Monday, August 11, 2008

To my 4-year old

Dear Emily,

You are 4 years old today, a fact that you have let no one forget! You are almost as excited to be 4 as you were to have your first real birthday party. And that's saying a lot.

After the big party on Saturday, I knew that we would spend today doing normal, everyday things; the kinds of things we do every day and the kinds of things I will always think of when I think of our weekdays together, just the three of us. And that's what we did.

We started off by going to the bank and opening your first bank account. You were so excited when the bank lady told you to sign your own name and you did it in both spaces. She gave you your own pass book and a princess colouring book because it was your birthday. You now love the bank.

After that we deposited your money from Omi and withdrew $20 to buy a toy. Then we went to the Parkdale Farmer's Market, ate raspberries out of the basket, you and Hope played at the park right next to the Market and then we zipped over to the toy store so you could spend your money on some furniture for your new doll house.

When we got home we shucked corn on the back porch, had corn and ham roll-ups for lunch, and then you and I fell asleep together on your bed. When you woke up we started making sushi, your request for your birthday supper, and had a great time doing it together. We've only done it twice but it is becoming one of my favourite things to do together in the kitchen after making cookies. We ate a lot of sushi and then the four of us went to Purple Cow for ice cream. We chatted with a few friends who walked by and now you are calling me from upstairs telling me you need to check your email.

Really, a perfect day for both of us I'd say.

You are such a great kid in so many ways and the last year has driven that home even more. If I had to qualify what the past year has been for you I'd say it was the year of The Curious. You started being curious about everything; you want to know how things work, why things happen, what we're doing, what Hope is doing. I've tried to foster that by looking for answers to things I don't know, mostly at the library, and by trying to explain things in detail and with patience. I don't always succeed with the last one. At the end of the day, I'll admit that I sometimes am tired of the questions but I'm working on still answering you. I never want to squash that inquisitive spirit of yours. It's going to take you far.

You are shy. You've had a number of anxious moments in the past year when you're faced with new experiences or even relatives or friends you haven't seen in a while. You'll often hang back and then get more and more worked up about how shy you feel. I hope that Junior Kindergarten will help you work this out. I don't want you to miss out on some of the fun that you keep yourself from.

You are so so so excited about starting JK in September. You have already drawn a picture for your teacher. She is so lucky to have you in her class. She has no idea, but she will. I'm envious of her discovery of you. I already know how amazing you are but I still remember that discovery unfolding and would love to relive that again.

You are also very challenging. Somedays I feel like the Grumpy Mummy because I've been on you all day about your behaviour. Somedays you are just downright grumpy yourself. You struggle lately with remembering to be polite. You are always very demanding and this is what wears me out the most at the end of the day. Having said all that though, you're still awesome and I wouldn't trade you for anyone anywhere. I'm so glad you are you.

You keep me laughing; you love to play games (which is so great because I love to play them too even if they are kids' games); you are very silly; you love to dance and sing and put on "shows"; you love to play outside, investigate things in nature, dig in the garden, collect things; you LOVE to cook and bake, thus the cooking-themed birthday part and your declaration on your JK intake form that Jamie's Family Dinners is one of your favourite books; you are still the most affectionate child I've ever met and all my friends are envious of me because of that; you always start the day snuggling with me in our bed; you often ask for snuggles during the day; you still want to hold my hand, sit on my lap, give me kisses; I do not take this for granted and never will; you love friends, particularly playing with Nevan, Ella, Rebecca, Mimi, Kennedy and Claire, and of course, Hope.

You and Hope are very close. You give each other kisses and hugs every night before you go to bed. You are often the first person Hope asks about when she wakes up and if Hope is having a long nap and you aren't having a nap at all, you ask if she is up yet. Yesterday as we walked home from the park, Hope was cuddled up into your chest in the Chariot. You had your arms around her and she was hugging you while she rested in your arms. I choked back a tear or two. Daddy was a little overcome too. We love how close you are.

That doesn't mean you don't have arguments. You have a lot of them. But I also know that comes with being sisters. I just hope the hugs last for a long time.

I recently decided to extend my leave from work for at least two more years and that is in no small party because of you. I just don't want to be away from you and Hope.

Thanks for being you, Emmy. You make my life wonderful in so many ways, in some ways I'm not even aware of yet.

You are the perfect 4-year-old for me.



Julie said...

Happy birthday Emily. You are one very lucky girl to have such an incredible Mummy.

Shan said...

Happy Birthday Emily. I agree with Julie! Beautiful post Karen. Made me teary!

Your girls sound like mine. I love that they are so close. It's such a gift for all of us.