Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Addy: 4 Years Old!

Dear Linny Bug,

You are getting so big!  Daddy and I comment on that all of the time.  No longer a toddler, you are now a little girl.  You have your own opinions and ideas, and you are constantly amazing us with your smart retorts and insightful questions.  It really is such a blessing to watch you grow and develop.

But, I must admit that we were jumping for joy when you hit this 4 year mark... if only to be out of the land of the threes.  I'll start with the rough parts of the past year and then move on to the fun stuff.  Three was a tough year, and I 'd be lying if I didn't say so.  People talk about the terrible twos... well, the twos were nothing compared to the threes!  During the fourth year you were discovering your inner voice, your opinions, your independence.  Man, you would argue anything with us.  It seemed like everything was always a battle, and even though you never won, you just kept on fighting, kept on pushing back and digging your heels in.  Daddy and I joke that you might be a lawyer someday, with your constant arguments.  I know a lot of that is your personality.  You are very strong willed and stubborn, and one would never call you an easygoing child.  But I'm hoping that a large part of it was your age too, because a lifetime of this past year would drive me to drink ;)

I think a big reason why three was so challenging was that you were overcome with new emotions and blossoming independence, but you were still too young to control your emotions.  As it is, you are a very emotional person, and that's great, but at times you are like a ticking time bomb.  We never know what will throw you over the edge into hysterics.  When you wake up in the morning, sometimes you are as sweet and pleasant as can be, and sometimes you start the day with "Don't look at me!!!"  We just never know what we're going to get.  There were more tantrums and time outs in this past year than I could ever try to count.  Sometimes there were more in a day than I could count.

 I will say this though.  Parenting a three year old made me a better person, there is no doubt about that.  It made me dig deep and find patience that I never knew I had.  Because I know that it's worth it.  Even on the toughest days when I wanted to throw in the towel and say, "You win", I didn't.  Addy, you are a bright, amazing child, and you are so very worth it.

On the bright side of all of these characteristics I've been talking about is the fact that you are a born leader.  I love that about you!  It's something that I never was, and wished that I could be.  You march to your own beat, no matter if everyone else is going in a different direction.  You do it your way, and often times others naturally follow you.  So now, Daddy's and my job is to raise you to be a positive role model, with the mindset that others are looking to you for guidance.  I read a quote recently that made me think of you:

 "I want every little girl who is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills." - Sheryl Sandberg

Leadership is such an awesome quality to possess, and if you use it well, those skills will take you far in life.

You are one of the most inquisitive little people I have ever met.  There is never a dull (or quiet) moment with you around.  Daddy and I recognize that this is your way of learning about the world, and always asking questions is a great way for you to do that.  But, that doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally drive us bonkers.  There are times when, to preserve our sanity, we have to say, "Addy, let's just not talk for a few minutes.  Just be quiet for a few minutes."  Especially in the car.  You honestly talk and ask questions the ENTIRE time we are driving anywhere.  The other day you cracked me up because I was on the phone and you kept asking me questions, so when I was done I told you that when I'm on the phone your lips need to be zipped.  Your response?  "But Mommy, my lips just go crazy.  I can't help it."  It was so funny, and so true.  How can I stay annoyed with a response like that?

Speaking of being in the car, I've said this before and I'll say it again.  Your sense of direction is nothing short of amazing to me.  You 100% know your way around better than I do, and that's no exaggeration.  We were heading down 81 South the other day (a road that we rarely travel) and you said, "This is the way to the beach."  And you were right!  Though we haven't traveled that way in a solid 9 months, you remembered.  It blew my mind.  Especially because I couldn't have even said that it was the way to the beach.  (Not that that means much.  My sense of direction is poor at best.)

