Saturday, April 25, 2015

And then, she was four...

I'm not sure when you grew up, but I know it happened too quickly.  You went from baby to preschooler so fast I don't even remember what you looked like at two.  Thank goodness I take way too many pictures and though I haven't actually developed any prints in years the crazy world of digital photography allows me to take and store thousands of photos for free.  So I'm sorry you have no photo albums beyond a year old, but don't worry, your sister probably won't have any at all.

Yes, you are going to be a big sister now.  Sometimes I worry how you will handle it, you so enjoy being a baby yourself.  You still sneak into our bed every night, and sleep between your parents, your arms and legs wrapped around one of us so tightly it's hard to untangle from your grasp.  Your sweet face often covered in tangles of your wispy, wild hair.  Hair that refuses to be contained to ponytails, braids or buns, even when shellacked with hairspray.  Yes, your hair suits you just perfectly. You would never conform to anything that you didn't want, why should your hair? We have learned to let it fly free, like your sprit, it just won't be contained.

While I continue to worry how you will accept your little sister's arrival, part of me thinks it will be so hard on you.  But then again, I see you with your big sister.  The way you treat her, even though you are the younger sister, you constantly look out for her.

I remember last summer on the beach, we had some lunch.  Di was playing in a muddy sand puddle, and you were on my lap.  As you finished your sandwich, I gave you two potato chips, just because it was vacation and you were so sweet and cute.  You took both chips and walked off.  I watched you walk away, as I often do. You went directly to your sister, and because her hands were elbow deep in sand, you told her to open her mouth.  You popped one of the chips in her mouth and happily walked away, munching your own.

When what started as an innocent paper cut, turned into a horrific infection that sent us to multiple doctors, specialists and hospitals.  It was awful, to see your finger look that bad.  It hurt us to look at it.  You really never complained at all.  Eventually, the doctors prescribed a medication so strong, the flavor of it was comparable to ammonia.  Even the pharmacist cringed when we filled it, and I paid the additional price to have extra flavoring added to it.  The pediatrician told us to give you anything you wanted to get you to take it consistently.  We agreed on one M&M with each biting tablespoon you had to swallow.

Well you demanded TWO M&Ms.  Ok, we contended.  This is a small price to pay to save your finger, and potentially much more if the infection spread throughout your body.  Even your dietitian mother decided it was worth the artificial food dyes and high fructose corn syrup to get you well.  Immediately upon reviewing your prize, you called you sister over for her share of your bounty.  Even though you had the pain, you had to endure the surgery and dressing changes, you had to taste the awful (but ultimately wonderful) medication, you gave half to your big sister.  Without thinking.  It was your instinct, part of your innate character, to be selfless.  To share your possessions, your joy with her.  It is not something you were taught.  This is simply you.

You do have this feisty fire that has come up more often as you become more independent.  You don't like to be told what to do.  I can't ask you to fetch my slippers, but if I mention my cold feet or a budding headache you run off to get my warm socks or cold compress and rush to my aid.  The same sister you lovingly feed half of your treats you have whacked out of frustration.  While I don't condone that, I do have a sense of relief that you will not be the type to let others tale advantage of your generosity.  You are so powerful, I never want anything to break that part of you.

Watching you grow, experiencing you learn.  Seeing you play with your little friends at school, I live for these moments.  Everything you do fascinates me.  Your effort to properly annunciate words that typically don't belong in a preschooler's vocabulary causes you to stutter often, but you persevere until you get it right.  You've never once given up for an easier word.  When I made the mistake of trying to say it for you, you don't appreciate my efforts at all.  I get it, baby.  You are so independent in many ways, but you still need so much from us as parents.  You demand it, and you suck in every ounce of attention we give you.  And you return that love so sweetly, so generously and genuinely, I often feel undeserving of something so beautiful.

You are hilarious.  Always doing anything for a laugh.  I love how you dance in the car to our gym music, how you can't take dancing with you sister seriously and just end up shaking your bum around, how you give the sky side look and half smile when you are up to no good.  How you run so much faster than your little legs seem meant to, often falling frequently.  But rarely do you cry, even when you are visibly injured.  Not much can deter you from doing what you want to do, even the occasional blood shed.

Your are still strikingly beautiful.  No, beauty isn't everything, but part of it is that personality that shines through your face.  And of course, those eyes. The way you sleep.  It's as if you were perfectly
posed for a nocturnal photographer.  Every position you turn to, your face, hands, you're angelic.  You certainly aren't even trying to look like that.  Just like your personality.  Unintentional perfection.

 It's not anything you control, it's just you baby.   My beautiful, sweet, powerful four year old.

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