Four years old.

Fur year old birthday girl happy excited party ice cream cake sundae candles marshmellows blow out dress up disney snow white My first baby is now four years old. Four years ago I brought a living being into this world. I don’t think the shock and awe of that, and wonder at the way the time passes, will ever go away. Four years is a college degree. It’s a paid off car loan.  It’s a helpless newborn morphing into an independent, high-spirited kid before your very eyes.

I’ve said this for each of Dot’s birthdays thus far, but four seems so big.

Dot is a mini-me. She gives me hell and I think my parents would say that I deserve it. She is stubborn as a mule. She is a perfectionist and prone to frustration. She can be bossy. She is the four-year-old version of what we lovingly referred to as a high-needs baby.

She feels with every part of her being. Her excitement cannot be contained; her anger cannot be controlled. She is inquisitive. She is observant and thoughtful. Her memory amazes me. She is imaginative. She is adventurous. She is silly and loving. She is a better big sister than I could have even dreamed her to be. Every morning I ask what she wants to wear and the answer is always a beautiful dress.

If she is particularly happy with someone she calls tells them they are her best friend. She can’t go to sleep without fresh cold water with ice (no really, she is upstairs carrying on about it as I type). She knows what she wants. At home she plays extensively with a handful of imaginary friends. She makes up songs and swings and sings at the top of her lungs. Despite a drawer full of adorable hair accessories, she typically insists on wearing her hair just down.

If she sleeps past seven she wakes up happy as can be. If not, she is a whiny, crying, demanding mess. She has more (often painfully long and drawn out) nicknames for her baby sister than I can even keep track of. She delights in the little joys of life and insists each day is a special day. She then tries to convince me she deserves a treat at breakfast 😉

little girl short hair riding tricycle in house kitchen wood floor ramona beezus the pest beverly cleary

She even rides a tricycle in the house like Ramona.

Dot loves her a princess. She dresses-up like it’s her job. She has been able to sit through a movie for years now and loves to discover a new favorite (recent ones include: Despicable Me, Lilo and Stitch, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and, of course, Tangled). She recently developed a love for chapter books and we’ve been working our way through the Ramona series. In many ways, Dot is our own little Ramona.

She has developed into quite the helper (assuming she’s in the mood). She likes to use the crevice tool and vacuum. She gets a kick out of “dusting” and mimics doing dishes in her play kitchen. She loves to open the blinds in our bedroom every day. She revels in picking out her dishes and silverware each meal and recently began pouring her own milk. She is best at being a fetcher though. She fetches diapers. She fetches wipes. She fetches cell phones and water bottles and burp rags. Or she says no thank you, nevermind.

Three was a tough year for us. It made two look like a sweet and docile walk in the park. If anything, we’ve come to accept that raising Dotter will likely test all that we know and try all that we’ve got. She’s gonna be quite the adolescent, that girl. But no one said raising a strong, independent woman was going to be easy. I think consistency will be our life raft. But love is our saving grace.

My sweet girl. I have grown more with you in four years than I would have in twenty without you. I look forward to breaks from your intensity and chaos but the house feels hollow when you’re not here. I long to impart on you the understanding that the world does not revolve around you. Secretly though? It kind of does. You’re too smart for your own good. You’re too sweet for this cruel world. Soon we’ll look back on these simpler times fondly. I feel like half your childhood has already gone. I hope we’re filling you with memories, nurturing your spirit, surrounding you in joy, and supplementing wherever we lack with boundless love and the best of intentions.

litte girl four years old beach playing puddles jumping splashing rockaway beach low tide oregon north coast grey overcast carefree childhood

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