This has been a big month for both of you, and I was having trouble trying to decide who to start with. But it’s only fair that I start with the birthday girl.
Rachel, you turned four years old this month. Four. Years. Old. I can hardly believe it myself. I can’t believe how quickly you’ve gone from being such a tiny baby into this little person that we see so much of ourselves in.
You had a big birthday party at Chuck E Cheese (not our first choice) and you absolutely loved it. This was the first birthday party where we invited kids we actually didn’t know, because we sent out invitations to everyone in your class from school. You were so excited to see those friends of yours that I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered where we had the party.
Everything with you now is about being four. You put everything into a timeline of before four and after four. You ask us if you can do thing “because I’m a big girl now because I’m four.” When we told you that you were one of the youngest kids on your soccer team, you about had a fit because, “but I’m a big girl! I’m four!” Trying to get you to understand that you’re younger than other kids is a hard thing to do.
Speaking of soccer, you started playing on a team this past month. And like I said…you’re one of the youngest on the team. There is only one other boy who is younger than you, and it looks to me like all of the other kids have played soccer before. But you’re learning, and that’s a good thing. It’s really hard for us to teach you how to play because we’ve spent the last four years teaching you to play nice and share with others. Now, you’ve having to learn to do just the opposite.
You also started riding a big bike this past month. Your grandparents brought it down for you at the end of May, and it sat in the garage for two weeks before we gave it to you, and you never even noticed it was there. When your grandparents came down for your birthday, they spent a lot of time teaching you how to ride your new bike “with 2 wheels and 2 extra wheels,” as you say. You got really good at riding up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, and then one day I got the idea to take you down to the trail to see how you’d do. You actually did better than you did on the sidewalk. There aren’t any curbs on the trail, and even up the inclines you did really well. You ended up riding about a mile and a half the first day, and the next day we went back and did it again. I can tell we’re going to have a lot of fun exploring the trail together.
Emily, finally, we’re on to you. You had a huge month too! It started at the end of May with you beginning to turn over on your own, and within a week, you were rolling all over your room to get around. In that same time, you also figured out how to get from being on your stomach to sitting up, which prompted us to move your mattress down in your crib after I found you peering over the edge one day. And then, just a couple of weeks later, you started to crawl! We were wondering if you were ever going to do it, and I had been trying to show you even since you learned to roll. You would get up on your hands and knees, then flop yourself forward onto your stomach to get what you wanted. Of course, if it was still too far away, you’d get upset and start screaming. Once you figured it out, though, it was just a matter of days before you were all over the house. And into everything. I can’t count the times that I’ve turned my back on you for 2 seconds to find you in another part of the room picking up something that I’m sure would find its way into your mouth if I’d leave you alone for 2 more seconds. Your crawl is still a bit of an awkward thing…you sort of move your hands up, then drag your legs into your tummy, but it definitely gets you where you want to go.
You’ve also started standing up, with help. If we stand you up next to something, you’ll hold on, and play (if it’s a toy) until you get tired, then you’re start to whine for help. We’re trying to get you to figure out that you can get yourself down on the ground by yourself, since it’s really not that far to drop, and you’ve always got padding on your butt. But you’re still working on it. What you’ve gotten the hang of, though, is getting up on your knees and getting back down. You’re starting to play in the curtains and pull yourself up to look out of the windows in the living room, and thankfully, you love looking outside, so we can keep you occupied with that for quite some time before you’re off across the room trying to put more things in your mouth.
And speaking of your mouth…TEETH! You finally got your first tooth about 2 weeks ago, and then within a week you had another one show up! We’ve been wondering when those were going to come in, and it seems like they’re showing up all at once. I think you’re working on a couple of back ones now because you’re constantly putting things in your mouth and chewing on the sides of your mouth.
I think we’re finally done buying baby foods for you, and that includes formula. That’s a big money saver for your mother when she goes grocery shopping, but now she’s going to have to buy 2 gallons of milk every week instead of just one. It’s funny, though…you’ll drink milk just fine out of your bottle, but when we try to put it in a sippy cup for you, you don’t want to have anything to do with it. You’ll drink juice and water just fine out of the sippy cup, though, so I don’t know if you’re getting more of a taste of the milk from the sippy cup, or if you’re expecting something different and are just disappointed, but you will not drink milk out of a sippy cup. Juice or water, you’ll drink the whole thing in one sitting if we let you.
You’re eating almost everything we eat now, too, and you like some variety in your meals. If we try to give you too much of one thing, you’ll start throwing food on the floor to let us know that you’re done eating that part, and you’d like something else, thank you. But then we can go back to that original food later, and you’ll eat more. It’s great that you’re willing to try so many things, but you really like to pick things up and eat them with your fingers, and you really don’t like us spoon feeding you too much. Our next step is to get you to start using a spoon and fork for yourself.
I have to tell you both, it’s been a lot of fun to spend the last couple of weeks at home with you. I love being able to go and do things with you during the day, and I’m going to be sad when I have to go back to work in the middle of next month. Even though we haven’t done a lot with our vacation, it sure if great to spend it with my girls.
Your mother and I love you both very, very much.