Happy 4th Birthday, Isabella


Yesterday, you turned four years old. The night before your birthday, you were quite upset at bedtime.

You did not want to turn four.

As Daddy came to say goodnight, you asked him whether your birthday cake had a four on it. When he replied that it did, you asked him to scrape it off.
Luckily, you woke up in a great mood, announcing, "I had a conversation in my head last night, and now I'm okay with turning four."

I'm so glad, because as the years have passed, you've become sillier, funnier, and smarter. Three has been my favorite age so far.

Over the last few months, I've often been struck by how grown-up you are. Of course, we have two toddlers running around the house. This, by default, makes you the "big kid," and sometimes my expectations of you are beyond your years because of your sister and brother.

But you often speak and negotiate like a mini-adult, reciting memorized facts about dinosaurs, retaining and then talking about minute details of events that happened almost a full year ago, and using words like, "unfortunately," "actually," and "concentrate" in the correct context. Sometimes, this makes it difficult for me to see that really, you're still a little girl, even though you take a serious affront to that label. In fact, you were very offended when one of your camp counselors recently told you that you couldn't ride on the teeter-totter, because you were a little girl, and the teeter totter was for big girls.

You love being the "big girl" and I could not be more proud of the independence and confidence this desire brings.

Over the past year, you've seen some big changes. You rocked your first year at preschool, making me wish I had enrolled you for three days a week rather than two. You loved your teacher and your classmates, and other than a few days in March when you were upset about the switch to a new room, you never had any issues with separation anxiety. You loved the camps and swim lessons you took this summer, in part, because you were able to sail right into them, separate from me, and engage immediately with other kids and your teacher.

When I think about you at school, how much you learned, how confident and social and adaptive it helped to make you, I am filled with pride once again.

Of course, whether you want to be or not, you're still my little girl. Your heart (and mine) broke in two this past spring when we lost Charlie. He is your best friend, and you carry him everywhere. Fortunately, we found that you had stuffed him in a puzzle box, and were able to return your world to normal.

And you've dropped your nap, which I happen to think you still need. Sorry, but it's true. You'll be headed to preschool four afternoons a week beginning next month, so I'm hoping this will help to add a little structure to this time of day when you're at your most restless while we're at home while the twins sleep.

You continue to love art projects, drawing, coloring, and anything that involved glue. It's been close to a year since you began sleeping with books shoved under your pillow, and I can often hear you "reading" them after I've tucked you in. Trips to the library are among your favorite activities, and books about dinosaurs, birds, and the Berenstain Bears are usually tops among your picks.

In so many ways, I see myself in you. From the minute you wake up in the morning, you are on the go and your brain is working. I often feel like your personal cruise director, and on the very rare occasion I don't have a playdate or outing planned for the day, you are not happy. You always want to be out and active, asking me "who's coming over today?" "where are we going?" and "Can we go to the playground/museum/Starbucks?"

Yes, even though you only ever get milk and the occasional juice box when we're there, you love Starbucks almost as much as I do.

We've seen some big emotions from you over the past few months. Like me, you enjoy getting your way. And when negotiations break down, you are less than thrilled. You've logged some minutes in Time Out lately, and I hope the pouting and random exhaustion-fueled tantrums are not around for the long haul.

Your brother and sister adore you, their "Ba-Ba" and "Bella." You love them right back, and are very patient with them, even when they play with your toys. Our house is often filled with screaming, but it's sometimes filled with laughter too.

For your birthday this year, we decided to try something new. The greatest gift I ever received (besides you and your brother and sister, of course) was my college graduation gift, given to me five months before graduation. Your Grammie gave me a three-week class abroad in England. The gift of travel and of experience is incredibly important. I want you to see the world (and for awhile, the States) as I have. So, this year, we're starting small. We did not buy you presents this year.

Instead, tomorrow, we're leaving for Sesame Place. You've loved Sesame Street since you were a toddler, and right now, Big Bird is your favorite. We're spending tomorrow afternoon and all day Wednesday at the park, and then we're spending Thursday at The Crayola Factory, which, given your penchant for art projects and drawing, you might just enjoy more than Sesame Place. Your brother and sister are staying with Grammie. You'll have mommy and daddy all to yourself for the first time in almost two years.

I couldn't possibly love you more, baby girl. Happy 4th birthday.

5 Responses to “Happy 4th Birthday, Isabella”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    Beautiful post Kristi. It sounds like things are getting a bit easier. I'm glad. Have a wonderful time.  

  2. # Blogger Jesser

    What a gorgeous little girl she's turning into ... You must be just bursting with pride!! Love the b'day gift idea. They always say experiences make people happier than THINGS. I'm sure she'll love Sesame Place (who wouldn't??). Happy b'day to Isabella and congrats to you on a great little person.  

  3. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    I am ALL for the experience presents! Those are the best! Hope it's a great trip. Happy 4th Isabella!!  

  4. # Blogger Melissa

    So very sweet! I hope you all have a wonderful time on your trip. :-D  

  5. # Blogger Mary Finucane

    Have fun!  

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