Jul 1, 2014

An Open Letter to London for Her 4th Birthday

June 30, 2014

Dear London,

I’m a little late in writing this yearly letter to you. Unfortunately, I think life just gets busier and busier with each year passing and your dad and I expect this to worsen as you and Sydney grow older.

This has been a year of change for all of us. In October we moved from South of Sacramento to North of Sacramento. This resulted in a change of daycare and you had to make all new friends. But you settled in quickly. You went from mostly boys for friends to mostly girls for friends. Kennedie, Layla, Jaida, and Remmi appear to be the main names we have learned. Layla & Kennedie are also June babies so we’ve had a handful of birthday parties to attend. We are also still in contact with Evan and Lucas, and just this last weekend the “Three Muskateers” were back in action running amuck at Funderland for Lucas’s sister’s birthday. Those are two friendships I hope we hold on to for all of us.

We let you choose which bedroom you wanted in the new house. You chose the one right next to mommy and daddy’s room, with the squeaky door. This door is a blessing and a curse as we know when you open it, especially on weekend mornings, which alerts us that we need to get it, but with you at an age where you can play in your room for a little while and give us an extra ½ hour of sleep, you’re coming out to tell us you are awake usually wakes up Sydney.

For the most part, your room transferred well from the old house, and this new room is a bit larger. We have added one piece of furniture, a desk, handed down from our Grammi and painted by you and your Grandma in a color you chose – lavender. We still need to get a chair for it, which we will do soon, as at the end of the summer you will likely transition into the Transitional Kindergarten class at your daycare over regular pre-school, and you will begin to receive weekend homework. You have learned so much this year. You know many of your ABCs, can almost write out your name without help in how to order the letters, and just the other day you recognized the number 27!

You also speak much more like a person over a toddler, with full sentences and everything. We did have a concern that you were slightly behind developmentally for speech, and you had a little lisp, so we had you tested through the public school system. For the most part you were considered on par but with the lisp it was recommended that you get speech for a ½ hour once a week. It was more of a precaution or way to more than ready for kindergarten, than out of concern for a delay. In some ways, it puts you ahead of your kindergarten class. You’re on summer vacation for speech right now, but it is clear you love the extra learning opportunity and 1:1 attention. Every time we drive by were we go to speech you make mention of it. Don’t worry – Ms. Libra will be back in the Fall.

We have had to take the all-night night light out of your room as you started a habit of waking up and coming into Mommy & Daddy’s room several times a night, going to daddy’s side to have him put you back to bed. Poor daddy was getting up 3-4 times a night. Taking the night light away helped for a little while, but it did start again, so explaining to you that waking daddy up at night makes for a grumpy daddy during the day. You have been able to understand this, and it seems to be working, as you stay in your room most nights. On weekends, we try and avoid having you take naps as well. Even at school, we ask that you just lay down for quiet time but not be pushed to fall asleep, as you go to bed much more easily if there is no nap involved. On nap days you tend to fight it and sometimes don’t fall asleep until just before we go to bed. You also still need to be woken up weekday mornings and wakeup just before 7 AM most weekend days – even when we let you stay up the night before and have you go without a nap the day before.

Enrolling you in Soccer thru your daycare one day a week helps just a little on Wednesdays – at least then you ran off a little extra energy. You love it too. Some days at home you put the dogs in the house so you can run around with your soccer ball in the back.

And the week we had your enrolled for swim lessons at the start of summer you definitely slept well. The first day was pretty cold and your were shivering by the end of the lesson, but by the end of the week you had finally started to get in as deep as your shoulders and you have been asking to go back since. You’ll get you’re wish in two weeks when you start another round of lessons for 2 weeks this time. We also set up a small kiddie pool on one side of the house for you and Sydney to play in on hot days, which you have enjoyed a couple of time.

We’ve had to curtail your TV viewing this year as you would rather watch TV than play. Which is wild, given that Sydney is older and you two have a blast playing together most of the time. You two get into fits of giggles a lot which is music to my ears. Sydney still doesn’t know how to share very well so she does sometimes take things out of your hands and you whine to us instead of fighting back. This is both good and bad. We’d like you to stand up for yourself and learn that all you need to do is find something else or offer Sydney an alternative. And the whining can be relentless at times, but you are getting better. I’ll admit, Sydney has learned she can bully you a bit though your dad and I are working on curtailing this as much as we can.

