Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breathing four in.








She is four and four months.

She believes in fairies and wishes and magic and dragons.
Sometimes, in the morning, she likes to dictate to me a list of adventures and ways to fill our day.
She misses her big sisters so much when they go to school and feels a bit left behind.
She loves to cook and especially to make funny faces out of the bread dough.
She has never had a haircut and swears she never will.
Yesterday she wrote her own name, unassisted, for the very first time ever.
She is desperate to get a puppy.
She lets me dress her in whatever I like. She doesn't notice labels or lengths or trends.
She will play with anybody. She has no concept of coolness or not.
Her boyfriend is a thirty five year old woman.
She climbs, runs, dances, skips and swings along next to me all day long.
Sometimes I feel that she must have the most photographed and documented childhood in the world.
If I ever lose track of her, I only have to listen quietly for a second and I will hear her singing somewhere.
She wants to be a ballet dancer when she grows up.
She loves working on the farm.
She likes to draw a picture of a dog for everyone who walks in the house.
In the late afternoon she gets tired and likes to snuggle and read books and tell stories.
At night she sleeps with the same teddy I slept with as a child.

It's funny, when the other girls were her age we called this time the f$%&en fours.

This time around, compared to the pre-teen demands and eye rolling and hurrumphing, four seems delightful. Unselfconscious. Simple.

I am savouring each second. Breathing it in.

xx

Are there any blogs out there about parenting pre-teens?
Any good books?
Any words of wisdom?

82 comments:

  1. HA HA! We called the 3's the 'f***ed three's' and the 4's was even worse!

    Happy birthday to sweet Pepper. Alfie was 4 last week, such a sweet age x

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  2. Beautiful, Kate, and a wonderful reminder to treasure them at each stage. xo

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  3. I'm loving 3 and looking forward to 4
    Beautiful list
    xx

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  4. Lovely words. I also have a four year old, who is closer to five, and agree it is a beautiful age. They get such joy out of life and doing stuff.I think its because they are still unspoilt by peer pressure and other modern pressures.

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  5. four really is a gorgeous age, though we had our fair share of HUGE blowouts but the gorgeousness far outweighed all the bad moments. Perfectly innocent, loving and so imaginative, I miss it already..breathe it in and enjoy every precious minute x

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  6. Yes perspective changes over time... Interesting how each age and phase teaches us something new.

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  7. Beautiful photo's Kate and 4 is a lovely age. Maybe boys are a bit easier pre-teen, and year 8 or 9 is about the horror year for them x

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  8. re the Teen stuff.....
    Jasper & I sat and wrote that 'respect' contract we have spoken of.
    I find it ever so helpful.
    A contract on how we expect to be treated and to treat others...he helped write it and so is personally accountable.
    It means that when things get tough or out of balance I can have a quiet sit with him & revisit it.
    He responds so well to it. it provides an opportunity to chat about stuff that he may be having trouble with or confused about.
    I think from what I have seen so far it is EVERY bit as confusing to the teen as to why they do/behave the way they do as it is to us.
    When I have sat down & chatted to J about it he says that's true- he finds it just as confusing.
    And to be honest i think the harumphing etc is good and normal.
    I think it is normal for it to be hard- hard for us and hard for them.
    Maybe that is what is hardest - accepting that.

    That is why you are truly able to BREATHE in every single second of that divine Ms. Pepper.
    As experienced parents we can let go of the stuff that used to upset us and just let it go and ENJOY!
    Lucky Pepper.
    lucky you.
    xxx
    PS. my kids are probs photographed just as much as yours if not more.....and when they are THAT beautiful it is NECESSARY!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this tip! I think I want to try this with my pre-teen!

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  9. Lovely. Enjoy all the wide eyed wonder, it is so precious. Now about those pre teen blogs, I would love to know if you hear of any. My 13 year old could have a gold medal in eye rolling.

