A Letter to My Daughter, 09/09

Dear Emmeline:

You're four-and-a-half now, and jeez, how the time has flown. You've become the model four-year-old that everyone talks about, the one that makes you laugh out loud at least 2-3 times a day with your antics.

Let's see, where to begin? You finish your third week at "big school" tomorrow and are doing wonderfully there. I think it's been more of an adjustment for me than you--you're attending a Catholic school, as public schools are out of the question. Nothing against Catholics, but I'm not one, so it's been a bit odd for me, and I've been concerned that you might feel left out at times, if you're considered different from the other kids because you don't share their faith. So far, though, you're taking it in stride. You've really warmed to the whole Jesus and Mary thing, including making me play songs about them on the way to school each day. Thank God (no pun intended) for my ipod with the Christmas song playlist on it, or you'd pretty much be out of luck. Last week, you informed me that instead of being Jasmine for Halloween, you want to be the Virgin Mary. I tried to keep a straight face for that one, while also thinking about what a ridiculously cheap Halloween costume that would be (blue sheet? check).

So anyway, I'm glad you're getting some upbringing in the ideas of the Christian faith, as I haven't done a very good job of it, and even though I sometimes struggle with my own feelings on the matter.

You are continuing to thrive at all of the things a four-year-old should be learning how to do. This morning, on the way to school, you counted to 25 all by yourself. You love to practice writing your letters, and you've become a pro at writing out your own name--although you're still rather indiscriminate about how, exactly, your name should be written across the page--sometimes, it makes it all on one line; more often than not, it's scrawled across three or four lines on the paper. I blame myself for giving you an eight-letter name.

I recently created an "art basket" for you, which includes everything a girl could ask for--crayons, highlighters (pilfered by you from my office), construction paper, stickers, little jewels, and your two most prized possessions these days, safety scissors and Elmer's glue. A little to my neat-freak dismay, you love to cut shapes out of any piece of paper you come across and then glue it to anything that's not moving (the cat didn't really appreciate it). I'm trying to nurture your artistic nature while also keeping my anal-retentive side in check, but sometimes, after picking up the 56th piece of teeny-tiny paper for the day, I mutter to myself, a little. Your art projects are often both creative and hysterical--thus far, you've created a "purse" that you take everywhere with you, that you made out of a plastic produce bag from the grocery store. You made a handle out of twisted-up newspaper and glued that to it, then cut out a bunch of magazine pictures of cats and teddy bears, which you also glued to it. Amazingly, that thing has held up for over a month now. Yesterday, Kenny called me into the room to see your latest project--you drew a picture of a cat, cut it out, and then cut out pictures of shoes and glued them to the where the cat's feet should be. It was quite creative, and one stylish kitty.

You're getting big--so big. You weigh about 45 pounds now and are over 3 1/2 feet tall. It's a bit of a struggle to pick you up, and each time I do so, I'm struck with a bit of sadness in knowing that you won't want me to much longer.

The sneakiness gene you inherited from me continues--we recently found a stockpile of old vegetables hidden under a piece of furniture, where you'd secreted them away. It was very hard for me to keep a straight face while talking to you about it, because in my head, I was thinking "That's my girl!"

You still say "bacuter" for computer; I told Kenny last week that it will break my heart when that last little bit of babyness is gone. We were worried that leaving "big soft blankie" at home in order to go off to "big school" might be a challenge, but you've taken it all in stride. Thumb-sucking happens only at night these days, while you're comforting yourself to sleep--I'm sure I'll still have the orthodontia bills to account for, but you're growing up.

I doubt my parenting skills quite frequently--am I practicing "benign neglect" too much? Am I hovering too much? Should I give in, or will that make you spoiled? Should I force the issue, thereby stifling you, or "pick my battles?" Parenting is hard--I don't think anyone realizes how hard it is until they experience it. But at the same time, I look at you and what a happy, well-adjusted, cheerful, talkative, loving, sweet, only occasionally defiant child you are, and I think your dad and I must be doing something right.

I love you, pretty girl, and look forward to more adventures to come.

Love, Mom

No comments: