Mini turns four in a few days — !
I have nothing but platitudes to offer on this front, but it is wild that we have a child-aged baby all of the sudden. Or rather, a little human who is all child, no baby. When did that happen? Just yesterday we were rocking her to sleep next to the shower (she loved the sound of falling water when she was two or three months old) and swooning over her every squeak and burble and now she tells me she prefers the W to the R train because the W has “new blue seats” and asks complicated questions like why people go to jail. (Me: “People go to jail when they do something really bad — when they make a really bad choice. They break the law and that is the punishment.” Her: “Oh. Like they kick someone really, really hard?” Later the same week, a congenial police officer chatted with her on the way to school, and said: “Now, you make sure you clean your room and listen to your mom, OK?” After he left, she turned to me, shrugged, and said: “That’s the law and I don’t want to go to jail.” Right on, Officer!)
At four, my baby girl is independent, precocious, organized, creative, passionate, observant, sensitive, affectionate, determined, silly, and impressively brave. She is a prolific artist, bringing home thick portfolios of artwork from school on Fridays and spending several hours each weekend painting and drawing portraits of our family. She loves SpiderMan, the color blue, apples and bananas, dance parties in the living room (especially to hard rock like Metallica, provenance of her father!), reading books with her flashlight, piano music, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and delivering senseless jokes about coconuts and toilets. She is astoundingly patient with her brother and generous with her affections, often selflessly offering Mr. Magpie or myself the last bite of a prized treat.
On Christmas morning, when we all felt emotional about being so distant from one another, she jumped in front of the iPhone and told my parents-in-law, unprompted: “Merry Christmas! I just love you guys.”
I just love you guys. Who is this tiny human?! It was fortunate we had two active little bodies to point the camera towards, because I was busy dabbing at my eyes.
I am, in short, supremely proud of her. She is the best part of me.
Happy birthday to my angel baby.
Post-Scripts: Birthday Gifts for Four Year Olds.
We had planned to finally give mini the bike/trike we’d initially wanted to give her for Christmas (when we instead purchased the Maileg dollhouse as her big gift). But now that we are gearing up for a move, we have decided to defer the purchase of a bike until we’ve settled into a house and know it will see more use (also, one less bulky thing to clog our apartment for the next few months). When the time comes, I am interested in one of these Public Bikes for her — it converts from balance bike to training wheels to regular bike. I was interested to read the dissenting opinions on balance bikes vs. trikes vs. training wheels from various moms. There are pros and cons for all, and here are a few super cute models to consider in all categories:
LOVE THE HELMETS FROM BANWOOD
For mini’s birthday, we bought her the entire Aeromax astronaut setup — she is very interested in space — including this blow-up space shuttle, this astronaut suit, and the matching helmet. She and her brother love dress-up.
We also bought her what she asked for: blue sunglasses and superhero duplos, along with a National Geographic subscription and some new Ooly art supplies and Usborne activity books like this fingerprint set and this painting book. I couldn’t help but buy her a Barbie doll, too, mainly out of personal nostalgia. I loved Barbies from around her age until probably eleven or twelve!
A few other fun ideas for children her age that I know she would love…
ART CADDY FILLED WITH FRESH SETS OF MARKERS, PAINTBRUSHES, CRAYONS, ETC.
LITTLE FAUX CHANEL BAG TO MATCH MAMA
For even more ideas: a roundup of slow-burn toys — the toys my children keep coming back to week after week after week — and this guide from Cloud Montessori, a resource for parents looking to bring the Montessori way into their homes. I was so honored to have been profiled on their blog this past weekend.