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  10. Beautiful words Kate, and a lovely reminder to cherish each moment with our children...I have pre-teens too and would be interested in reading some words of wisdom on how to parent them!

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  11. Oh she is delightful! Four is much nicer than pre-teens. Isabelle is going through the terrible 10's which Lachlan went through, so I guess I should beware of 13 and 15 as well since they were rough ones too. I wish there was a book out there on how to deal with them but girls are a lot harder I think.

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  12. have you seen this group? they are all aussie and cover a big range of blog topics
    http://digitalparents.com.au/

    B

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  13. ...support groups? Let do coffee and share, I sure need it too xo

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  14. Just read GG's comments...fabulous & helpful & real xo

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    Replies
    1. ha! was just thinking I am joining the support group. For the coffee & the hugs. xx

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  15. Gorgeous gorgeous post!
    I so miss having a 4 year old.
    It is such a fun age, and knowing they won't be home
    for much longer during the day, makes it even more special.

    We have the 10 year old exclaiming -
    'I don't KNOW why i'm upset!!'
    lol.XX

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  16. isn't perspective wonderful? when little hands (messily) help with baking...and unfold just-folded washing...when boys wrestle incessantly....when the kids are driving me crazy with noise, i often think of how quiet and lonely it will be one day when they've all flown the coop. and how i'll just want them all to come and visit, and they'll have to make up excuses to get me off their backs! haha

    beautiful~ X

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  17. She is adorable and one day she will get that puppy :)

    Here is a good blog http://mom2my6pack.blogspot.com.au/

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  18. Wonderful. I have a girl in the same age. I am taking it all in. She is my youngest. This time will never come back again. It makes me sad at times... They are so... undamaged, natural, joyful and challenging at the same time...

    Regarding books on pre-teens. I got 2 books from Amazon for my 10 year old girl going 11. She was over the moon for them. Is reading them carefully word by word. We read them together. Discussing what is going to happen, emotions... all the tough and scary stuff about growing up. I highly recommend them. The titles are: Feelings Book,by Lynda Madison and Little Book Of Growing Up by Victoria Parker. The last one mentioned is already getting thumbed corners... Have a lovely day. :D

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  19. Sweet! She can draw Bubba Joe a picture of a dog if she likes, he'd love it!

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  20. She is so beautiful. Your post reminded me of my 3rd daughter, left at home while her sisters were off to school. She loved puppies and wanted to be a ballet dancer. Oh sweet memories!!

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  21. Your pepper is so so adorable!! It is half the reason I read your blog :), the other half is your crochet updates and general updates. I have two sons, younger one turns 4 next month, being a mom of four year old I can relate to your experiences with pepper.. Just want to mention a small incident with my son (hope you don't mind..)I was purposely ignoring Angad(my son) the other day 'cause he was not listening to me, so after waiting for 2-3 min, he came to me and said 'Mumma, I was in your tummy when I was small!' :) meaning please don't ignore me!!
    Each and every moment with these little angels is so cherishable!

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  22. Four sounds charming! And Miss Pepper is the bees knees Kate. Though I know you know that. :)

    I am loving three. Three is fun and cheeky. But at the moment three is argumentative! One day it just clicked for Cohen that he could argue back. There really is no use arguing with a toddler, is there?

    "Come and have a shower so we can go to playgroup Cohen."
    "No, Mama shower, Cohen tv, playgroup dirty."
    (Which interprets to - you have a shower, I'll watch tv while you do, because I will just get dirty again at playgroup.)
    Yes, well, um....

    xx

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  23. Ok as a mum to a 16 1/2 and a just 18 year old my advise is just go with it! They will surprise you in so many (some lovely, some not so!) ways. Try to be mindful that they can't help it - all those hormones running around! And - probably most importantly - keep the lines of communication open - I often think teenagers need us as much as the little ones. Sometimes, hard as it is , they need to vent. And enjoy them. i find this stage is fun too - they are great company!
    But after all that I miis that 4yr old time - She is beautiful x

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  24. No advice from me yet - but I'll be mainly doing boys - which might be entirely different!
    I LOVED that lovely description of your little girl. REally nice thanks..
    I'm enjoying my 4 3/4 year old more than I remember enjoying the others at that age too...
    Good luck!

