4 years old

Dear Tiny and Buba,

Last Wednesday, you turned four. This was the first year where I really saw you getting excited as you waited for your birthday to arrive, and you are so proud to be four years old now. You both tell everyone we see, “Do you know that I’m four now?” I know that it’s true, but still, I can hardly believe it myself.

In this last year, you’ve grown so much. You are taller (something you’re very, very proud about) and your vocabularies continue to grow and grow each week. It is truly amazing to see you coming up with your own ideas (“I have a plan!”) and expressing your thoughts and feelings with more clarity. Of course, we don’t always see eye to eye, and sometimes you get very upset as a result, but I still love that you’re learning to think for yourself and are willing to speak up about what you think and believe.

At home, you still love to play together, but will also go your separate ways sometimes. Although you have tons of toys, you still prefer to be involved in some kind of pretend play or made up game. Various fairy tales (as well as a morning out at Disney on Ice) have inspired lots of reenactments, and your collection of dress-up clothes has grown and grown this year.

In the evenings and sometimes on weekends, you love to play games with Daddy. Although we’ve recently begun to play some board games (Hi-Ho Cherry O! and Snail’s Pace Race), you love to play The Acting Game (similar to charades, but with some talking allowed), Hide and Seek, and Simon Says. You also enjoy watching little videos on You Tube (something we’ve just recently begun to allow) and dancing with Daddy and me to just about any kind of music out there.

You both could spend almost all day outside if it were possible. Over the summer, Daddy found replacement parts and spruced up our 15 year old swing set in the backyard. You love to play on it, as well as in both the front and back yards. The cemetery near our house has very smooth roads, and you’ve spent lots of afternoons there riding your bikes, pushing baby dolls in strollers, and even flying a kite.

Tiny, you have continued to grow into the strong-minded, independent little girl we’ve know for quite some time now. When it was time for your first day of preschool in September, you didn’t even want me to walk you in the door. You insisted that I just pull up in the drop-off lane and let your teachers take you from there. Of course, I insisted that I walk you in on the first day, but day two, I let you have it your way, and you were so thrilled.

You are adored by both of your preschool teachers. They say that having you in the front room is like having a third teacher. You’re always willing to help out when they need a hand. But you also love to play and act silly with Buba and your new friends. You play at the water table, cut, color, and tape with the art supplies, and snuggle up with your buddy M in the baby doll bed. You really enjoy music time, and have taught me many of the songs you have learned in school. And just recently, you have been very excited about making friends with a couple of older girls in the far room. You play with them outside before dismissal time and are always chatty about the things you’ve done together while we’re driving home.

At gymnastics, you have continued to make tremendous progress. In May, your coaches suggested that we place you in an advanced group with older children who also pick up new skills relatively easily and quickly. We tried that class when gymnastics started back up in September, but quickly decided that we preferred to keep you in a class with children closer to your own age. I have not once regretted that decision. Your coach is very skillful and caring, and has helped you learn to walk backward on the balance beam, do walking turns on the beam, and turn cartwheels on the open floor. You love going to gymnastics each week and are eager to learn some of the “hard tricks” you’ve seen a few of the older girls do.

Buba, you are our silly, kind-hearted little boy. You love to do funny things and make everyone around you laugh. From your silly voices to your cute and crazy dance moves, you bring so many smiles and so much joy to our house and everywhere you go. I often find you sitting in the living room with a pile of books around you or in the midst of putting together a challenging jigsaw puzzle, but you also really, really like to play outside. You love to climb high, run far, jump around, and throw rocks in puddles. You are curious about the world, and like to observe and explore nature.

You were excited to start preschool this fall and seem to really enjoy all of the activities you get to do there. You could spend all morning playing at the water table, but also love to paint, play in the moon sand, and build with the blocks. Your teachers love having you in their class and say that you especially enjoy singing silly songs and making your classmates laugh. When you’re not playing with Tiny, you prefer to do your own thing. But recently, you’ve started talking about playing with a few classmates and have enjoyed playing with some older girls on the playground.

You continue to enjoy gymnastics, and can do so much more this year than you could do last year. Your upper body is much stronger, and your confidence has grown tremendously. At home, you love to show off the “hard tricks” you can do, which often involve jumping, somersaults, and jumping up to front support. You’ve also enjoyed learning to ice skate this year. From the very beginning you wanted almost nothing to do with the crates available to help little ones. You didn’t even want me to hold your hand. You may not be fast, but you certainly know how to get yourself around and can get yourself up when you fall. And when Dynamite plays through the loud speakers, you dance and bop without falling or missing a beat.

Your fourth birthday was surprisingly hard for me. There have been so many moments in the last few weeks where I’ve wanted to wrap my arms around you both and somehow make you stay little forever. But there’s no denying that you’re growing up. It’s happening so fast, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it or even slow it down. So, I just remind myself that the older you get, the more fun we have. And I’m looking forward to lots and lots of fun things coming up this year.

Happy 4th Birthday! I love you with all my heart and to the moon and back!