Age 4. She voluntarily put her PJs on by herself, an hour before bedtime, and then tried to clean my desk for me. This is a sign of things to come, right?!?
So long, temper tantrum threes, hello totally patient and reasonable fours. Right? I think I heard that somewhere before. The temper tantrums do seem to be subsiding, partly because of age (probably) and partly because I am getting better at ignoring them. Sometimes I have to plug my ears for five minutes, but when she figures out I’m not caving to that particular whim, she will eventually move on.
I set out to make this summer busy and memorable. I succeeded on both accounts. After preschool ended in June, I knew we’d need some scheduled activities to keep me from going insane. I signed her up for swim lessons and gymnastics at the Y, and ballet at a local rec center. She loved all of them, but especially ballet. She got to wear a skirt (though not a tutu) and learned moves such as “smell your feet,” and “happy cat, angry cat.” It was a slam dunk, to use a sports metaphor. Sometimes, at night when she didn’t want to go to sleep, she’d cry that she never wanted to go to swimming or gymnastics again. This was just a threat, a last ditch effort at keeping me in the room and staying awake. But she never, not once, invoked ballet in this little game of hers, lest I actually listen to her and take her out of lessons.
Sonja practicing her ballet moves.
We also saw two movies at the theater. Inside Out, the latest Pixar film. This one was mommy’s pick, because I really wanted to see it, and I wasn’t disappointed. We also saw The Minions, which was daddy’s pick, because who doesn’t love minions? Inside Out was unquestionably the better film, but it was far too advanced for a three-year-old. Sonja enjoyed it, said she liked Joy and Disgust (because Disgust was green) and then immediately forgot about it. Minions was more appealing to her. Sonja really enjoys the theater ritual, sitting in the giant seats with a giant tub of popcorn, so I’m sure we’ll catch a few more flicks before the year is over.
At the start of summer, we took her to Wild Waves (just the Enchanted Village part) just for fun. It was just about the right outing for her age. There was no travel involved, the lines were short, there were a lot of rides just for her, and when she got cranky after a few hours, we didn’t feel like we had to stay just to get our money’s worth. Don’t get me wrong, it was too expensive, especially since Shaun and I didn’t go on any rides, but it wasn’t Disneyland expensive. It’s also nice that the park has plenty of shaded areas, so you don’t get too hot.
Wild Waves, nee Enchanted Village
Wild Waves, nee Enchanted Village
We had several smaller outings as well, to the Redondo Beach Boardwalk, and the Point Defiance Zoo. A trip down to Vancouver, WA to see a friend and visit another Spaghetti Factory. Last week, she went bowling for the first time at her friend David’s birthday party.
And then there was the big outing: the trip to Victoria, Canada. We spent weeks talking about the ferry we’d take and the things we’d see. The actual trip was exhausting and Sonja whined just about the whole time. Now, Sonja pleads with me every day to take another trip to Canada. Her favorite part? Sitting in the hotel watching TV. I put this one in both the win and fail columns.
Canada, baby! Woo!
Sonja is still completely obsessed with Frozen, and wants to be Elsa and play Elsa and have every Frozen thing ever made, but I haven’t had to actually watch the movie in a while. She prefers to watch shows on Netflix, and she is particularly enamored right now with an original called Puffin Rock. The nice thing about this is there is no Puffin Rock merchandise. Yet.
She’s gained a little weight and has decided she likes chocolate milk. However, now that she’s back to drinking some milk, I think this interferes with her appetite for other foods. It is very difficult to get her to eat. I have also found that I must have an iron will when it comes to dinner. I must insist, and plug my ears, that she eat all of her dinner before she can have cookies. And no, she cannot eat something else. She has to eat what I prepared. I have catered to her wishes too long because of her weight, but I have found if I bring the hammer down, she will eventually eat, if only to get that cookie.
She’s learning to play card games and board games. We have a co-op board game called “Max,” for which she understands the rules and can play. We have a game of “Go Fish” with actual fish on the cards, and she can play this too. However, she cannot play it without showing me all her cards. And the other day we were able to teach her “Uno.” She still wants to show everybody all her cards, but she knows when she has a match. With any of these games, we can play about three times before she decides to make up her own rules, and steals all the green cards.
Green is her favorite color. She loves green. This is a major part of her identity to her. I’m pretty happy with this selection because it is not pink. She tells everyone that her favorite color is green, and she wants green lollipops and green color crayons and green playing cards. She even ate Grandma’s split pea soup, because it was green. (Sadly this logic that green is good doesn’t apply to vegetables.)
Now we gear up for preschool and Halloween and another year of adventures and milestones. It’s going to be a good one. Happy 4th birthday sweet Sonja, we love you so much.