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  25. We thought two was bad, then came 3, could it get worse. Now we are in the throws of 4 and yes it can! I don't remember it being this bad first time round! However 9 is a WHOLE new ball game. I often wonder what it would be like to have girls. But I suspect it would be the same crap just a slightly different smell!
    I have to dig really hard in to the recesses of my mind and try and remember what it was like being 9. It was a long time ago so its quite hard, but it does help.

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  26. Ah, Four. I rememeber that. So easy. So joyful.

    Pre - teens. I pick my battles. I don't sweat the small stuff.

    And I ask for the ipod to be handed over before bed time!

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    1. yep pick your battles, some things just aren't worth it.
      I also like natural consequences as much as possible.

      cheers Kate

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  27. I have 17, 15(boys), 14 and 11(girls) here. Yes we have some of the teen issues, but really I'm enjoying these years at the moment. It's great living with independent young people with different views on the world. I think the teen years are much like the toddler years, wanting to be independent, needing boundaries, pushing those boundaries but at the same time wanting us to stop them, guide them and hug them when it doesn't quite work out. Keep talking, but even more important I think is to keep listening. But that 4 yr old is just gorgeous and how wonderful that you get to have this special one on one time each day, what a gift. Soak it up and enjoy it.

    cheers Kate

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  28. I remember four being a delightful age with our oldest three..it was the age when their little personalities really bloomed. If only we could bottle it and keep it forever.
    Having three teens, 19, 17 and 14 we have been fairly unscathed..I think the boundaries as a youngster helped tremendously with our lot..and definitely pick your battles :)

    x

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  29. Hi Kate - how funny you are talking about pre-teen trouble - if you find the magic answer give me a call.

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  30. I wish I could visit you; I could really do with a picture of a dog. I remember fondly the days when my nearly 12 year old daughter let me dress her in whatever I liked. Sigh... Life with a pre-teen girl isn't too bad -a bit of stropping, yelling, wanting to wear make-up, high heels etc. Her brothers are 15 and 16 and are a delight -endlessly entertaining.

    Beautiful pictures by the way, who wouldn't want to photograph such a lovely little girl?

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  31. That's a beautiful beautiful post Kate. She sounds like a delight. Enjoy!
    I've not any advice for you though. I have boys, and they are a whole different game!

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  32. I miss my girl being 4, I miss my boys being 4, I just miss that stage full stop. SO precious. My pre-teen is doing wonderfully, but my Aspie boys are a worry - if you find any blogs on pre-teen Asperger boys... let me know... and I'll let you know if I find any on girls! xx Rach

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  33. Hello - thanks for your lovely blog - I do have a couple of tricks for getting through the preteen years - tips that have helped me make it through all 6 of my children who are now between 11 and 25. The first is to remember that at any given moment there is only one thing I should be doing - maybe it's talking to a child, maybe it's cooking, maybe it's working - but there's only one thing. And the second - and probably most helpful to me - is to remember that this too is a stage - and to look on it as just as cute as the toddling stage. Hope that helps.
    Thanks again - my daughters and I do enjoy your blog.

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  34. Oh I am going to keep coming back and reading peoples comments! I love the go with it! The 11 year old (boy) is having a harder time than the 9 year old (girl) here at the moment (friends and teasing, sigh)... often it's the other way round. So no advice from here- but I think you know your gang know you love them and want the best for them and that's a pretty lovely solid foundation for them. My 9 year old nearly made me fall over two nights ago when I was cleaning my room and she came up and said "Can I play with you?" (I tried to take it all in my stride but was so chuffed- she's often pretty distant/ stand offish). It ended in us reading 'Anne of Green Gables' together. I wish I could bottle those bits! It was so so nice to read from others who are "through the other side" saying hang in there. I hope you felt comforted too xxx Oh- and I love four...endless chatter and big adventures from memory (oh so distant memory!)

