Isabella at 4 Years, 1 Month

Isabella has had an interesting month.

I've noticed that four is a defiant age. Isabella is testing her limits and objecting to things that she would normally placidly agree to, seemingly just to push my buttons. She's always been opinionated and outspoken, but recently, she's taken this to a whole new level.

Let's talk tennis for a moment, shall we?

My health club has the best tennis facilities, coaches, and programs for kids in my area, so when the fall schedule for kids' programming came out, we asked Isabella if she would like to take the 7-week-long lessons. She eagerly agreed. I pitched the idea to write about the Kids Tennis Program for my health club's blog, and received comped lessons.

She picked out a new tennis racket. She practiced with the hubs, who played tennis in high school. She had a blast at her first two lessons.

But at her third lesson, she refused to participate. She clung to me like I was dropping her off at boarding school for six months. She cried and asked to leave. Despite my encouragement and that of her coach, we had to leave the court and go home. This was not even a drop-off scenario, because I sit 10 feet away from her, on the bleachers on the court, taking notes and photos for my blog post. And she never said she didn't want me to leave her.

She never gave any reason at all for wanting to stop taking lessons.

And on Saturday, the scenario repeated itself. Except this time, we didn't even make it into the car in our driveway.

I am completely confused. I think she is too, especially since she is jazzed about going to hit balls with the hubs today after preschool. She loves to "play tennis." Apparently, she does not love tennis lessons, which, I must say from having watched them, are so much fun and not hardcore in the slightest.

On the school front, she is doing wonderfully, although I must admit the back and forth loading and unloading of kids to make the preschool trip twice a day, four times a week is a bit tiresome. Preschool needs busing. I would pay for it, gladly.

And, school is wiping her out. She goes to preschool from 12:30-3:30, a time she's to this point spent either napping or more recently, having quiet time in her room. After picking her up, she's asked to take a nap at least three separate times, something she has firmly resisted doing for months now.

However, I must give credit to the awesome idea that Notes From the Frugal Trenches suggested in response to my need for Isabella to have quiet time in her room this past summer. She suggested filling 7 boxes with some of Isabella's toys, and giving her one box to play for each day of the week during quiet time. I started this over the summer, filling the boxes mainly with Isabella's own toys, but adding in a new box of crayons, or a sheet of stickers to keep things interesting.

To my complete delight, it worked. Now, on the days she doesn't have preschool (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) she stays in her room from 1-3pm and plays. No more yelling to come downstairs. I added in a Sticker Reward Chart, so each time she successfully stays in her room for quiet time, she places a sticker on her chart, and after so many stickers in a row, she gets a reward.

Oddly, the treat has not mattered to her so much as the excitement of adding another sticker to her chart. I've only purchased her one reward, this book, which I adore and highly recommend for any little girl.

Isabella continues to be a sweet and gentle big sister. When I begin to lose my mind with the twins, Isabella talks calmly and sweetly to them, trying to get them to comply with whatever it is they've been ignoring from my mouth. But I know their neediness grates on her. My great uncle took her and I out to breakfast on Friday morning while my great aunt and grandma watched the twins. After eating she said, "At least we got to eat in quiet!"

Amen, girlfriend.

She continues to ask me first thing in the morning, "Where are we going? Who's coming over today? Do I have a playdate today? How about preschool? Where are we going after preschool? Can we go to the library/playground/so-and-so's house?"

She likes to stay active, but I do believe she needs her own cruise director, because mommy is really, really tired.

Current Likes: Helping me clean (Holla!), doing somersaults, boys (God help me)

Current Dislikes: Tennis Lessons of Doom

8 Responses to “Isabella at 4 Years, 1 Month”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    Maybe, with the new school schedule, the tennis lessons are just too much right now. It could be if you let it go until Feb/March, she would have an entirely different reaction. She may feel too tired or too scheduled. Good luck with it. Frustrating. :)  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Woo Hoo! I'm so glad it worked for you! I haven't yet met anyone it didn't work for but many people are so-so about trying it out! I think the fact they only see those toys/crafts 1 day a week helps enormously as it makes them a treat. I'm sure the rewards help too :) So glad you are getting a break! I hope soon the tennis is a love too!  

  3. # Blogger Hopeful Mother

    She is getting SO big. Wish I could send you a cruise director just for her!

    Don't know what to say about tennis "lessons" but hope that it is just a phase and she will outgrow it...  

  4. # Anonymous christine

    She is so big! I do believe it was around this age that my mother somehow conned my sister into thinking that cleaning toilets was some sort of reward for getting so big! and as a "big girl" activity, my sister (the middle sibling) was all over that like white on rice. Her toilet bowls still sparkle. Just saying. :)  

  5. # Blogger Amy R

    I'm going to go with Mom24 on this one.....maybe the tennis lesssons, fun as they may be, was just one thing too many during this season of change/new things. The older my girls have gotten, I've really noticed that too many new things in a time period tend to make them resistant to things that they normally would have found fun. Going to school 4 days in a row, in the afternoon is a big adjustment from two days in the morning. If you can put the lessons off until winter/spring when the routine is more "routine", then I'll bet she jumps into them happily.  

  6. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    It's so frustrating when they switch gears on you unexpectedly. Maybe she'll decide that she likes tennis lessons again soon.  

  7. # Blogger Jamie

    She is so beautiful!

    I'm just glad it isn't only my child who randomly dislikes things for no apparent reason. :)  

  8. # Blogger Kristi

    Stacey and Amy-you may have a point. I definitely agree she is tired from school, but tennis is her only scheduled activity right now, so I'm not sure she's overscheduled. Also, she wants to be on the go CONSTANTLY. Much like me, she does not enjoy staying home for too long. She's a mystery wrapped in an enigma, that one.  

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