You’ve been four years old for nearly two months now, and already it seems you’re a different girl than the three year old who had no idea how to answer when someone asked you how old you were. Now you’re confident with those four fingers, holding them up proudly. I’m pretty proud of the four year old you are becoming.
Now that you’re at preschool three mornings a week, it’s no longer a big deal for you to run off and play when we meet up with your new best friend at the indoor playground. Yes, you have a new best friend. And this year, I think she likes you back. (Phew!) I’m so glad you finally have some of your own friends to talk about and schedule playdates with. While I hope your big brother never ceases to be your very best friend, the one whose name you will chant over and over until he finally responds to you with attention, the one about whom you are inconsolable if he decides not to play with you, the school day is long, and we have more than two years until you’re there with him.
Those days when O. is at school, you’re always looking for a project for you and I to complete together. “But what can we dooooo?” you wheedle when I’ve asked you to spend too much time merely playing with your ponies, babies, Barbies or princess paraphernalia. And doing something apparently means crafting of some sort, or finding a very particular image to print out on the computer, or baking something, or having me sit right next to you while you set up your dollhouse. I fear we will soon run out of projects and money to spend at the craft store. Also, there does come a time when I have to fold some laundry and deal with the dirty dishes, so we’re working on getting you to play independently more often.
When we’re not doing projects, you pick up L. and carry him around like he still needs help to get from one spot to another. You move him away from your toys when you don’t want him messing with the Squinkies or Polly Pockets, and move him back next to you when you want some company. He’s amazingly good natured about being hoisted around by his armpits, and every time I am reminded of that illustration from the book Olivia, where Olivia moves the cat.
You do an excellent job helping to take care of your baby cousins when they are at our house on Mondays. You bring them toys that you know that are appropriate and that will make them smile, you share your blankets with them, and talk to them so sweetly. You can’t wait until you can be the big girl cousin to them and show them all of the things that are your favorite things about being a girl in our family.
You are a girly girl, it is true, still insisting on dresses and tutus and other outfits that once you put on cause you say “Won’t everyone say I’m beautiful?” You want to wear makeup and ask me to paint your nails every day. You refuse to take something in for show and tell if it is not “girlish.” And you delight in having older girl cousins, always writing them notes to stick in the mail, and were delighted when one of our projects was to make purses out of fleece you picked out so that all the girl cousins could match.
However, the girly thing doesn’t mean you shy away from anything. If anything, to you, being a girl means being strong and determined and sure of yourself, and for that I am so thankful. Even if it means listening to you say “You don’t untroll (control) me! Only God untrolls me!” Or “I can change my mind if I want to! I am not doing soccer (or ballet, or going to school) today!” You like to have your hair fixed sometimes, but if it is a little unruly and you don’t feel like sitting still to have the tangles combed out of it, you let me know that “I don’t cay if my hay is cwazy! I can handle my hay!”
You continue to be a funny, funny girl. At your preschool open house, your teacher told me how often you make her laugh, and this pleased me immensely, because it means you’re getting to be your real true self when you’re at school, not too quiet and shy. You crack yourself up on a near hourly basis, finding something silly in nearly every situation.
Your old standby to guarantee yourself a chuckle goes like this: “Mommy, do you remember that sign in the new hotel* in the elevator? Orange you glad you had breakfast?” Hilarious giggles from you. It never gets old, except to O. You are so proud of yourself for having this memory, and swear you will never forget it.
Some other recent crack ups have included the following.
Banana Split Who?
Oh, it’s only a joke, don’t cry little baby ice cream!
A little conversation with yourself at the lunch table:
Who’s the funny girl? N.!
Who’s the cutest boy? L.!
Who’s the one that plays with me all day? O.!
Who’s Daddy? Awesome!
What is Mommy? A princess, like me!
What does Daddy do? Take out the trash!
And so does O.! And even L.!
The girls are the princesses and the boys take out the trash!
Conversation with Daddy:
N: Can we go to DisneyLand? There is an Ariel thing there.
Daddy: We’re going to go to DisneyWorld someday. It’s in Florida. DisneyLand is in California, and that’s the Land of Fruits and Nuts. **
N: There are nuts there?
N: It’s okay. I won’t eat them!
Showing off for your brother:
N: F-O-O-D spells food!
O: Huh? F-O-O-D. That does spell food. You can spell?
N: Yes! F-O-O-D spells food!
O: Where did you learn that?
N: I just knowed it.
O: Oh. I know. You learned it from Team Rocket.
This weekend, when we were out to dinner, you predictably had to go to the bathroom the moment we sat down. Grumbling, I took you into the stall, saying “you know, you really need to go potty before we leave the house. Visiting every public bathroom is not my favorite thing.” You looked up at me and sweetly said, “What is your favorite thing, Mommy? Your birthday? My favorite things are birthdays, and watching shows, and eating candy!” Returning to the table, you leaned in to your daddy and said “Dad, what is your favorite thing? I know! Sitting in the basement and drinking beer and watching football.” You know your dad, girl. He knows how to charm his girls, though, so he quickly chimed in with “No! My favorite thing is playing with you and your brothers.”
At night, when I snuggle with you in your princess bed after reading a princess book or two, or maybe I’ve talked you into If You Give a Cat a Cupcake instead, you will occasionally say “Nuzzle noses, Mommy!” and we do Eskimo kisses while you squeal “Never stop! Never stop!” and you keep rubbing your nose on mine until long after it is sweet and snuggly anymore, and I finally have to tell you to stop, because both of our bellies are hurting from laughing, and now we have to start the quieting down process all over. But that? That is my favorite thing, my sweet girl.