I wasn’t blogging back in October when Laura turned 4, so I never did a post all about her and what she’s like as a 4 year old. It’s almost better to do it now anyway, now that age 4 has been thoroughly broken in, and we know what it’s all about.
Since Laura as a 3 year old made me want to jump off my roof and then run into traffic, I laid in bed every night before her birthday, praying that 4 would be better. And guess what? It has been! Oh, there are still plenty of temper tantrums over trivial things such as the gruel I try to pass off as dinner, being banished from eating on the couch after Mommy found smashed pretzels under (and on) every cushion, markers that won’t cooperate, the sun shining in her eyes, or dogs named Moxie that happen to glance at her. All that probably makes Laura sound like a bad kid. And she’s not. She’s a really good kid, trapped in the body of a little girl who is extremely sensitive to her environment and has quite the temper. Those of you who know me know that she comes by at least one of those very honestly.
So what’s the improvement you ask? I think it boils down to a bit more maturity on her part. It’s still hard for Laura not to get frustrated when things don’t go her way, and it’s hard for her to be calm when things are too loud or too busy, but she has improved dramatically when it comes to handling all of those obstacles with more grace. She seems to gain control of herself much quicker these days, and is able to calm down in mere seconds whereas 2 or 3 year old Laura would dissolve in a 30 minute fit. I hate to put too much pressure on her because she’s still so young, but another thing that age 4 has brought us is improved responsibility. Laura is starting to improve so much in the areas of caring for herself, cleaning up after herself, and being safe. She has started (unprompted, I might add) to make her bed almost every morning, put her dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, and putting her toys away (although she has frequently just thrown them all in the closet and shut the door). Every so often she’ll take the Army Man’s giant water bottle into the bathroom and fill it up for him. Crossing the street or walking in a parking lot is no big deal anymore. She knows the drill. She’s memorized our phone number. She knows not to talk to strangers. She’s gotten so much better at brushing her teeth, swishing with her rinse, and flossing. She closes the door when she goes to the bathroom. Now at bath time she wants to wash her own hair. It’s bittersweet. I’m thrilled to see her blossoming into such a smart, helpful, and responsible girl, but it’s hard not to be needed as much. One of the best things about Laura being 4 is the conversations. I love that her vocabulary has exploded and that she understands so much now. She can convey her thoughts extremely well which is such a refreshing change from the collapsing she used to do when she couldn’t explain to me what it was that she wanted. The amount of hysterical laughter I have enjoyed due to her conversational skills is also worth noting. This child can remember almost anything and pull it out at the most random times. She recently referred to the Army Man as a “dirty boy” which I had called him about a month ago as I was bemoaning the absolute mess he had made with all of his Army things. She used that phrase as she explained to him that it doesn’t matter if she makes a mess in his truck since he is a dirty boy. I can’t really argue with that logic.
Laura can now wake up in the morning and tell me about her dreams from the night before. I ask her to remind me to do something later, and she does. We discuss what our plans are for the day. She helped me order a pair of shoes online last night; pointing out which ones she liked the best as we discussed the different styles and colors. How has all this happened in just 4 years? I remember shopping in the grocery store when she was brand new, with her in the Snugli. I remember, later, shopping with her sitting in the shopping cart, her babbling and me talking to her like she could understand every word. And now? She reminds me what I need to buy, she examines things and then places them in the cart for me, asks me questions about what I’m buying, makes food requests, tells a silly story or about something that happened at school.
I interviewed Laura while writing this, asking her to tell me about herself. She was very preoccupied with Valentine’s Day at the time, and talked extensively about all the presents and treats she was going to make and wrap and give to her friends. Laura is a sweet, caring little girl who loves to read, color, watch TV, comb hair, play outside, harass Moxie, jump on her Daddy, wrap presents, snuggle, blow bubbles, and play princesses. She loves dresses, tights, headbands, books, oatmeal, mac-and-cheese, and any type of shoes. Her scream can be heard from blocks away and makes Moxie perk up. She wishes she had a swing set. She loves to save money in her piggy bank. She doesn’t get it when I give her the evil eye. She talks loudly almost all of the time. She’s sensitive. She has to be physically restrained to have splinters removed. She's not afraid to get dirty. She plays rough with the boys at school but loves to take care of her dolls. She wants to be a Mommy when she grows up. She calls me her “sweet-sweet Mommy” which is the best thing I have ever been called.
I love you, Baby Lady.