Four. It doesn’t seem possible. Our baby girl is four.
(don't ask about the elbow bandage. Major fall and scrape 15 minutes before we were to leave for birthday dinner at Red Robin. She's fine. But, oy, the tears.)
You have grown up so much in the last year, but so many parts of you are just MORE this year. You laugh louder, play harder, ride your bike faster, argue longer, and stand up for yourself more. You are a sweet, kind-hearted girl who would share the last bite of her cupcake even if we didn’t ask. Clearly not a first-born.
You love to laugh, and your infectious giggle makes us all shine brighter. You’re working on joke telling, both knock knock jokes and riddles, and while the punch line is sometimes a mystery, you can laugh convincingly enough to make anyone think it’s really funny.
You are on your way to being a gourmet chef, mainly thanks to weekend breakfasts with Daddy. You can practically make pancake or crepe batter yourself. You love to help with everything—breakfast, toast, cakes and cookies, sprinkling cheese on nachos, and even doing dishes! Just this week you were literally filled with excitement to help make your own birthday cake, insisted on helping with everything, even racing upstairs midway through to don your chef hat and apron.
You can flour cake pans, use the mixer, measure flour and sugar, fold egg whites into batter, and crack eggs.
We switched you to a new preschool this year, the Shoreline Children’s Center where The Boy went, and you are thriving. You have your group of 2-3 best girl friends, and you greet each other with hugs and smiles. It literally said “Audrey is a joy to have in class” on your assessment/report card sheet. I think I cried tears of joy, or maybe relief. You love coming home with facts you learned at school—this month has been sea animals. You have demonstrated how a starfish moves on its suction cups, how long an octopus can stretch, and reenacted the entire egg-laying cycle of sea turtles. Guess you’re a good listener in school too!
I watch in wonder every day at your dramatic play—I cannot believe what you dream up. The details, the elaborate details of where people are going and which imaginary friend is calling you and why you have to pick up your babies from school and your grocery list and your plans for the weekend—astounding.
I do worry about the way you rush around, worry that you are mimicking me and my eternal state of being over-busy. You have to “go pick up brother” or “go teach my class” or “be a volunteer for the PTA and make lists” and so much of it sounds familiar. But you will entertain yourself for long stretches of time, reading to your babies or setting up your “classroom” or playing with your Pet Shops or Ponies.
You are the artist of the family, specializing in little notes and sculptures. You make us hundreds of presents, little letters or drawings on paper that is folded and taped (and taped and taped—you LOVE your scotch tape) into little packages that you hide for “Mother’s Day” or “Father’s Day” or “next year!”
At preschool, you are the Creation Station Queen, and the teachers know it. You insist on saving our toilet paper tubes and other recyclables to contribute, and we joke with the teachers about the “Circle of Life,” how we donate things and then you use them and just bring them home again.
Stubborn? Oh, the arguing and the negotiation! You might ask me what day it is, and I’ll answer “Tuesday.” Then you say, “No, it’s Wednesday.” And there is no changing your mind. It’s futile to argue, although I find myself getting sucked into the Typhoon of Argument Despair almost daily.
And heaven help us if we don’t know what you are talking about. You have a fairly short fuse, and often collapse into a puddle of whining and tears, complete with a foot stamp and stink eye if we don’t know what “thing” you’re talking about, no matter how few clues you’ve given us. Lucky for us, you are still easily consoled, rarely pout very long, and can often be cheered up quickly with a distraction. Or if you get what you want—this is an ongoing issue around here.
For your brother, though, you might just be the best little sister ever. You actually enjoy playing Pokemon with him. Once, when he was going on and on and on about his video game and I just got sick of listening, you said, “I’ll listen to you. Tell me.” He does leave you out sometimes, and has taken to locking his bedroom door, which breaks your heart.
Your worst little sister trick is one that I know and remember well—it was played on me. When he is getting in trouble, you pipe up to remind me how you are doing the right thing, or being polite, or having good manners, etc. I tell you that that doesn’t work—it didn’t work for Auntie Em and it doesn’t work for you.
I cringe thinking about the inappropriate words and tv shows and conversations that you hear and see, thanks to a 7 yr old brother. There is far too much Pokemon and potty talk for my liking, but luckily you seem to have a good handle on what’s appropriate at school vs. home.
I often tell the story about how we were ACTUALLY WORRIED that you weren’t talking that much at 18 months or even 2 years old. Compared to how your brother talked, you seemed fairly quiet. HA! Serves us right for worrying. The other day I had to ask if you could be quiet for 5 minutes, and I would set the timer, just to get some peace and quiet. Wonder where you get that talkative side?
Things you have learned/done this year include:
- Riding a bike with training wheels, and not just any bike: a pink and white princess bike
- Writing your name
- Starting a new preschool and making new friends
- Learning to play Crazy Eights
- Creating hundreds of paintings, drawings, and sculptures
- Planting a garden
- Learning to write your name
- Taking swimming lessons--and now you put your face in the water willingly!
We are so proud of you. You remind us to say grace at dinner, to get excited about beautiful flowers and airplanes and seeing the moon during the daytime. You share and find ways to include everyone, and really think about other people's feelings.
Happy Birthday - we love you to the moon, through outer space, and back!