Friday, March 22, 2013

Turning Four

My sweet girl is turning four, and I'm just not ready. I can't believe she is already four years old. And, at the same time, I can't imagine my life without her. I've always had her in my life right? She is my wonderful little girl, my first baby, and a joy in my life.

Nicole loves to ask me questions, especially, "why?" That is her favorite question. The other day, this was our conversation...
Cole: Mommy, did you make me?
Me: Yes.
Cole: Why did you make me?
Me: Because I wanted a little girl, and so I made you.
Cole: Why did you want a little girl?
Me: So that I could have someone to love.
Cole: Why did you want someone to love?
Me: Because you make me happy.
Cole: Mom! Are you joking with me?

Many of you may or may not know this but my little Nicole is quite... particular. Some may say OCD, but I like to say particular. Every morning, she needs to know what the schedule is for that day or she will get really anxious. She likes to know what to expect. Also, she does not like to make decisions. It is too much for her to be presented with too many choices.

One day, I asked her what she wanted for lunch, a sandwich or chicken nuggets... she broke in to tears and said, "I don't know!" She couldn't handle such a decision as what she wanted for lunch. This resulted in a full on panic attack complete with hyperventilating and throwing up. I really have to be careful what I talk to her about because it has the potential to trigger her "particular" side where she doesn't feel in control.

Nicole is so smart though. The other day she said to me, "Mom, I'm going to teach you spanish." I said, "Okay, what is the word for... red?" She said, "Rojo. And blue is Azul." And I was floored. I had no idea that she had picked up so many spanish words and retained them. I knew that she watched Dora and Diego, but I didn't think she was retaining anything, but apparently she is. But, the spanish lesson got a little funny when I asked her words that she didn't know the spanish word for, so she just made up a word that sounded spanish-ish. So cute.

She is always asking to check out the spanish board books at the library, now I guess I will let her and foster this interest in spanish that she has. I guess if we are still in our house when she hits first grade, I could even put her in the portuguese immersion program at the elementary school in our neighborhood. Who knows.

Nicole is an excellent big sister and a really good helper. Whenever Dan is crying and we are home, she says, "Don't worry Mom, I know what to do!" and then she races out of the room and comes back a couple minutes later with her Dream Light (which is a night light that shines stars on the ceiling and plays music). And surprisingly enough, it works, it usually calms him down. Anytime I need something and I ask her for help she is always willing to help her mama. My favorite chore to have her do is to straighten the shoes by the front door. Dano has a shoe fetish and is constantly putting on any shoes that are by the front door and leaving them around the house and Nicole is good enough to line them back up when they get out of control messy.

Here are a few of Nicole's "favorites" right now.

Food: Macaroni and Cheese from Red Robin
Song: Hush Little Baby (she always requests this one)
Animal: Cat! She loves Hello Kitty and she wants a pretend cat for her birthday (because she knows I'm allergic to cats so she asks for a pretend one, "not a real one mama, just pretend."
Cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (when will she get over this one?) But she also likes Phineas and Ferb
Friend: She says that Dano is her best friend
Toy: That ugly pink bear that I crocheted for her. It just keeps getting uglier the more she plays with it. She sleeps with it every night.
Blanket: She confiscated one of my super soft blankets and wants to sleep with that every night rather than the brand new Hello Kitty bed set that she got for Christmas... sigh.
Clothes: Anything pink and with a cat on it. Oh and she loves wearing jeans because I let her wear a belt when she wears jeans, which she loves. She asked for more jeans for her birthday.
Book: A stupid Bearnstein Bears book that she got out of kids meal. I buy her all these awesome books and she loves the one that was in a meal that I hate because it has so many words it takes forever to read. My favorite is Llama Llama.
Color: Pink

Now, let me tell you the things that Nicole is afraid of:

Getting Lost: Everytime we got to the library, Nicole goes off to look at books and I go to look for books for the kids. The kids shelves are short, so I have to kneel down to look at the books on the shelves and the second that I am not in Nicole's line of sight, she freaks out. "Mommy? Mommy? I'm LOST! *tears*" I always respond when she calls, but she is so busy calling for me that she doesn't hear me and immediately screams that she is lost.

The Dark: This is a long standing fear. To remedy this one she has a night light, a lamp on her head board, a dream light, another night light in the hall, and a lamp on in the front room all night and a cove light on in the stair well so that she can get from her bed to our room with a light in every room. And yet, we still have problems with her saying it is too dark.

