To my littlest girl,
Well sweetie, now you are a whole four years old. I can’t believe it’s come so quickly, and you can’t believe it’s taken so long. Not only does everyone else in the family have their birthday before you in the year, I think you’d swear that every day of the last week has got longer and longer and every morning you’d ask me “how many more days is it now Mummy?”. I’m writing this on your birthday eve and while I was putting your brother to bed tonight I could hear you chatting away to your sister, planning each and every moment of tomorrow morning, starting with waking up, jumping out of bed and racing down stairs. We’ve been doing a little arranging in here, I think you’re going to like it.
So, what do I want the future you to know about you at four? And what do I want to treasure and remember?
I think the biggest thing is that right now you are so incredibly wholehearted about just about everything. You throw your whole self into everything, regardless of whether you know how to do it or not, and you fly more times than you have a bumpy landing. At the moment it’s all about singing and dancing, you and your sister could spend an entire afternoon dancing around the lounge, and you happily forgive her when your planned spins don’t quite take off and go back to leaping about without a second thought, usually singing along as you do. I sometimes wonder if we’ve accidentally stumbled upon your best learning style because you soak up songs like a sponge, from things on the radio to songs you hear us sing. The Baa Baa Bethlehem song in your birthday video was something that your sister learnt for her school nativity last year, and there you were, rattling it off in April. Your nursery are very big on singing and action songs and your teacher tells me that you get so caught up in the moment that every now and then you completely tumble over yourself, look very surprised, and then hop up and join in again. It sounds exactly like my little miss wiggly feet; I think you’re dancing even in your sleep.
Speaking of nursery, you absolutely love it. It’s only three mornings a week at the moment, but you’re already asking when you start afternoons and all the mornings which bodes very well for next September. You had an easier start of it than your sister because you knew quite a few people from playgroup and you’re so happy to be back with them, and it’s lovely for us to see you making such good friends, especially when their big brothers and sisters are friends with yours. I never hear very much about your days, but from what I can work out the notable moments seem to have been going into the garden in your slippers during a fire drill and other people’s school birthdays. You get to wear a crown during little meal and it’s a matter of some relief all round that you’re in nursery on your actual birthday because I don’t think you could have waited a minute longer.
When you’re at home I think you are the storyteller of my girls; when you’re playing lego your sister is all about the technical construction and working out how to make things stand up, but you put up a window, a door and a couple of bricks for a table and suddenly all these little Lego people are off on an adventure, quite oblivious to their surroundings. It’s the same when you want to read a story to your brother, you’ll have a look at the pictures and then tell him whatever you think the story ought to be, or when you play trains; there’s always a tale to be told.
You and he are best buddies, and occasionally fiercest rivals. It probably helps that there’s little between you in height, even though you’re still well above average for a four year old, and that 20 month age gap is shrinking by the day. When it’s just the two of you, I can see so clearly the unspoken understanding that you have, the way you settle into games together without ever really having agreed how it’s going to go. It’s lovely to see and lovely that you’ve had that time at home together while he’s actually been big enough to play with so that you’ve built a rock solid bond that allows you to fall out and fall over each other and still be chasing each other around the house for a hug.
As far as your sister is concerned, I think that starting nursery, and being at the same school and just across the hall from her classroom, has brought you closer too, I think she felt a little on the outside last year, being the only one at school but now you share so many stories (the fire drills!) and the daily rhythm of a school day. When it was suggested that you might join her kindergarten for a little bit in the summer when you fall into the multi-year age bracket she just couldn’t wait to have you with her, and it made me so proud of both of you.
You are a lovely mixture of gentle kindness and an iron will; if someone says “ouch” or sneezes, or your brother falls over, you rush to make sure they’re ok, and you give the biggest cuddles to anyone who needs cheering up, and yet at the same time I am confident that no one will ever be able to push that so far as to take advantage of you; you know your own mind and as both your parents have somewhat of a determined streak, it probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that it’s very clearly present in you too; channel it in the right direction and you’ll move mountains.
On the whole you are the happiest little girl in the world; you’ve got quite a strong sense of what you need to feel content. And yes, sometimes being your Mama is hard work, because being a parent was never supposed to be an easy ride, but it is more than worth it. You brighten up our lives my little ‘dorable girl and every single one of us loves you more than we could ever tell you.
Happy 4th Birthday, and many more to come.