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  35. oh i don't want to even think of pre-teens although I often bring it up with Daniel and say things like: "what will we do if..."

    as for four and four months - che is there right now and i too am breathing in the sweetness of it all. little pepper belongs in little house on the prairie. she is adorable x

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  36. I have both a head strong four year old with a desire to wear my wedges( I don't do heals) and my bras and dresses, I love her to bits even when she's doing the f#$%^&&y fours. I also have an 11 year old girl who I think because of her small stature is a little delayed in acting out all these pre teen behaviours. I love the way she is creative, artistic, her favourite line is "Ohhh Mum" I wish I could offer some words, I am sure our time is around the corner. Good luck:)))

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  37. I loved both girls at 4. 6 is a bit too close to 16 for my liking and 10 can be hard work. I am going back to read all wise words about pre-teens right now. Your photos are beautiful.

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  38. My girl is four and a half and I feel like we've finally hit the great times. She is a delight, a fine conversationalist and such good company. Sorry, can't help on the pre-teen front! Your girl is gorgeous. x

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  39. pre teens /teens ....Good Luck they will come back xxx

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  40. She is gorgeous Kate! My little girl is 4 too and I am just loving it! xx

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  41. I have two pre teens - my daughter's 9 and my partner's daughter is 11, girls are hard especially at that age and I definitely agree with the 'pick your battles'advice.

    Most days though I look at my daughter and cherish the comments she makes and the views that she has and the passion she has about them because I can see the beginnings of such a kind and wonderful woman starting to blossom from the cute and adorable child in front of me.

    I'm sure you get the same feeling when you look at your daughters.

    Fleur xx

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  42. What a lovely post!!

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  43. Very beautiful...your words remind me of the way I remember my own childhood to be :) Thank you.

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  44. words of wisdom for pre teens..?? just remember that you were one too and you will live through it, we all do..!!!
    hope you're all well Kate, the four year old is growing like a weed and looking pretty good too... :o)
    Lizzie
    xxx

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  45. beautiful post kate, she is divine. as for teenage parenting, i have survived it twice and we are just heading on a collision course with round three. my mantra is choose your battles.
    like all phases it will pass and it will all be forgotten in the fullness of time. i reckon you will ace it

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  46. Oh, I loved 4! I have no pre-teen advice, I'm gonna burn that bridge when we get to it.
    Beautiful words
    Beautiful girls
    Beautiful Mama
    xo

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  47. Oh that Pepper, I love her! If you find some good resources on preteens, please let me know!

    xx

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  48. I only have a toddler, but I read 'How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk' and love it. I think it would be really helpful.

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  49. Gorgeous, such a treasure. I think it does definitely get harder as they get older doesn't it :-(

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  50. she is delish. Her likes are so similar to the one I see next to me. I love 4. Four has been my favourite age so far.

    No haircuts here either - ever- although our plaits are not as long.

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  51. oh four was delightful, so enjoy her just like lil sweet berry she is, as for teen girls, just have lots of your own time out and occ vodka

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  52. I' afraid I have no words of wisdom for you on the pre-teen thing Kate but I too am embracing the 3-4 year old - such a sweet age.
    I enjoy the unselfconscious singing too.

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  53. Lovely pics and what a sweetie!
    The biggest thing I've heard about preteens and would agree with having been a preteen girl once upon a time is that girls need LOTS of attention and affection from their daddy. Especially at this age. If they don't get it from him, they will look for it with other potential males who are willing to give it to them.... Lots of daddy/daughter dates and lots of chats with daddy. I've also heard it's good for dad to take over the discipline from around 12ish so that mum and daughter don't have any EXTRA strain on their relationship! :-)
    Good luck! We've got a 19mo girl and another little girl on the way in June!! God bless! x

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  54. Beautiful words Kate.
    In such a busy time of life its great to stop and remember these things. I love the age that is four. My little girl is there at the moment. Its a beautiful age.

