Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Z

What do I say about you on your 4th birthday, Z? Now that you've graduated out of infancy, babyhood and toddlerhood and are a full-fledge preschooler--hell, a kid, recounting your milestones isn't as simple as noting your pincher grasp, your first steps, your budding vocabulary. You're so much more complex now. So much more a person. And so much more civilized than you were just six months ago. Potty training is a distant memory. I don't have even have to worry about nighttime accidents any more. You still like to eat pancakes with your hands, but you're tidy at mealtimes. No drips on your clothes, no crumbs on the floor, no spilled milk across the table. You've started saying "please" and "thank you." Sometimes you'll even say you're sorry!

And you're smart, that much is clear. Your teachers, your gymnastics coach, your friends' parents, even total strangers remark on what a bright little girl you are. You speak clearly, effortlessly, and you have a very extensive vocabulary. You reason well; your reading comprehension and memory is astonishing and you can write and spell a dozens of names and words. You've also got decent math skills; using your fingers, you can add and subtract figures under 10.

You are social. You have a tight little circle of girlfriends at school and you're also close friends with neighbors and long-time playmates. You make friends easily, playing with new kids after only a few minutes of quietly sizing them up.

You love to draw, sing and play pretend, and you have an active imagination. You're titillated by "bad stuff" and insist I make up an "Eleanor and Abigail story" every night before bed (think Goofus and Gallant for girls).

You're a born negotiator. According to you, everything is up for negotiation: bathtime, bedtime, the number of books read at bedtime, dinner entrees, the number of bites you'll take before dessert becomes a possibility, etc. etc. It is not your father and my favorite characteristic, but I admire your reasoned arguments and recognize the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

If I had to make a prediction on what the next 365 days will bring, I'd guess you will learn to read, you'll endure some playground cruelty (even 4 year old girls can be catty) and your relationship with your sister will blossom.
This is you, today.