Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, A

Longwood GardensDear A,
You've grown and changed so much in the last year, but you're still very much my affectionate little girl with her flair for the dramatic.

You've grown taller and your hair's grown longer and you've lost your baby chub, but you're still a peanut according to the AAP (you measure in the 5th percentile for height and the 25th for weight.

You've always been loud and dramatic and you figured out how to make believe at a young age, tagging along as a willing participant in your big sister's imaginary games, but now it's so much more intense. You can entertain yourself for 90 minutes all by yourself, and when others are around you, it seems every sentence that comes out of your mouth starts with "Let's pretend..." Only you pronounce it "pee-tend." Just this month I've watched you pee-tend to be animals (snakes, cats, and lions), a princess, an evil stepmother, a mean mommy, a nice mommy, a babysitter and a baby.

Longwood Gardens
Your relationship with your big sister Z has become more complicated. While you still look up to her and want her as your constant playmate, you can't resist pestering her with a poke or a kick or a "what's that supposed to mean?" I thought it wasn't something you could help, but then I heard you advising another younger sibling "If she won't talk to you, you should annoy her."

This year was full of firsts for you. You started Montessori school, gymnastics and art classes and nurtured a large circle of friends--mostly girls. You can identify all the letters in the alphabet, count up to 20 and perform some very basic addition and subtraction. You can tell by the sound of the word what letter it begins with and you can spell some basic words on your own. You love to be given jobs, whether it is making my bed, grinding the coffee beans or pouring your own milk into your cereal. Nothing makes you more upset that hearing your sister swoop in to give the answer you're still formulating.

And you're brave! Without a tear in your eye, you yanked up your shorts for a shot at the doctor's office. You'll jump into the pool and go right underwater. You loved the thrill rides at Dutch Wonderland and would have willingly gotten on the large roller coaster had you been tall enough. You're not afraid of strangers ("Bad guys are just pretend," you've told me) or new situations, but flies, bees and spiders freak you out.
But the most you part of your personality is your outgoing nature. You'll strike up a conversation with anyone. Similarly-sized kids on the playground, your friends' parents, grandparents, the cashiers at Trader Joe's, doctors, dentists, babysitters and neighbors have heard your anecdotes, many of which you plunge right into without too much context. "We're growing sunflowers in our back yard. Come and see," you'll say to our next door neighbors as you grab them by the hand and lead them past the grill and into our back yard. "We're having burgers and pineapple on the grill. With big pretzel buns! Do you like hamburgers? We're growing so many things in our garden."

I remember loving age 4 with Z. I can't wait to see what you will bring to the coming year.

Happy 3rd Birthday, A
Happy 2nd Birthday, A
Happy 1st Birthday, Baby A