Sunday, March 27, 2011

About Anna - 2011....

My little girl turned four years old last week.  Anna is growing up before my eyes and every day I am overwhelmed to witness and be a part of who she is becoming.

Over the last few years, I’ve written an annual letter about each of my kids, recapping the year prior.  Sort of a recorded snapshot of "the right now."  So here is my darling daughter at four….

A dozen things I know about Anna


1) Anna’s sense of style has blossomed this year.  She loves to pick out her own clothes.  Well, more than "loves it."  She demands it.  After navigating a few tough weeks, we figured out how to avoid the battles.  Basically, Anna won.  And I loosened my idea of what should go together.  Anna has a strong preference for layers.  Lots of layers.  And a wild eye for mix and match.  To Anna, stripes, prints and polka dots in bright colors - - well they all go together perfectly.  Of course!  In fact, the more the merrier.  And really, I’ve started to love her crazy combinations.  (Now, I might even encourage her a bit... :)

Anna also discovered accessories this year.  You know, I think this world would be a happier place if we could all wear a tiara and “Super Girl” cape on a daily basis.

Four year old perfect!


2) Anna sings and dances her way through most days.  She’s great at making up her own songs, or repeating songs that she’s heard elsewhere.  And this girl has got the dance moves. Really.  At first, I had hesitated (worried about stereotypes and crazy costumes), but I think we will enroll her in dance classes next fall.  Anna needs the chance to shake it out!

My darling girl also loves books, books, books.  Her room is filled with them. And she is usually toting around 4 or 5 favorites of the moment.  Of course, going to the library is a huge treat.  Only thing is that I can barely get her out of the building without a dozen books in her arms.  But really, I'm not complaining.  Not at all!

3) Anna has a love/hate relationship with food at the moment.  She LOVES black olives and pickles, ice cream with chocolate sauce, coffee (well really, she loves warm sweet milk with a splash of coffee), sweets of all varieties and dairy products.  Yes, all dairy, in all forms.  Milk, butter, sour cream, yogurt, cheese, you name it….In fact, when I’m setting the table for dinner, I have to be careful of what I put out ahead of time.  Unsupervised, Anna would indulge herself with spoonful’s of sour cream or butter, before the rest of us ever sat down. The "hate" part is not so much about food, but rather about sitting down and eating a meal at the table.  Dinner is almost always a battle. (and I know I am probably the one to blame for bad habits).  But regardless, Anna is growing faster than I can keep up buying new clothes.  So clearly she is getting something nutritious, even if it isn't sitting at the dinner table. I don't think olives and pickles alone could result in her 2 inch growth spurt these last months. 

4) Anna is my social girl.  Although she left Tonya’s daycare months ago, she still talks about her friends Emily and Cedra and Ava every day.  Fortunately, she has transitioned well to her new daycare at Tami’s.  So now the list of friends is simply longer, adding Nina, Evie, Cora, Katie and Alice.  Although sometimes she is a bit hesitant at first, Anna warms up quickly and loves to be with other people.  She wants to be part of the action.  To go places and do things.

Anna loves her Papa dearly, and I love seeing them together.  She loves to sit on his lap and be tickled and cuddle up during a movie.  But these days, I must admit that Anna is mama’s girl.  When we are together, she doesn’t leave my side. If I go to get a drink of water, Anna holds my hand as we walk up the stairs.  If I run to pick up groceries, Anna is at the door with her boots on, ready to go with me.  Sometimes I roll my eyes, but then I catch myself.  This kind of mama-love is fleeting.  I know it.  And I’ll cherish this time while I’ve got it.


5) Anna is such a physical kid.  So much more than Henry at four.   She rarely sits still.  Moving, moving, moving.  She’s always running and jumping, skipping and leaping off something.  Anna is also so independent.  She’ll play by herself for a long time….puzzles, art projects, coloring (really well, I might add), and “reading.”  Anna will page through books and tell the story she imagines is on the pages.  She really doesn’t care if anyone is listening or not.  She just wants to tell her stories.

6) Although Anna is still hard to understand at times, overall her language skills have really improved this past year. And regardless of what we understand, this kid is a talker.  I’ve been assured (as per her pre-school screening last fall) that her skills are right on par with her age.  And I must admit that the last of her little Anna-ism’s are so endearing.  She still adds her own little twist to her “oo” words.  So, for food, she’ll pronounce it “fued.”  Moon is “muen” and spoon is “spuen.”  So cute.  So Anna.  

