Eleanor at Four Years Old

Eleanor Annette,

My sweet, spunky, funny, brilliant girl. You are four years old today and those years seem to have passed in a blink. It has been an absolute delight to experience the three-year-old you. I adore how, when I ask you if you can just stay three, you answer, “No Mama, but I’ll always be three in your heart.” You have an innate kindness and sweetness that I absolutely treasure.

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I love how easy it is to make you laugh. You think talking about “toots” (farts) is the funniest thing ever. You have this rolling giggle-laugh that is just about the most delightful sound in the world.

You have embraced your role as Big Sister and frequently bring Alden toys to play with, offer him bits of your food and even frequently offer him your Baby and your Day to comfort him. If he can’t have his own Blankie, your Day is the only substitute he will accept. You hug and kiss him every night, making my heart swell with happiness.

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This past year you have decided that you are shy. I’m not really sure what spurred this, as you were always such an outgoing social butterfly before, but I suspect the arrival of your brother played a role. Now, you hide close to me, clinging to my legs and staying silent when you meet new people. You decline to introduce yourself to other kids your age. Your teachers would often tell me of you choosing to spend much of the class day sitting quietly in your cubby, rather than interacting with the other students. In a few weeks you will start at a new Montessori preschool and I’m hopeful they will be able to help bring you out of your shell. Once you do warm up to someone, though, you are all in.

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You recognize almost all the letters of the alphabet now, and can write “Ellie” in a mostly-legible way. Every day I’m discovering something new you can do. The other day I told you about the Olympics that were starting and read you a story about Nadia Comaneci. Then I showed you videos of her Perfect 10 routines. Your eyes lit up and got huge. You stared, unblinking, at the videos before exclaiming, “I can do that! Mom, I want to do that! I really, really want to do that, Mom! I can do it!” You are so excited about the idea of gymnastics, especially the uneven bars. We can’t enroll you until you are five, so we’ll see if your enthusiasm survives another year.

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Eleanor, this year has been filled with so much laughter thanks to you. I can’t count the times your Dad and I have glanced at each other, eyes meeting in a look that says, “Are you seeing this?! Can you believe how cute this kid is?!” You crack us up, day and night. When you sneak out of bed mere minutes after lights-out, claiming hunger, it’s impossible for me to be stern with you. You are too darn adorable, as you creep up into my lap, snuggly and sweet and clearly just wanting a few more minutes of attention and affection. I love the way you creep into my bed and let me cuddle you in the morning when you wake up.

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You’ve grown so much this year. This next year will be our final year before you start Kindergarten (which I can hardly believe!) and I have so many hopes and plans to make the most of it. I want to enjoy every moment because you, my darling Eleanor, are truly wonderful.

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Happy fourth birthday, Ellie Bug.

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