This last year I repeatedly asked you to stop growing on me. Your response was always variations of the same thing: Do you want me to learn to count to 100? Do you want me to learn how to read? Do you want me to learn how to write my uppercase AND lowercase letters? Then I need to keep growing! Even those responses showed how mature your little brain was developing.
Your personality is strong, and I’m slowly realizing that often our disagreements are more due to my desire to control you than your outright disobedience. You understand and conceptualize, and typically you just need reasons behind why you're held accountable for following a specific rule. "Because I said so’s" are lost on you—in one ear and out the other—as your hunger for knowledge requires some semblance of a reason for everything. You understand the need for apologies, and your humble personality shines through when it’s your turn to accept one.
We’re constantly writing down the things you say because you’re always saying things that make us smile or laugh. Case in point:
“When I gave Kiva (our 7-pound dog) his treat he tried to punch me in the hand with his mouth!”
“Chocolate makes you poop because chocolate is brown and poop is brown.” “I did today all wrong.”
“Daddy, you’re going to make it overexplode (overflow)!”
“Sometimes when I feel like I have to puke I really just have to cough.”
“I can't hold my hungry!” and "But I can't hold my wait!" (the second one in reference to the final week before her baby sister was born)
You love bigger than any other person I’ve ever met. I’m still the lucky recipient of at least 10 hugs and kisses a day, and when you don’t think I’m grasping just how much you love me you adamantly explain that you love me ALL the letters, ALL the numbers and all the WORDS. Your sentimentality runs so deep that at bedtime just recently you quietly told me a special secret, saying, I think I love Lennon even more than I love myself.
Speaking of Lennon, I could have never dreamed how innate this big sister role would come to you. The first few months were rocky as you adjusted to losing our undivided attention, but you adapted faster than we expected and, more than that, started to take pride in any time you could be left alone in a room with your new lifelong companion to “babysit”. Lately you’ve been asking when you can get bunkbeds and share a room, clarifying that you “would need to sleep on top so my sister doesn’t get too scared”.
You still see simple beauty in the messes, proven by your need to pick all 12 dandelions in the yard before it was fertilized last spring because you can’t understand why we think they’re actually weeds when they're so obviously flowers. You will inadvertently lose your mind when any insect whizzes by your head, screaming “BEEEEE!”, then laugh to yourself when you realize it’s just a butterfly or even your hair tickling your cheek as you glide on a swing in the yard.
French fries and ranch remain at the top of your verbal favorites, although we know fresh bell peppers and cherry tomatoes are the two things that will actually draw you in first. You love writing your own songs and memorizing dance routines, and your outfits are constantly changing with each song you sing.
We have our most impactful conversations in the car as I watch your serious little face through the rearview mirror, pondering your answers to some of my questions to you about life. It’s here that we’ve discussed topics like being a leader instead of a follower, body image, standing up against peer pressure & that lying is still lying even if you aren’t caught. I pray your values remain as strong as they are right now.
You’re proud of your ability to count to 109 as well as read and write several words. You hide in the sanctuary of your own room to pretend to read to your dolls, but it’s in those moments that we hear you’re really working on sounding out the letters in the words. Your art table is a constant mess, and I’m often reminding myself that the rotating scraps of paper and glue stick marks on the surface are an important part of this developmental stage for you.
There’s so much more to you than what’s simply written here, but to document it all would require a lifetime to read. You make us proud of you constantly, even on the most trying days. I'm both excited and nervous to experience all the growing you'll do during this next year of life. Welcome to five, sweet pea!
“In a field full of roses, she is a wildflower”