When I was about 10 years old, I got on a chair in my closet and brought down a very old box which had been through a couple of moves without being re-opened. Inside were a handful of relics from my childhood: my christening gown, a children’s china tea set, my baby book, and a small box of various cards, newspaper clippings, and pre-school awards.
As the 2nd of four children with a fairly meticulous (and possibly somewhat bored at the time) mother, every single page of my baby book is filled out. Besides pictures (of which there are plenty), my mom documented all of my first doctor visits, saved a lock of hair, and even filled out the date of every single tooth on that weird tooth chart. She admits now that she never got that far with my little sisters’ baby books.
Eliott and Carter each have a baby book. Sadly, though they are my first two, their baby books are more empty than those of my younger sisters. It isn’t that I don’t have enough time, energy, nor creativity to do it. No. I’m blaming modern technology for this. First, when is the last time I actually developed a roll of pictures? (Answer: college.) Second, when the majority of the universe is documenting everything from what we’re eating for dinner tonight to where we’re hanging out RIGHT NOW (and with whom) via Facebook and Twitter, it’s no wonder we don’t see the point in writing down the exact moment that 2 year molar poked through. (For the record, I will say the tooth chart with Eliott seemed stupid until Carter started cutting teeth and then I really did wish I’d had some sort of a guide to go by from the previous child. I’m over it now though, which means, the task was exactly as important as I originally deemed it.)
That said, there is much about my own baby book that I really do love and want my own children to be able to experience for themselves one day. The difference is that rather than piling a chair with books to reach the tops of their closets, they’ll have to search through the archived bowels of Google (if it even still exists by then) to find THIS. Very. Blog.
So here are a few nuggets that I’d like to not one day forget:
I’m not sure if this is true for all 4-year-olds, but it is certainly true for my 4-year-old. You have an imagination and can make things up that reasonable adults would wonder where you first heard them. Likely, you heard them nowhere. Also, you have dreams, remember them, and can talk about them the next morning. Your dreams, in fact, very similar to adult dreams, speak volumes of the things in your life which are important to you and the things you worry about. (Example, one morning last spring you woke up clearly upset and proceeded to explain that you were dreaming about “circle time” but none of the kids were following directions. This had you, my just-like-your-Dad-type-A rule-follower, seriously stressed out. You went to school later that morning and explained the exact scenario to your teacher, all details intact.)
Also, though you don’t fully understand many social conventions yet (such as the true meaning of the word “friend” and the difference between “friend” and “best friend”) you seem to have a very keen grasp on who likes you and who does not. On the other hand, you are completely oblivious to the fact that the 10 and 11 year old boys next door are clearly not interested in your pink princess shoes. It’s pretty cute.
You like to play house with your sister, whom you have pet-named “Gancia” (pronounced Gayne-cee-ya). The two of you pretend like the downstairs powder room is an elevator and the cabinet is your car. You often fight over who gets to drive.
You have already begun to plan your princess wedding to your husband Peyton, which is strange considering you have not yet been to a real wedding. Yesterday you asked if you were old enough to get married and I said no, you have to be a grown up. When you asked why, I explained that there are a couple things you should probably do before you get married. Some examples included: go to school, learn to drive a car, move out of your mom and dad’s house, and probably go on a couple dates. You agreed and said you’ll be ready to get married when you are six. You and Peyton could ride your bikes to the wedding.
Finally, about a month ago, I was getting you and Carter ready for bed and I forgot to grab your underwear after baths. When I told you to just wear your PJ’s without underwear you squealed and giggled, “No! That is SO weird.” Off-hand, apparently I responded with, “No it’s very liberating,” because you are now currently really into not wearing underwear. And every time you do it, you announce, “It’s very liverating.”
At the beginning of the summer you could hardly speak two syllable words. Now you are stringing entire sentences together and actually using most prepositions correctly. A few of your cuter common phrases currently include:
“Where did Eliott go?”
“I take a nap.”
“Mommy. Hey, Mommy. Right there. Uh-huh.”
“Daddy not home. Daddy at work.”
“Here! Thank you. Thank you, Mommy. Thank you.”
On the surface you appear to be very polite, somewhat in your own world, and obliviously self-confident. Daddy and I agree that this might work out in your favor one day, as long as you don’t completely lose the love of the big sister who adores you enough to run from any room in the house to fetch your Boo anytime Mommy scolds you. The fact is, you are a bit spoiled, completely by nature and not nurture, which I predict to one day manifest itself in true Paulus style arrogance. Again, not a bad thing in my opinion. You laugh a lot and sometimes it surprises me the things you pick up on that seem funny. You scold the dogs next door with the authority of an 8 year old, but secretly, all animals freak you out. (Even cats. Tiny benign ones.) You have learned from Eliott how to say “Yes, Mommy” or “Yes, Daddy” at exactly the right moments and you seem to know that apologizing instantly after doing anything wrong will get you almost anywhere.
You are scary smart. And like your big sister, you are really stinking beautiful.
I continue to pray that both of you intimidate all men until you are at least 24, when you meet the one who is enough like your father to marry you.