Dearest Victoria Pearl,
I wrote you letters every month for your first three years, and they became redundant with the sentiment of you are growing up way too fast. I now haven't written you an "official" letter since your third birthday. The first thing I want to say it that you are growing up too fast! Every time you want me to carry you, I jump at the opportunity because I know the occasions to do so are shrinking as your body seems to be expanding at alarming speed.
In addition to watching you grow like a weed, I have an ever-increasing ability to learn about YOU through your personality and actions. There are so many facets to you that it's difficult to describe who you are - you are sweet, compassionate, affectionate, friendly, stubborn, dramatic, tempermental, animated, funny and ornery with a fair dose of spoiled rottenness mixed in. You are just starting to want to be independent in some things. Otherwise, you prefer to have things handled/done for you and often play the damsel in distress, especially for your daddy. To help with independence and responsibility you now have chores around the house which include setting and clearing the table, feeding the cat and cleaning up your toys. You never meet a stranger - everyone is "my friend". You have a smile, a wave, a hug for everyone...unless you are mad and then WATCH OUT! When you do get upset, you have to calm down on your own and usually do so quickly. I have learned to just stay out of the way!
What are your favorite things at four? Your cat Barbie is at the top of the list. You also love princesses and dinosaurs and any little characters/people/animals that you can use for pretend play. You don't like to be alone and would prefer to have a house full of people. When you aren't at school or therapy, we are playing, reading, going full force until bedtime. Speaking of bedtime, it has changed. I used to give you your binkies and off to sleep you would go. I really thought you would NEVER give up your binky. As you often do, you surprised me with the ease of it. Now, though, you want me to stay with you until you fall asleep. At first, I thought I didn't want to start that habit, but that was just the "baby book advice" overriding my common sense. Now, we have this special time each night as I read to you and then snuggle and say prayers. Sometimes you giggle as you're falling asleep - no doubt recounting something that happened that day. Moments like that are precious to me.
Selfishly, my favorite thing about this past year is your ability to tell me you love me (sometimes even, "I love you so, so much!"). For all mothers, those words are sweet. For me, each word represents a little miracle. You work so hard to accomplish what comes so easily for others. You have so many people on your team - professionally and personally - who love you dearly. It's you and me, though, who walk through each day, side-by-side, hand-in-hand, heart-to-heart fighting to give you the voice to express all those qualities I mentioned. It's both exhausting and rewarding. It means I am sometimes the outlet for your frustration, but I'll happily be your punching bag because I know it also means I get to be your biggest cheerleader. I would love to just gather you in my lap, hold you close and make it all better for you. While I'll always do more than my fair share of comforting you, I know it's equally important that I help you reach your full potential by pushing, expecting...
I can't wait to see what this next year holds!
I love you more than you can imagine,