too grown up to cry and complain, she should at least be able to say a swear.

Mommy looks at her like she has three heads, which she does not.

She gets grounded which isn't fair because Daddy said it first and he does not get in trouble. Grounded means jail for kids because she doesn't get to watch Trolls or Cinderella or any movie and she doesn't get to go to the park to feed the ducks when it stops raining and she has to clean up all the puddles she made.

She doesn't want to be five anymore. She liked being four because she didn't have to know better.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, she decides to run away like Elsa only smarter because she will not make it winter everywhere because there are no worms in winter. Also, she will take a coat, but not her rain coat because she will need a duck to keep her company.

She will go live at the supermarket because they have the Elsa Cheerios which are the good ones (even though they are not Cinderella) and the free cookies. She doesn't think they let ducks come inside, which is silly because ducks eat bread and the supermarket has lots of bread, so she will hide her duck in her backpack.

She packs her backpack with a blanket and a rubber duck, in case the duck missed its mommy. She will not miss her mommy because her mommy is mean and loves Gemma better anyway.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Daddy stops her at the door and asks where she thinks she's going. That means trouble too.

She tells him she's running away because she is five now and five is grown up. Daddy laughs when she says that. He laughs and laughs. Charlotte does not like being laughed at.

She tells him it isn't funny and also can he please help her cross the street because she can't cross without a grown up.

He tells her, "Nice try, kid." which means no. He asks why she is running away and she tells him because they don't need her anymore. He is not laughing anymore.

Daddy scoops her up in his arms and hugs her so tight she thinks her stuffing is going to come out which means exploding. He says they will always always need her because she is Charlotte and they only have one of those and one is the perfect number to have.

She says that Mommy doesn't love her anymore because she has a baby which is better than being five. He says if they didn't have her, who would show them important worms? That means forgiveness for the puddles. Then he says to smile or she'll be in big trouble, but that's just pretend trouble, not real trouble.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Mommy tucks her into bed and cuddles up next to her and they read Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich until she pretends she doesn't know how to read, which means she's sick of that book.

Then Mommy says, "Look at me." which means serious business. Then she says, "I love you bunches and bunches." which means as much as grapes.

"I love you like grapes too," Charlotte says, even though she's still kind of mad because she is still grounded. She doesn't hate her anymore, though.

"And I will love you no matter how much trouble you get into, no matter how many times you bring worms in my house when I tell you not to."

"And I love you, even though you don't like worms. Not even the purple ones."

Then they eskimo kiss which means they love each other again.


The day after Charlotte's birthday, Ian asks Emily if she wants to do it again, to have another baby. She just looks at him like he's crazy.