Seems like there's a lot to report on here, haven't given you much this year. Since E had a birthday I guess that's a good time to log some updates on her and our life. A lot of this is for my own benefit since I'm not keeping a journal like I used to.
She had her 4 year old check up on Friday, and was very brave for 5 shots -- all the ones she'll need for kindergarten in 2 years + the H1N1. She was confident and cheerful even after knowing they were coming, requesting a pink band-aid and some grape candy as her rewards. She was even smiling when she lay down with us holding her knees. Then the first needle went in and she cried, and 2-3-4-5, the skilled doctor got them all in quick as her cries got louder. But she didn't panic, didn't really struggle, and didn't take it personally. She just cried out, "It hurts when we get shots!!!" And she was done crying by the time we got her dressed.
Our doctor gives out bubble gum to those 4 years old and older. E seemed to think she had won the lottery! It was her first bubble gum, as far as David and I know, but she has clearly been studying the subject and talking to someone about bubble gum. She was trying to blow bubbles in the car. She said, "First we fold it, then we blow". I took her to preschool after that and she had a lot to talk about to her teachers and class. As I was leaving teacher Joy said, "Do y'all know who was a brave girl today?"
I talk about bravery a lot. It's a useful virtue to instill, and it's one I admire very much. E gets praised for being brave for doing anything she doesn't like or doesn't want to do. I'm trying to just acknowledge her dislike of whatever and say she needs to do it anyway, instead of always trying to convince her of why she should want to do it.
E is very proud to be 4 years old, and it has helped some situations to say things like "4 year olds are old enough to dress themselves" etc. She has participated and followed directions very well in dance class ever since her birthday. Before that it had become a drama-queen opportunity. On the other hand, she plays "baby" a lot, I guess to balance out all that growing up pressure. She'll have me pretend that she's my Christmas present, "a beautiful new baby of your very own". I have certain things to say, like "I'll feed her and rock her and love her forever!" and, lately, "I'll call her Rose." When she's being a baby she talks in a squeaky high voice and says "Way-uh, way-uh" (waa- waa). Most people think she's pretending to be a cat. She still sucks her thumb but we're trying to wean her off that, making up rules like "No sucking your thumb while you're walking" and just drawing her attention to it more.
E's check up went well. She's 50th percentile for height at almost 40 inches, 25th percentile for weight at (if I remember) 32 pounds and some change. Her vision is 20/30, which is normal for her age. They took her blood pressure for the first time, and that was fine too. The annual developmental questionnaire required her to draw a picture of a person. Her people look like snowmen, with round heads, bellies, and butts or bottoms. She can copy simple figures, letters, etc. She's right-handed. She probably still needs to work on throwing and catching, but we think she meets the minimum standards for that. She can climb great, and balance and hop. In dance class last time they had to skip, something she's been unable to learn so far but really wants to be able to do. I was surprised to see that all the children, even the 5 year olds, were awkward with that.
She's been learning to write her name (nickname), and was practicing that tonight as we wrote thank you notes. She can do it left to right, but never leaves enough space to fit in all the letters. She got tired of doing it after 2 notes and the remaining ones got just fancy E's or only decorations. She was making continuous loops, which I didn't know she could do. And her coloring has suddenly gotten a lot better. She would always get frustrated when coloring, because she couldn't make things look like she wanted them to. And if I colored with her that was worse, like rubbing it in.
Every 6 weeks or so, E gets her hair shampooed and trimmed at the J C Penney salon. We usually combine a trip to the food court where she gets a hot dog and cheese sandwich from Dairy Queen. She loves the shampoo, lying back in the sink, etc. She gets a scalp massage and some conditioner that smells good. Last week when we were there she asked one of the stylists, "How late does the mall stay open?" (I think those were her exact words.) The stylist was amazed that a 4 year old was asking her that. I think E was concerned about getting her hot dog, and also she's been learning to tell time thanks to a "noisy Sponge Bob book" about telling time that Grandma Mickey got for her.
Today we went to a park with Victor and Marie, then ate lunch at their house. E tried a cheese quesadilla for the 2nd time ever and loved it. Marie showed her how to make them and she was asking for it for dinner tonight. She had refused to try those wonderful things for a couple years now. Other foods E loves, and loves to help make, on a similar starchy theme: "chicken flavored noodles" (Ramen noodles cooked in chicken broth, no powder), macaroni & cheese, pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese. Her babysitter Hannah once cooked her scrambled eggs with cheese differently
(cheese mixed in instead of laid on top) and E learned that they could still be good. Hannah said that it was a very big deal at first, but she eventually got over it. David cooked the noodles for E once but didn't know how she was used to having them, and she said they tasted different. She's learning that people do things different ways. I give her rewards for being brave enough to try new foods, and to eat a whole serving of things that are "a little bit yucky" but still tolerable. She sometimes enjoys eating corn on the cob or "the inside of a sweet potato" but vegetables are still hard to get in her. She didn't drink juice for what seemed like a year or more, but sometime this year she decided she would drink it again. Still no plain milk. Plain lowfat yogurt is our staple.
E loves to wear dresses, especially ones that twirl nicely. Her favorite color is still pink. She wants to be a ballerina when she grows up. She plays princess several times a day. She's usually confident and usually nice to strangers. We had some local men clearing brush in the yard yesterday and I told her I was going to the bank to get money to pay them. She gave them each a quarter and two pennies of her own. She yelled through the car window to them, "Be sure to put it in your bank!" and she told me that if they didn't put the money in their banks they would have to give it back to us. I told her that when you pay people for their work, the money is theirs and they can do whatever they want with it. She said, "Oh."
Today we went to see a play, The Wizard of Oz. She was so excited! She's been asking to go ever since she first heard there was going to be one, months ago. It was long but pretty good. They have hordes of children acting in this community theatre and they make a place for ALL of them, with much sharing of roles and extra chorus numbers. Every time people clapped E would ask, "Is it over?" but I wasn't sure if she was eager for it to be over or worried that it was over too soon.
She's been to a few movies now with David and is good at sitting still and keeping her voice down. She loves the scary parts of movies. At preschool I saw a list posted with the title, "What I'm afraid of" and next to her name was something like, "monsters and aliens and fiery dragons". She watches Scooby Doo shows on video frequently and I like being able to point out that the monster or alien is always someone else in a costume. When she went through a little phase of saying she was scared when she went to bed, I would tell her that if any monsters or aliens came in our house I would pull their "mask-es" off. Then I'd joke something like, "Grandpa!! What are you doing in that monster costume!" Sometimes we'd run through the names of all our loved ones, pretending they were all fake villains. It seems that as long as she doesn't watch something like Scooby Doo just before bed, she doesn't have nightmares about these things. My brave girl may grow up to like horror movies.
I have a big lifestyle change starting now. I can no longer listen to the news with her around. She understands too much. The turning point was about a week ago, listening to National Public Radio on the way home. She said emphatically, "Died! That's not a very nice word to say. That's mean, and bad!" I said, "Let's turn this off." She said, "Yes! We don't want to listen about people being died. That's bad. And mean." Yes, sweetie. The news is way more scary than movies.
I don't expect others to thrill at all these little life details like I do, but I really appreciate all your interest that you show in her and the love you bring her. She has a good life because she has a good network of family and friends.