You're four years old now! I know it's cliche, but I can hardly believe it's been four years since you made me a mom. Every fall, I'm flooded by memories of your early baby days. I remember wandering around our house in a sleep-deprived state, still in utter disbelief God had entrusted your dad and I with this precious baby girl to raise. What they say is true -- the days are long, but the years are short. Here we are, four years later, rocking this momma / daughter thing!
You are the absolute light of my life, Tory. We spend nearly every minute of every day together and yet, I still miss you the minute to fall asleep for the night. You're my side-kick, my constant companion, and I love you to pieces.
As I re-read the letter I wrote to you at 3 1/2 years old, I couldn't help but notice how much you've matured in the last six months. Physically, you look like a little girl now -- no longer a trace of babyhood. The chub in your cheeks is gone, your hair is styled differently now, and your legs have grown about a mile since the winter. Perhaps, even more noticeable is your personality and the way carry yourself through everyday life. You're confident, responsible, thoughtful, loving and interested in the world around you.
The last six months or so have been a breeze with you. Dare I acknowledge that fact aloud or you'll likely turn into a pumpkin at midnight, but it's true! Ninety-nine percent of the time you are an absolute joy to be around. You're smart, funny and inquisitive. You're a great help around the house and excellent at following directions. In fact, this is one of things most adults tell me after spending time with you -- how well you listen to instruction and follow along accordingly. You're able to perform many daily tasks on your own now, like getting yourself dressed in the morning and clearing your own plate after meals. You're also really great at entertaining yourself, which is wonderful since you're no longer taking a nap during the day. You'll quietly sit and play dollhouse in the living room, or paint at the dining room table for quite some time on your own.
You've just started preschool again this fall, and absolutely love going to school. You have the same teacher and classroom as last year, and there hasn't been any issue with separating from me like previous years. As a mother, it's an awesome feeling to see you strut into school with a smile on your face. This fall, you also started gymnastics class and afterwards when I asked if you liked it, you said "I didn't like it, I LOVED IT!" That's music to a mama's ears; I just want you to be happy, Tory Girl.
At your recent yearly well-child doctor's visit, you measured in at 38 inches tall and 32 pounds. You were the perfect patient, Tory, answering all the doctor's questions about yourself and cooperatively participating in a hearing and vision test. You currently wear size 4T clothing and size 8 shoes. You prefer to wear only dresses (with shorts or leggings underneath) and nightgowns.
For once in your life, sleep is a pleasant topic of discussion! You no longer take an afternoon nap and make it through most days without any major meltdowns from exhaustion. You typically go to bed around 8:00pm (asleep by 8:30pm) and wake up around 7:00am. Over the summer, you got in the habit of sleeping in late some mornings -- sometimes staying in bed until 8:30am! Very rarely do you wake up during the night anymore, and have started verbalizing when you're tired by saying something like, "Can I close my eyes for a little bit?" Best of all, you've learned how to roll over and go back to sleep on your own when something (or someone, ahem, Aden) wakes you up before you're ready. Sleep is finally going well for you, and I'm so glad.
Recently, you learned how to pedal a tricycle and this has been a key factor in gaining independence and confidence. You can now ride your trike to the neighborhood park and back, no longer limited to walking or riding in the stroller with Aden. For some reason, it was really hard for you to grasp the concept of pedaling forward with continuing momentum. One day this summer, I took you to the park where you rode your tricycle around on a flat basketball surface and it just clicked. You got it!
One thing I've noticed about this age is your interest in drawing pictures, specifically family portraits. All of your drawings look the same -- you draw a circle for a person's head and two long vertical lines downward for legs. Then, you draw several horizontal lines above the circle head for the person's hair. There are no bodies and no arms or legs. Sometimes, you'll draw eyes and a mouth "if there's room." I can't get enough of these little drawings of yours. I think I've saved a dozen of them!
You now recognize all the letters of the alphabet, and your handwriting is coming along well. With assistance, you can spell words of your own and easily write your own name T-o-r-y. You like to count to 100 and can reach number 39 before you have to ask, "What comes next?" When someone gives you the next prompt (i.e.: "40"), you'll continue to count along until you're stuck again. Funny enough, you're teaching Aden to count without even realizing it. He chimes in with numbers 1-20.
Right now, your favorite television show is Octonauts. You'll watch back-to-back episodes of that show and know all sorts of interesting facts about sea creatures because of it. Recently, you've also started to watch Doc McStuffins again, and specifically request the "Doc is sick" episode where the main character has the flu. I suspect it's because you like to make-believe playing hospital with your dollhouse and princess figurines. For your fourth birthday, you received Barbie dolls, a Barbie mansion, a play hospital and an ambulance so now you're really able to set the scene.
THINGS TO DO
This summer, you've enjoyed going to various parks in the area and having picnics outdoors. You made up the cutest names for all the usual playgrounds we visit based on their characteristics -- the wood chip park, the tunnel park, the sand park, etc. You took a ballet class this summer which you really enjoyed. You also like doing arts & crafts (mostly water-color painting, ink stamping and cutting paper with a scissors). Most of all, you love spending time at the lake cabin and had an awesome summer swimming in the lake, jet skiing, tubing behind the pontoon and building sandcastles. What an awesome place to spend your childhood!
You're a hearty, but selective eater. You eat mostly butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken fries, frozen waffles, yogurt, grapes and bananas. We have the hardest time getting you to eat "family meals" with us, and any vegetable other than corn is a no-go. I wish you'd be more adventurous in eating, but most days I just don't feel like battling you on the matter. Recently, I have been successful in convincing you to at least try one bite, but you practically gag on whatever food it is I'm insisting you try before you even get it into your mouth. You've usually made your mind up that it'll taste horrible and wouldn't admit to liking it even if you did.
PLAYMATES, FRIENDS and FAMILY
Ask you and you'll say your best friends are Ashley (who lives in Kentucky) and Hannah (your friend at the lake cabin). You've also developed a friendship with Sophie from ECFE preschool last year and specifically requested she attend your princess birthday party last month. Grandma Janie continues to be your favorite person on Earth, and you soak in every bit of attention she shows you. Of course, Aden is your constant playmate and little buddy. The two of you have a sweet sibling relationship, and he looks up to you with so much adoration.
Finally, I thought it'd be fun to continue the tradition of "interviewing" you on your fourth birthday. Here's what you had to say about life these days:
How old are you today? Four.
Where do you live? In Minnesota.
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? Go skiing because we went skiing a really long time ago.
What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Make crafts.
What is your favorite thing to do with Aden? Play baby stuff with him.
What is your favorite color? Pink. Pink, pink, pink!
Who is your best friend? Ashley.
What is your favorite book? Picture of Ashley (A Shutterfly book I made of the two girls together).
What is your favorite food to eat? Cupcakes.
What is your favorite thing to play? Dollhouse.
Where is your favorite place to go? The cabin.
What is your favorite song? The ABC's
If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? I don't know.
What is your favorite animal? Zebra.
What would you like to do when you grow up? Be a mommy.
What do you want to do on your birthday? Eat cupcakes.
Here's to a great year being FOUR! Can't wait to experience it all with you.