My youngest child turned four a few weeks ago. It’s a big age, four. Your newborn arrives with a bang, a whirlwind of broken sleep, wonder, chaos and love. She transforms to a toddler with a bang. One day she is a pleasant smiley cherub with an angelic smile and chubby thighs and the next she is lying on the ground kicking her legs, screaming hysterically in the most inopportune public setting. She leaves this stage more gradually and then she is four and you realise how big she is, how she has grown and how some of the ties that bind you together are unravelling away. This is a good thing, she is becoming her own person, she is becoming independent, she is finding her little feet in the huge world.
Now that my youngest daughter is four:
She wears all the accessories. All at the same time.
She talks about things she did not learn from me.
She can master the art of negotiation.
She dresses herself.
She sometimes takes herself off to bed.
She walks into preschool without a backward glance.
She eats Cheerios one by one from the bowl and drinks the milk at the end. It does not matter that this is extremely time-consuming at the time precious time before we leave the house in the morning. This is how she does it so the rest of us need to wait.
She will sit through the scarier parts of a Harry Potter,without flinching, even the parts that make me jumpy.
She draws on her hands.
She draws on her siblings.
She can write her own name. She thought herself how to do this.
I could draw many similarities between herself and the North Korean leader King Jung Un. Sheryl Sandberg would say she displays future leadership skills if she met her. Others would call her bossy.
Its taken two years but her fringe has grown out. We can see her face now and her full range of facial expressions which instantly convey her mood.
She laughs a lot.
She can use the words, fuck it, correctly. This is my fault.
She will go to school this year. I hope to have removed the word fuck from her vocabulary by then.
She dances with abandon. Unaware of how she looks. I hope she retains this.
Her dog is her best friend.
She can win any argument.
She tells knock- knock jokes without a punchline.
She sings out of tune.
She doesn’t ask the but why questions the way her siblings did at her age. She knows all the answers. Even if they are the wrong ones.
Her hand still feels tiny in mind.
Maybe it is because she is my youngest child, maybe it is because I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, maybe it is because I am prone to dramatics but there are days where it feels like she is slipping through my fingers. In a heartbeat she has gone from newborn to four. Just like that. I’m very proud of her. It’s a big age, four.