It is your fourth birthday, and you are so proud of growing up. It seems like the last few months have marked a clear line between your toddler hood and your expanding big kid identity. We are enjoying this transition so much. Six months ago, you spent a lot of your time testing our wills and examining boundaries, in such a manipulative manner too. As a three year old, you always attempted to present your desires in a logical method or at least to convince us that you were making a "wise" decision. "No mom, it was my choice to pull Hope's hair. You shouldn't spank me because it was my choice." Or, "Mom, it is your fault that I got out of bed. You didn't leave the door open enough." We were entertained to see you practice your future-attorney skills and try your hardest at grown-up discussions, but it did get wearing after awhile. Now days, your understanding of right and wrong and your desire to do what's right outweighs the need for excessive arguments. It blessed me one morning a few weeks ago when you woke up saying, "I feel full of God today. I'm going to ask God to help me be kind to Ella." Your heart is sensitive and desires to obey Mom and Dad and to obey God. We overhear you regularly singing spontaneous songs of praise to God for sending Jesus, for caring for you, for always being with you. Your desire to serve Mommy each day is such a wonderful help and blessing as well. Just today I asked you to get Hope out of her highchair, take off her clothes and bring her to me in the shower. You cheerfully did as I asked, gently caring for Hope through every step. I was impressed by the servant heart that God is giving you, and thankful that I have such a wonderful helper for an oldest daughter!
Your social identity is expanding as well. You are always talking about your friends and planning adventures with them. When you meet new people, you no longer make ridiculous noises or awkwardly try to get attention (as you sometimes used to do). You've figured out (most of the time) that people enjoy conversation, and you eagerly engage with friends and family in discussing the latest events... This week I overheard you telling Grandma Spears about swimming lessons and your highly adored instructor Brianna, as well as conversations with old ladies in the check-out line at the co-op, and today with your pediatrician. You pine to play with the neighbor kids across the street, pretty much every afternoon.
Speaking of the pediatrician, your stats might be important to you when you grow up. At four years old, you weigh 37.75 pounds, and are almost 40 inches tall. That lands you squarely in the 50th percentile. You wear size 4T clothes, and size 9.5 or 10 shoes (which I suspect might be closer to the 100th percentile...blasted genetics!). When the doctor asked you what you like to eat today, you responded with, "Macaroni and Cheese, broccoli, and carrots." Your vision was 20/20, and I could tell that you really enjoyed showing off your knowledge of letters on the vision chart.
School is becoming very important to you, and you seem to be looking forward to homeschooling, even though we haven't made our final decision yet. You know all your letters, upper and lowercase, and you like to practice the sounds the letters make. Reading is just around the corner for you! In fact, if I was more faithful to encourage your reading, you probably would have already started. You love to "read" to Hope and baby Sylvi, repeating the words of board books and other simple picture books. Hope loves this too! You can write your name, do simple addition, and you love to problem solve doing puzzles and mazes. We recently bought a 70 piece My Little Pony puzzle at the Arc, which has become your favorite, though you usually want me to do a few pieces too. Your favorite read-alouds have been the American Girl books, The Boxcar Children, Charlotte's Web, Fairy Tales and Fables, and the Jesus Storybook Bible.
You're a girl after my own heart, with an absolute love of the outdoors. You spend well over half of your waking hours outside lately. You ride your pink tricycle, draw on the sidewalk, play "Santa Claus" on top of the playhouse, gather worms and bugs, and compete in imaginary races up and down the sidewalk. Daddy and I have been surprised at an apparent talent for batting a baseball. The first time I ever tossed a ball at you this spring, you swung a golf club at it and nailed it! For your birthday, Grandpa Spears gave you a tee, a glove, and a new bat and ball. Of course you spend tons of time each day whacking the ball around the yard!
You still spend tons of time in your pretend world, dressing up as Laura Ingalls, a ballerina, and playing mommy to your babies. Often you tag Hope as your husband and drag her along on dates or for a picnic in the living room. Hope is also your patient when you get out your doctor kit and begin checking her vitals. You both seem to really enjoy playing "Drive thru" with the playhouse outside. You adore Hope and often shower her with kisses and hugs- though sometimes you also like to give her a competitive push or trip.
Other things we love about you at four: You often steal away with my phone to call Daddy at work, just to chat. He loves getting calls from you. One night a few months ago, we woke you up from an apparent nightmare. When I asked you what you were dreaming about, you wailed, "I want to win the race!" You already have that competitive Patenaude nature (a blessing and a curse, I'd say :). You still change your clothes many, many times each day... leaving lots of picking up to do each night, but you're getting efficient at putting clothes away. Your favorite outfit seems to be your yellow tiered skirt with the purple sequins or your denim capris with a t-shirt.
I think this is a pretty good snapshot of you as you turn four. We are so thankful for you and love you so much. You are by no means perfect, but we very much enjoy watching God shape you into a delightful little person. We pray you are drawn more and more to Him in your 5th year!
love, mommy (and daddy)