Addy Marie, you are quite the little firecracker and you really seem to have endless energy.  We always know when you're around because you're running all over the place and you are nonstop.  You play hard and you fight hard, but you also love hard too.  The times when you crawl up next to me on the couch, snuggle in, and say, "I love you so much Mommy", well, they melt my heart.  I just want to squeeze you and snuggle forever.  You are such a loving, caring big sister to Emmy and she looks up to you more than you could ever know.  You love to show her how to do things...even though it often means you are just taking over whatever it is she was doing ;)  You call her sweetie and you always make sure there is room for her during clean up at gymnastics even though she is too young to actually be part of the class.  I hear you calling, "Come on Emmy!  Stand over here by me!", and you move over to make room for her.  You make sure that Emma gets a stamp and a sticker at the end of class just like all of the gymnasts do :)

We transitioned you out of the toddler bed (AKA crib mattress) and finally into a big girl bed in October.  You now have a full sized bed of your own, complete with a Frozen bed set.  You absolutely love it, and you had no problem with the transition, although Daddy and I are regretting our mattress choice, as it seems hard as a rock to us.  But I guess anything is better than a crib mattress, right?  You have little foam bumpers that we stick under your sheets and they seem to keep you in place.  In all of the months that you've been in that bed, you only fell out once.  And by the morning you didn't even remember.

Every night you sleep with Baby and Blanket, and now your three Care Bears have joined the mix.  But Baby and Blanket have been a staple for years.  They are both faded and falling apart, but they are your security and you love them.  You are still a thumb sucker, though I'm telling myself that the frequency is decreasing.  You do it when you are nervous or tired, but that's about it.  We are trying to break the habit completely though because your two middle bottom teeth are getting crooked from sucking your thumb too much.  But as soon as you get your hands on Baby and Blanket, your thumb immediately goes in your mouth.  Oh well, we'll get there.

Your current bedtime song of choice is "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".  For months (maybe even years) it was "Grand Old Flag", but now you have switched things up, and like you always do, you have a rationale for that.  "Twinkle Twinkle" is for our house because you have stars on your ceiling.  "Grand Old" is reserved for when we are away, because there are not stars on the ceiling in other places.  Whatever you say Addy ;)

You favorite show went from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at the beginning of your fourth year, to Paw Patrol being your current favorite.  And by far, Frozen was the big movie/soundtrack of our lives this past year.  You and Emma both love, love, love Frozen!  You, of course, chose Elsa as your favorite character, and informed Emma that Anna is her favorite.  And Emma naturally went along with it ;)

As far as fashion is concerned, I wouldn't say you are overly into all of that.  You like to play dress up, but when it comes to every day dressing, you are definitely more of a function over fashion type of girl.  Comfort is key with you.  You are very sensitive to anything being scratchy or tight.  Give you a pair of soft sweatpants and a big comfy sweatshirt and you're happy.

You have officially grown out of your 4T clothes and you wear a 5T now.  The last toddler size.  Then you move up to the "girls" section of the store.  I can't believe it!

Your 4 year checkup went well except that they claimed you had an abnormal vision screen.  You were dancing all over the halls during your exam, so I knew that it probably wasn't accurrate, but they claimed that your vision was 20/40 and they recommended that you see an ophthalmologist.  We complied, and just as we thought, your vision was totally normal.

Here are your 4 year stats:

Weight: 38lbs (72nd percentile)
Height: 41.25inches (79th percentile)
BMI: 15.7 kg/m2 (62nd percentile)
BP: 92/56
HR: 100

You took your exam like a champ and you kept exclaiming, "This is my favorite part!"

And I can't end the post without mention of that hair of yours.  Tina has coined it, "Wild Hair, Don't Care", because that's so you.  Your wild mane is so unmanageable (for me who is used to stick straight hair).  I swear I cannot create a smooth ponytail for you no matter how much water or gel I use.  And it only takes approximately 20 seconds of you running around for your hair to look like a complete mess, no matter how much I tried to "do it".  As crazy as your hair is, I love it!  I love those unruly curls that never seem to go in place.  Your hair fits you and it's perfect :)

And here, my darling, is the barage of my favorite pictures of you from this past year:













Well, there is a synopsis of your fourth year of life.  It was a wild, crazy, and often exhausting year, but you, my first born child, make it all worthwhile.  You are a silly, fun, smart, and energetic little girl, and life with you is never boring.  I cherish these young years, and I'm so grateful that I am able to spend this time at home with you and your sister.  You bring so much joy and fun into the world and I am blessed to be your mama.

I love you more than you could ever know Addy Marie. Happy 4th birthday!