Sometimes I look at my daughter and am blown away by how grown up she seems. Being pregnant and feeling terrible for most of her 3rd year created a sort of time warp. I feel like we went straight from 2 to 4 years old. So, I've been jotting down things she says in my notes on the phone and trying to take at least one picture every day so that this chaotic transitional time with a new baby doesn't swallow another year without me noticing.
We have been carving out time for just the two of us which is so so yummy and fun and now that she knows she can ask for it, she asks all the time. I'm grateful to have a helpful, participatory co-parent to work with on all this kid sharing. He makes it possible.
Olive at 4 years and 1 month is sassy beyond belief. She has a retort to my request that she do something which drives me insane: shrugging her shoulders, jutting her chin out and tossing out the rudest, "I don't care." It is obviously a test - she wants to know what I will put up with but it really seems as though the child is gone and the teenager has arrived when she does it and that makes me sad.
When she does something particularly gross, she blames it on her imaginary little sister, Solan. Solan gets in trouble a lot but Olive is very adamant that she does not share responsibility and sometimes even offers to chastise Solan for me.
I realized how few opportunities we had around the house for large motor play and had Spartacus install a swing on the tree in the front yard. She loves it less for the exercise and more for the opportunity to hang out in the front yard by herself and talk to anyone who walks by. "Hi! I'm Olive!" I hear her repeat to every passing stranger from through the screen door while I sit on the couch nursing her brother.
She loves knee socks and has been replacing her usual tights with them the past few weeks. Perhaps she's realized how much easier it is to go to the bathroom in them? She is so opinionated about what she wears and won't let anyone pick out her clothes. I've had to put away quite a few things I'd bought before she reached this age because she's decided she doesn't wear _____ (stripes, pants, blue, etc.). I don't mind this at all and want her to wear whatever she wants (as long as it's appropriate for the weather and occasion) but only from amongst the wardrobe we currently have. I'm definitely not letting her pick things out to buy because it would be all pink plastic princess dresses forever. No thanks.
She told me she wanted to grow her hair out into a "long braid" (damn you, Elsa!) and we grew it for over a year. But the other day I reminded her that we wouldn't have to brush it if we cut it and she said, "cool, let's go do it right now". She proudly tells everyone who asks if she got a haircut, "Yeah, my mom did it! She can cut yours, too, if you want." which makes me so happy. I don't know anything about cutting hair but she thinks I do and that's everything. I know the time will come (soon!) when she won't let me anywhere near her head with the scissors.
While she bristles at being asked to do chores, she always replaces the toilet paper roll all on her own. She knows how to pull the rod out to slip the empty roll off, but instead she always cuts it off with her little scissors and then finally removes the rod to put a new roll on. I never ask her to do it and she never points it out that she has, but it makes me smile every time I sit down and see the telltale cut-up empty roll on the floor.
We've had a few deaths in the family recently and she definitely has a new, more sophisticated grasp on the concept. She asks when Spartacus and I will die, when Grandma will die and the other day mournfully exclaimed, "I love Charlie but I'm so sad that one day he will die!". It's hard to know exactly what to say. We always remind her that it's far far away for all of us - that she will have her own babies and maybe even they will have babies before we die, but of course, like for any of us, it is just going to be scary no matter how long it may be before it happens.
She's so interested in older girls and seeks them out at the park. She wants to be cool, she wants to belong and she puts on a ridiculous attitude when she's tagging along with the elementary school girls she always seems to find. She tells me she wants to grow up almost every day. "I wish I was bigger" she'll say or, "I HATE being four! I want to be TEN!". What I wouldn't give to be four again!
She is all pisces - fierce, sensitive and loving. It's so fun to watch her grow up.
* top photo by Pamela *