Spiders: This is new as she has just started to notice these little critters. We try to ease this fear by telling her the spider is not out to get her, it is just looking for food. But all the same, we squash them when we see them because I'm afraid of them too.

Me Leaving: Every night when it is time for bed Nicole asks me if I'm leaving her. I continually tell her that I am not leaving her, I am just going up to my room, but I will still be in the house. Maybe this is because I left her to go to work every day for as long as she can remember or maybe it is because Matt isn't here three nights a week and she fears that I will leave in the night for work and so will Daddy and then she will be alone. Sometime she is going to get that I am home for good.

Green food: What is it with kids and being afraid of green food? But, if Nicole sees green on her plate she immediately exclaims that she doesn't like it and isn't hungry. Doesn't even matter if it isn't a veggie. One time I had multi-color noodles and she refused to eat the green ones because they were yucky. But despite her fear of green food, I just keep feeding it to her. I'm just the kind of mom that makes her face her fears.

Nicole is so funny and fun to be around that sometimes I just can't get enough of this girl. Other times, I've had enough of this girl. Mostly when she is crying I have had enough... which is a not small portion of the day.

Nicole has recently decided that she doesn't need naps. We re-instituted naps a year ago after all the sleep-tastrifies that took place when we tried to take them away. But now, she has decided that she doesn't need naps. She does everything she can to stay awake during nap time. She is always really good during nap time and stays in her room and is quiet for an hour (so mommy can nap a little), but she does not like napping. Unfortunately, this has resulted in either her dropping from exhaustion at 4pm or she stays up until bedtime and has tantrums because she is so tired that she doesn't know what to do with herself. It is just like the problems we were having back in May when we tried to remove the nap. So, I'm missing the easy nap days. Or the times when I could trap her in her bed or her room for naps. Those were the days.

Nicole is really flourishing in preschool. She loves going to preschool and playing with her friends. Her best friend in preschool is a little boy who loves to draw and write just like Nicole does. Nicole surprised us the other day when she came home from preschool with a drawing that contained her name that she had written herself. I had been working on the letters in her name with her, but had never had her try writing her own name, but she just figured it out all by herself.

Nicole loves to learn! And, now that I am home, I am able to spend time with her working on writing and reading. She loves to practice her letters and loves to write her name. She also loves to ask me how things are spelled. Sometimes I feel like it is a spelling bee for me and I have to remember how to spell things. We are working on reading and she is doing really good with site words. She doesn't really get the whole sounding out concept but she sure can memorize words. Also, she looks at the picture in the books and she guesses what the words are in the easy readers more often then not. I've never taught a kid to read or write before so hopefully I'm doing it right.

I kinda feel bad for poor Nicole because she is my first child and I know that she is the guinnea pig for all of my parenting. I try my parenting out on her and if I do it wrong... well, at least I will learn from my mistakes and get it right with Dano. But, she is a good sport and very forgiving. I hope that she will always love me despite my parenting faults.

Nicole is one seriously grateful little kid... when she wants to be. If she is given a gift, she won't stop talking about it and will thank us again and again and again. So much so that I find myself wanting to give her more things because she is so grateful. Pretty sneaky Nicoley.

"Grandma, thank you for this sticker book. It is the perfect gift for little girls like me."
"Daddy, thank you for my new dress. I love it. Can I wear it? I just love it so much."
"Mommy, thank you for these delicious pancakes. I love it when you make me pancakes. Can I have more please?"

It is so hard to say no to her little voice. Everyone always comments on her voice. She has a sweet little high voice that really is endearing... until it is whining at me all day and won't stop asking me a million questions and won't stop saying my name... but I'm glad that she has a pretty voice. Hopefully it holds and she has a pretty voice all her life.

So, this is my Nicole at 4 years old. I love her. I'm so grateful for her. I wouldn't trade her for anything. She is the reason that I became a mother and she brought a joy and a purpose into my life that I didn't even know that I wanted or needed but has become a driving force in what I want out of life. I know some people don't see the allure of having children, but when I look at my Nicole, I look past all the challenging things that come with being a parent and I just feel happiness. She makes me happy and I love her.


Lisa D said...

Precious little girl. I can't wait to see her interact with Morgan when we come up there in December. :)

Marie said...

Nicole is so smart and funny. I love listening to her talk and hearing the amazing things that she comes up with. She says so many things that you wouldn't think a 4 year old would know about. And she's super cute.

Laura said...

Nicole is amazing! Hard to believe that she has grown up from the cute baby who always looked up at her "fan friend" to the beautiful, smart and funny little girl that she is.