Four years ago you entered this world in a fury. You were, on the day you were born, the exact same person you are today, only smaller. There was no honeymoon period for you. You came out of the womb with the will and desire to be the feisty ball of energy you are today. As a newborn, your legs and arms rarely stopped pumping and waving. You were constantly on the move. Always ahead of the curve. And today? You are the exact same. You never stop moving, talking, shaking, dancing, laughing, shouting.
In the past year you have started preschool, made new friends, become a cousin twice over and welcomed your baby sister. You can ride a bike, swim unassisted, and can pick out instruments when listening to music. Among your favorite activities are doing homework and playing the “opposite game.” We ask you question after question of opposites. You are very good and could play for hours. You also like when we ask you questions (Who was the first president? In what city does President Obama live? What letter does Moon start with? What number is bigger, 20 or 30?, What is the name of the building you live in?, etc). You are also convinced you are already a lawyer. And with those negotiation skills, you might as well be.
You have a tendency to say things like, “duh!” or “seriously?” when we tell you or ask you something. And while it’s kind of cute to hear a four year-old say “seriously?” with a questioning tone when you ask them to help clean up their room, we are fully aware that this is a glimpse into who you will be at 16. Heaven help us.
You are ridiculously smart – sometimes much too smart for your (or our) own good. You are sassy and talk back, push any limit we set for you, and are on the move nonstop. You have a very hard time understanding that you are not in charge and we have a lot of conversations about who is the “boss” of whom. While you understand, theoretically, that mom and dad are in charge, you just don’t want to accept it. The response back is typically, “well I’m in charge of Mila!”. Oh, Mila. Sweet, sweet Mila.
You welcomed your role as big sister and had no issue adjusting to having a new baby in the house. You were so, so happy that Mila was a girl. In the weeks leading up to Mila’s birth you were not afraid to say that you were not in any way interested in having a brother. Moments after giving birth to Mila I said, “thank god she’s a girl, or Sonia would have been really upset.” And now you have a sister. A sister! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. For the rest of your life, you will have a built-in best friend. Someone to care for, teach things to, gossip with, and love. I know that one day (probably sooner than I can imagine) the two of you will be teaming up against me to let me know exactly what I’m doing wrong, but I don’t care. I’m so happy for you two. Sisters. What is more beautiful than that?
You love to play games on the iPhone and iPad. One day we were at the coffee shop across the street and there was an old typewriter. I asked you if you knew what it was and you replied, “it’s for texting!” with compete confidence. You love to watch cartoons and your current favorites are Tom and Jerry and Jem. We love that you love the classic cartoons, because cartoons these days are all about teaching lessons and learning manners and come on, sometimes you just need some mindless entertainment.
Despite the fact that you can be difficult and full of spirit at home, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that your behavior is completely different at school. You are quiet and thoughtful. You help your classmates, work on projects unassisted and make your teachers laugh. I went along on a field trip this spring and many of the children from other classrooms wanted to sit by you at snack time. You have a personality that people of all ages are drawn to.
You love to draw and are very good at it. You mostly draw people and are very detailed. You made a drawing of me when I was pregnant, and you even included a little person in my belly. Your teachers were very impressed with your drawing skills and said you were quite advanced.
We also survived your princess stage, in which everything you wore had to be big, pink and garish. The more outrageous the better. If it didn't have a petticoat, you were not going to wear it. Pink taffeta? The number one choice. Sparkles too? Even better. Obviously, this was so not something we pushed on you. But, we let you dress yourself. And one day this spring you told us that real princesses didn't wear big pink dresses (Thanks, Princess Kate of Wales), and you put on shorts and a tank top and never looked back. I can't tell you how pleased this made us.
I feel so blessed to have been able to spend the past three months at home with you while I was on maternity leave. More than anything, I will remember that time as being full of blissful nothingness. We “chatted” a lot ("Mom, can we chat?," you’d often say), played with Mila, watched cartoons, had play dates, went on adventures, and swam. I can say with confidence that you are the smartest, most energetic, caring and charismatic four year-old around.
This letter would not be complete without mentioning your favorite person of all time – Maren. Maren started to babysit you when you were just over a year. She quickly became one of your favorite people on earth. You and Maren are like two peas in a pod and when given the choice between staying home with me or spending the day with Maren, you would choose Maren every time. Maren moves at the same pace as you (fast) and the time you spend with her is chock full of walks, bike rides, field trips and just plain old fun. You would absolutely not be the person you are today without Maren in your life.
In the past four years you have taught me everything I need to know about parenting – how to love, appreciate, cherish and enjoy. You have made me more patient and understanding. You have made me evaluate so many things about myself. As I tell you often, you are my best friend. You make my world so much brighter.