Each birthday brings a bit of nostalgia and a reminder of how quickly time passes by. With your first born each birthday is also a reminder of how much time has passed since your pre-children days and how much richer life has become since starting a family. Both boys have been engrossed with "reading" their baby books, studying each page of photos with incredible focus. The past few weeks have been one long #tbt of stories and questions about "when I was a baby..." as we approached Big A's 4th Birthday.
This birthday introduced a new set of emotions as I realize just how close we are to the end of toddlerhood and preschool. Big A's greater independence and his limitless level of curiosity are setting the stage for amazing journeys ahead, but I find myself relishing in the quirky silliness of this four year-old world more and more. Expanding vocabulary provides the opportunity for some humorous exchanges, whether in negotiation for a particular play opportunity or to justify a special snack.
One of my favorite traits of a four year-old is how they love to exaggerate. This trait is highlighted further by the overall desire to be creative, try out new language (enjoyment of using big words), and have a friendly disposition. Four year-olds like feeling responsible (like a "big person") and will often imitate adult roles through imaginative play (including dress-up). As expected with this age, Big A has started sharing more about his personal experiences (e.g. what happened at school) without prompting. The car rides to school are generally filled with list of things he plans to accomplish or try that day, while the ride home is a recap of snack, toy choices, and other classroom tidbits (e.g. "_____ didn't want snack today" or "____ wasn't listening at meeting").
Big A played an important role in the birthday planning this year, which undoubtably reinforced those new emotions about what a "big boy" he has become. From picking the birthday snack food to selecting a special visitor to attend meeting and snack celebration, Big A had a lot of opinions about how his birthday should unfold. The ownership over the day came with much anticipation and it's passing was met with two important questions, "Mommy, is it still my birthday?" and "How many more days until I am five?"
The past four years have been some of the most challenging and most memorable at the same time. There is no other period in my life that has felt more complete. As we embark on the the journeys ahead and take on the power of year four I feel myself holding on to what little time is left before Big A transitions to "a big kid who rides the bus to school." Recently, Big A has asked for a few extra hugs at drop off and before bed. It looks like we are both trying to hold on to these toddler/preschool years and are taking advantage of all the extra moments we can collect.
**If you would like to read more about the development of a four year-old, I recommend the following resources...
US National Library of Medicine
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com