7) I’ve been amazed at how much Anna is learning these days.  She is a sponge.  Much of it, thanks to Tami and the preschool program at her daycare.  Anna comes home every day with a project to share or a new letter or song or color to talk about.  She’s been writing her name for months now.  Upper and lower case.  Yesterday, Anna matched numbers 1-8 with pictures representing the same number.  I was so impressed.  She is so smart.  She is ready for preschool next fall.  (Already?  How did that happen?)

8) Anna clearly is her brother’s keeper.  She adores Henry.  And the feeling is mutual.  Anna is first to Henry’s defense if he gets in trouble.  “Mama, leave Henry alone.”  Of course, they have their moments too.  Often in the car, and yes, I’ve said the words “If I have to pull this car over….”  But mostly, they are sweet and kind to one another.  Randomly, she’ll look at me and say “Mama, I love Henry so much. He is my big brother.”  Be still, my mama heart….


9) Okay, we had to get there eventually… I've recounted before, Anna has quite the dynamic and energetic spirit.  Of course, this is something we nurture and adore.  But, the flip side can result in a sassy, back talking little girl who is prone to extended tantrums and too many timeouts.  “Mama, I’m in charge. Not you!” she'll yell.  Oh my!  Anna pushes our buttons.  She makes want to scream and pull our hair out.  But, as I’ve said elsewhere, Anna challenges Ray and I to be at our best for her.  And that’s what every kid should demand.  The best from their parents.

Eventually, after showing us a little of her "dark side," Anna will pull it together, usually with a few big deep breaths (she’s learning….) and a sweet “I’m sorry mama.”  We’re learning together.  We’re trying to be our best.  For each other.  And I find that in her worst moments, when I am on the edge of the parenting abyss and ready to jump....Anna teaches me the most about how to be a good mom.  It is a gift. (Really, a gift.  If I tilt my head and squint my eyes a little, I can see it).     

Anna and her Great-Grandpa.  Clearly the twinkle in Anna's eye is genetic.

10) Anna has always been a lousy sleeper.  Things have gotten better through the years.  But still, Anna will wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and then she’ll crawl into bed with us. Usually it isn’t a big deal.  But, every week or two, she’ll have a bad night.  She’ll wake up (although we’re still not sure if she’s really awake or not).  She’ll yell at Ray and I, kick and thrash and cry.  Nothing will console her.  Eventually, after 15 minutes or so, she’ll just lie back down and zonk out again.  Almost instantly.  Night before last was one of those nights.  Ray fell asleep with his arms covering his face to protect himself from the night ninja.  Really.  

11) Regardless of what she likes these days (or how many timeouts may be necessary), the bottom line is that Anna is an extraordinary little girl.  She is so kind-hearted and funny and silly and yes - more than a little dramatic.  She has a spirit as big as the life swirling around her.

Anna loves her family and her friends unconditionally.  She is constantly drawing pictures and wrapping them to give as gifts.  We have dozens of these wrapped treasures all around our house.  She randomly offers “I love you’s” during the course of the day.  Before I leave ever her side for work or an errand, Anna offers me five hugs and five kisses.  It's her thing.  And when I return, the running hug I get as a welcome - well that is about as good as it could get.


12) For better or worse, I've gotten into the habit of lying down with the kids at bedtime until they fall asleep.  Although I may complain about it from time to time, bedtime is one of the sweetest times with my little ones.  Me next to Anna on the bottom bunk, and Henry on the top bunk.  Henry, Anna and I will chat and wrap up our day together.  Anna may tell a story or two, then she'll flip over her pillow to find the cold spot.  Lots of "I love you's" later, when she’s finally ready to settle in, she will offer a few final kisses on my cheeks. “ Just little one’s Mama.”  Anna will hold my hand between her two little hands, and tuck the hand sandwich under her cheek.  She’ll gaze into my eyes until she can’t keep her eyes open any longer.  And in a few moments, Anna will drift off to sleep.  Another day is done for this sweet girl.  And I had the privilege to be her mom the entire time. 


I adore my girl. I adore everything about her.  From her wild-crazy-curly hair, to her independent sense of style and humor, to her exuberant spirit that sparkles in the sunshine.  

I am so grateful for all of our days together.

And I can’t wait to see what is next.

1 comment:

  1. You got me...I'm in tears...such a beautiful post about a beautiful little girl from her mom.