Sammie has just turned 4 years old. She really isn’t sure what this means at all, she is still figuring out how to hold up 4 fingers without having the pinky finger curled down.
What she does know is this, on minute she is excited about being a big girl, and the next she is talking in baby talk.
She thinks her magic is gone now. This makes me sad, but I think I need to work with her to help her realize that her magic lives in her imagination…in other words it lives in her ability to imagine and create. Rather than feeling sad about her “losing” her magic, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to help her find that her magic is something she can control and develop. I think we’ll have fun together learning how to express this magic that we all have.
For awhile she had a companion named Shadow. None of us grownups could see or hear Shadow, only Sammie. If Shadow needed to go to the bathroom, Sammie went. Then a few minutes later she would go again but this time for herself. If something spilled, or disappeared, Shadow was responsible.
This is typical of most three and four year olds. However for Sam, it has developed into a whole community of shadow people. According to her, shadow people are those who can not be seen but you can hear them. They talk to you. They also live in the moon. They are nice people, as opposed to the aliens who live in the moon. The aliens there are not nice at all.
The other night I was visiting over at Sammie’s house. She was on the floor playing and started in with some baby-talk. I curiously asked her where all this baby-talk was coming from, because, I said, I thought she had told me she was a big girl now.
She replied “I am a big girl, but I am still YOUR little baby!” I scooped her up and held her like she was a little baby and started to rock her and sing. She became very still and snuggled into me.
Being four years old means that there are exciting things to learn, new games to create, new pictures to paint, big girl dolls with a wardrobe of clothes to be conquered. It means learning your colors and numbers, singing the ABC song, bursting out with “Let It Go” spontaneously. It means picking up your toys and eating your food by yourself. It means putting on and taking off your own clothes and wanting privacy in the bathroom.
Being four also means that you still remember being three, and the love you feel when Grandma cuddles you. It means you remember how you can give that special look to Papa and he will spoon-feed you your food. You remember being the center of attention just because you came over to visit. You also know that this will probably never change. Because you remember these wonderful things and how it makes you feel, you don’t want to lose these things and these feelings just because you are growing up.
Grandma understands! My promise to Sammie is that I am here to help her. I will help her discover the magic she was born with that never goes away, it just takes on different forms. I will help her discover new experiences that she could not enjoy at a younger age. Grandma also understands that she needs to always be my baby girl, so anytime we can cuddle and rock and sing lullabies, we will do so!
The reason I was at her house the other night is because it was the night of her fourth birthday. Her big party will be on the weekend, but on her actual birthday her great-grandparents and I wanted to give her the gifts we bought for her. Everyone should have a birthday gift on their actual birthday! We also wanted to enjoy watching her open the gifts and appreciate them without all the overwhelming excitement and energy that takes place at a child’s party. Her momma had a chocolate cake with four purple candles, Sammie managed to blow them all out after several tries and a wee bit of help from Papa.
I had fun teasing her when we first arrived, asking her if she knew why I was there because I could not remember! And this package in my hand? I wasn’t sure who it was for, could it be for mommy?
“It’s for ME” she said, “it’s MY birthday!” She said this with great excitement.
After we all sat down in the living room and she had showed us her pinata and the huge balloon daddy had brought her, she reached for the package I brought. She pulled out the doll clothes and shoes one by one and admired each item. For a little girl she really knows how to enjoy opening a gift! It is a pleasure to watch her, I can’t describe the joy it gives me to watch her face and hear her words as she expresses her appreciation!
After that, she reached for the packages that GG (great grandma) had brought her. The first one was a good-sized plush My Little Pony named Twilight Sparkle. She loved it! Then came the last package, also from GG.
Sammie reached in and pulled out….a plush Elsa doll! Complete with soft plush yellow hair, sparkly blue gown made of satin and tulle and blue satin slippers.
Sammie was overjoyed! The first thing she said was “ohh, it’s all I ever wanted!” She repeated that over and over while holding the doll and twirling around. She held it up over her head to look at it, and showed it to all of us, all the while repeating “its all I ever wanted”.
It was such a joy to watch her in such ecstasy over a doll! On top of that, I don’t know whose face I enjoyed more, Sammie or my mom. Mom’s face was beaming, so happy that Sammie was so happy with this gift!
I never really knew my great grandparents. Neither did my son know his. So I am really happy about the fact that my own parents are getting to enjoy having a great-grandchild and that Sammie gets to know them and have such memories for later in her life.
Sammie is also learning a really good lesson with all this. She has wanted an Elsa doll since the movie came out last year. Her mom says that every time they would go to a store and Sammie would spot one, she would beg for it. Mommy would say things like “let’s wait and see what Santa bring”, “let’s wait and see what you get for your birthday”, ” that doll is so small, the price is too high for a small doll like that”.
So Sammie waited. She waited and waited and waited. For months she has sung “Let it Go”. When she spends the night with me, we watch the video on my computer and she knows all the words to the song. I am not allowed to sing it, only her!
I hope that now at this young age she is learning that waiting can be worth it! After all, she waited as patiently as a three-year old can, and by the time she turned four, she received “all she ever wanted”!
Your turn! Tell me about a time when you wanted something, anything and had to wait for it, making the final outcome that much sweeter!