You still love Mickey mouse Club, Bubble Guppies and My Little Pony. You’ve also added Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins to your viewing list. And you’re better at watching movies. We have Ducktales on DVD now, which you love. And your are a Disney Princess Fanatic. You’ve most recently been watching Frozen, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White on rotation. You also enjoy The Little Mermaid.

When it comes to Frozen, like every little girl in the world, you want to be Queen Elsa. Grandma and Grandpa even gave you a Queen Elsa dress, tiara and singing doll for your birthday. You act very prim and proper when you have the dress and tiara on, as you know it is a very special treat. We plan to take you to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique at Disneyland when we go in October for a Princess makeover – you’ll be over the moon if this does happen. You are always asking to put on lip gloss and nail polish. And the Queen Elsa doll has joined your Tulley Dog and Minnie Mouse, Seahorse, Ladybug and Lamb as a must have in bed with you at bedtime.

You’re still a big fan of all our animals, though the love-hate relationship with Jake continues. You are much better at being gentle with him. And you recognize that when daddy isn’t home, Gibson and Tulley are our protectors. Recently, while daddy was away for work, you got scared and ended up sleeping with me and the dogs, because you felt better having the dogs so close. Kelsey and you don’t interact all that much, but she has been known to sneak in a nap with you, when you do need one at home. And amazingly you don’t pester her so she wants to stay.

One area that you have completely reversed from since last year, is the adventurous eater. You have decided you hate carrots – yet you asked for carrot cake for your birthday cake this year. You have your favorites too – chicken nuggets and potstickers to name a few. Now that Sydney eats the same items as you and since she can’t wait for Mommy & Daddy’s dinner to be ready, you two eat together at your little blue table every night as soon as we get home. Within a year I hope both of you can enjoy what Daddy & I have for dinner as I know we are not always feeding you a healthy meal. At least I know you get two healthy meals at daycare to compensate – which I am told you eat all your vegetables! You have taken a liking to yellow squash and zucchini since we started growing some in the backyard. You get to help harvest it after Sydney goes to bed, which I think has been huge in your interest in it. You are still a little bit of a vulture when daddy and I sit down to eat our own food. Most of it you like so I know you will do better with a healthy meal once we can transition you and Sydney.

On our actual birthday this year, your dad was out of town on business and you were not feeling well, though on the better side of it. The Saturday before you had lost your voice and by that night you had a 102 fever. The morning of your birthday (Tuesday) you were still sporting a fever of 100, but I knew you’d be back at school the next day as you couldn’t stay resting on the couch like you had the day before. We celebrated as best we could given the situation – Papa Murphy’s pizza and cupcakes.

Thankfully, we had planned to have your birthday party the following Sunday, Father’s day. We had it just down the road at Old Town Tumbleweed inside Gibson Park Ranch. We paid to have a private party which included unlimited Pony rides for you and your friends, as well as a Horseshow that features Sterling. We were told he was the horse Disney came to see before creating Maximus in the Animated movie Tangled – and thus was the inspiration for the theme. You even got to sit atop Sterling at the end of the show. The show was followed up by cake and presents before carriage rides. What was the coolest part about the location was that all the animals there were rescued and it was evident they were enjoying life there. You had a few very specific requests for your party as well. One was the request for carrot cake as the main cake. The second was that you wanted the cake to have pink frosting, but at the last second you chose purple. Next, you wanted popcorn and flowers. I made sure you had both. The popcorn was actually quite a hit, as it was caramel popcorn made with brown sugar and marshmallows, and topped with sprinkles and pastel m&ms. All the kids in attendance put some in a cup and ate it while watching the horse show. Sorry honey, but you’re party next year will likely be a bit more low key. You’ll have to wait until we do the same for Sydney’s 4th.

This year we lost your Popi. He’s been the first person we have lost so close to you at an age where you could somewhat comprehend what had happened. We’ve done our best to explain his loss to you and answer your questions, but we’re also working on getting you to understand empathy and appropriate times to talk about the loss and how. We’re still not sure you grasp what it means completely. You do understand that he is with our beloved Mel Mels, which seems to bring you comfort. We were fortunate that your cousin Robert was willing to watch you and your other cousins play outside during the memorial service, as I was worried how you would react or receive that experience. I hope you don’t have to learn more about loss any time too soon in your short little life thus far.  

Hard to believe this time next year we will be gearing up to transition you out of day care and into Kindergarten. You’re dad and I are already looking at the local schools and we’re pretty sure we’ll be transferring you into a different district so you can be at a smaller school and eventually, a better high school.


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