Monday, April 04, 2011


My daughter is four. FOUR!

(Yes, it has been almost two months now since her birthday. It's not like I have been blogging about other things instead...)

I feel simultaneously like there is so much to say about Heather and yet I am finding it hard to put into words. A few months ago, a college friend asked about her personality, and I felt like I was just babbling unrelated stories instead of saying anything remotely coherent about who she is or who she might turn out to be. I suppose this makes sense since she is (only) four...but after four years it also feels like I should be able to describe her more simply. I suppose that just means she is like her mother - not fond of labels or being pigeon-holed into being one thing OR another.

She is a fun girl, an emotional girl and a caring girl. She seems to get along with everyone in her class well, but the kids we hear about most consistently are the boys in her class. It isn't clear if this is just because they are more likely to want to play Toy Story or talk about Cars & Lightning McQueen, but I think there is more to it than that, since it began before the Pixar obsession.

To call her a tomboy would be too simplistic. There are days when she insists on wearing a dress or having her nails painted or playing with my old Barbies, and her favorite colors are definitely pink and purple. But left to her own devices, she would be just as likely to cover her clothes in mud, play with the toys found in the "boy" aisles at the toy store (don't get me started on the gender stereotyping in preschool toys...) or to build big houses with the duplos.

Maybe I have so much difficulty coming up with the description because she defies all labels and we shouldn't call her anything but Heather. :-)

I'm proud of how well she gets along with her brother. It can't be easy to have a younger sibling who is so needy. (That is finally getting better, but I think 15-21 months was almost as tough for her as it was for us.) There are many moments that she helps Todd, sees to his needs and easily shares with him. There are also moments that she is unwilling to share, help or be kind...but I am led to believe that this is also normal from those who have experience with siblings. :-)

At four, her favorite things to watch are Bob the Builder, Thomas the Train, just about any Pixar movie (we have 1-2 left to get), The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That, Mama Mirabelle, and The Sound of Music. Although she enjoys her dolls, she tends to focus more on her stuffed animals. We have a lot, but there are also a lot of them that get turns at attention. Sometimes it is about her thinking of them and looking for them, but sometimes it is just a matter of which one literally catches her eye.

She also enjoys writing letters, looking at books (she's not reading yet, but enjoys flipping through books we've read many times), building with duplos, sculpting with play-doh, Barbies and making up intricate scenarios with her Toy Story toys, cars, trucks and little people. Many times I find her with a whole slew of toys spread out around her on the floor, each one playing an important part of the imagined scenario in progress.

Heather enjoys the zoo, the science center, the natural history museum, the aviary, the children's museum, the playground, indoor play places and the library. Sometimes the quick speed with which she moves from one display to the next at the museums is a little frustrating. But she can sit and watch a play (Her first was The Jungle Book with her friend Sebastian), a dance or a movie with patience. She can be impatient but she can also display the patience of a much older child. The girl just can't be labeled or predicted. :-)

As much as her stubbornness, bedtime neediness and refusal to cooperate can drive me absolutely batty at times, it is a privilege to get a front row seat for "The Life and Times of Heather." I'm a lucky mama in many ways.

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