To be honest Eva, it feels like a miracle that we have reached your fourth birthday. When you turned three, I thought we would be over the worst of the tantrums. I thought the feistiness and the attitude would calm down. But if anything, this year has been harder work than I ever imagined. And even as we approach your fourth birthday, we have experienced, just in the last few weeks, some of the most difficult behaviour yet.
Ever since you followed Alice into pre-school, two years ago, you’ve loved it. You wanted to be with the “big girls” playing the grown up games. But in the last few weeks, there’s been a huge change. I’ve had to coax and plead with you to get your shoes on to go and then finally end up half carrying and half dragging you down the road whilst you’ve been screaming at the top of your lungs. You enjoy it once you are there, but the performance we seem to go through most mornings is wearing and I dread to think what the neighbours think. Some bedtimes have been no better either!
Growing Up But Not Wanting To
We’ve all deliberated over your recent behaviour. I thought at first you were just playing up and a way to make sure that you were getting our attention (you did!). Then I was convinced that you were anxious about starting school which you seem to have mixed feelings about. Now, I think it’s more that you feel lost. You’re on the cusp of growing up and going to school which excites you, but the change in routine and the lack of security terrifies you; you’re desperate to stay being little. It seems as though just when you’re finally getting what you’ve always wanted – to be with the big girls, you’re not quite so sure. You’ve started talking in a baby voice again and a few days ago you looked so sad as you said “I don’t want to be four.”
It must be such a strange time, knowing that you have expectations on you to grow up when you are scared of change. It’s something I need to keep reminding myself about during the hard times. You are emotional, sensitive and very switched on so rather than trying to change your behaviour, I need to accept that there is a lot going on in your head right now that you are trying to make sense of.
Happy and Affectionate
Most of the time you are calm, happy and a delight you’re such a different child it’s hard to believe the bad times! You are full of affection for everybody and so desperate to please. You insist on hugging all of your friends and teachers every time we leave pre-school, you always want cuddles from us and you’ve already greeted your new school teachers with a hug. You are so thoughtful that you often seem older than three. You frequently ask me how my day was and you’re the only child I know who wanted to write a thank you card to Father Christmas.
You’ve started ballet class and a new swimming class this year with a level of confidence and excitement that has staggered me. You have no qualms about leaving me and regularly insist on talking all through your classes to the point that the teachers have asked you to stop! You coped brilliantly in your recent ballet show, with no problems dancing on a stage in front of a hundred odd people, only pausing to check that we were in the audience watching. I’ve found all of this remarkable not least because as a child, I never had such confidence.
You are constantly making us laugh whether it’s your your requests to go to a pub for a packet of crisps, to learn to play golf like daddy or your fiery determination to wear whatever you like and not care what others think. I can only hope that you hang on to this carefree attitude for many years yet.
Your bizarre obsessions with things like Paw Patrol, Strictly Come Dancing, certain soft toys as well as the Boden and Smyths catalogues are all part of your funny little character that make us smile.
You’ve developed a love of music and enjoy tinkering on your grandparents’ pianos, making up songs as well as learning all the words to songs that you’ve heard on the radio (current favourites being Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky and Robbie Williams – I Love My Life).
Your bossiness with other children and your older sister is gentle but firm and it amuses me how you can tell other children what to do without seemingly upsetting anyone. Just last night you told Alice that her colouring was “good but could do with some more power.” I’m sure I can see the makings of a school teacher in you already!
And so as you turn four, I hope we can get through this period of change together. School is coming in September and whilst I know it’s causing you some anxieties, I have to admit that I’m a bit sad and nervous about the period of change too. It’s probably because you’re my youngest, my baby, but I’m going to miss having you, my little side-kick around. Wednesdays – our day off together, won’t feel the same again. I’ll miss our trips to the supermarket, with you in the trolley “helping” me and I’ll miss our special time alone together at the park and in town.
I’m sure that you will adapt to the change far quicker than me, and the irony after all these weeks of you feeling anxious, is that I will be the one feeling a little lost. I might feel sad come September, but I’m excited for you too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this new chapter in your life will bring.
I can’t wait to see you fly.
Happy Birthday darling Eva. xxxx