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  55. :) she sounds wonderful! Glad you are not repeating the F...ing fours again ;)

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  56. Hi Kate, Love your blog. Your girls are gorgeous and remind me of days past...my girls are now 23, 21 and 16. Just read a post that might interest you about parenting teens...look at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/ and at the end of the post she links to a blog about parenting...looks good :)

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  57. Ahh - I loved 4..and I loved 5..and 6,7,8...I loved them all. Now I have a 14 and 11 year-old and I love that too. All so different but all part of life.Enjoy.

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  58. our Isobel is 13 in April, she is a joy most of the time and other times we just need patience and try to ignore a lot of the eye rolling etc as I remember myself doing it as if it was yesterday!! Zoe (19) was fine as a pre teen she didn't actually get really moody until about 17 when we thought it would be over!!!but no, it wasn't, but now it's quite good....yay

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  59. Oh just breathe her in and then hold your breathe- she is just every bit of wonderful. As for the preteen bit- not entirely sure but there is an awesome book called " the princess bitchface syndrome" by psychologist Michael Carr- gregg that is meant to be great for dealing with teenage girl stuff. Me, I just have a 3 year old ballerina tomboy who thinks she is a 6 year old boy and likes to moon us! melx

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  60. there is a great book called 'princess bitchface syndome '
    its very good

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  61. Hi there, I think you will love this little 5 min animation from an organisation called Born to Learn. It talks about how our brains have evolved and why teenagers are the way they are! Gives you another perspective to think from. My kids are 7, nearly 5 and 18 months, so I'm not there yet but I hope I remember this video in the future! Plus seeing this a few months ago really made me reconsider homeschooling our kids (I had thought about it a lot and hadn't been brave enough to take the plunge). So this year we pulled our eldest out of school and are embracing homeschooling. It is AWESOME! (I mention it because you've made a few comments lately about how you're finding the back to school rhythm tricky)
    Best wishes to you and yours... and here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=falHoOEUFz0

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  62. Kate, what an absolutely beautiful post. She is so sweet x

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  63. I am SO enjoying the fours with my youngest! I LOVE IT! And I have my almost 12 year old to knock me back to reality when it comes to parenting bliss!

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  64. Your little girl is a beautiful child. The photos are lovely, exquisitely so - unforced and natural. The words match the photos, love for her oozes out from every pore. Absolutely gorgeous. Keep this for her.

    I've found my daughter who is now 24, to have just been herself from the time of her birth. Her personallity was there all along. We had a little trouble in primary school but her teens were a delight. She was/is very strong willed and liked to detemin things for herself, which is acceptable in an adult but questioned in a child 'you will do as I say, because I say so!' was the response of some adults. Well, I don't believe in jumping to the rule books of others for myself, so as long as she was not rude or hurt no one, I allowed her to decide for herself. Battles were picked accordingly, as being those important enough that I needed to win. (For which stamina was needed!)Accordingly there were very few difficulties as we talked so much about why and how things were that mostly it was just common sense and we would both agree. I don't think it is a good idea to argue for the sake of point scoring for no good reason at all. I never had any arguments about clothes; it is none of my business for one and secondly, the question never arose. Give a child something to rebel against and you get rebellion! Seriously, pre teens was lovely and the teenage years passed without a hitch.

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  65. I've been wondering the exact same thing about the pre-teen years. I'm off to get me a couple of those books, esp the Little Book of Growing Up...I can well see the attraction of four! Thanks for opening the topic up.

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    Wisdom at it's best!! Love it.
    Enjoying your blog..

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  68. This post is just beautiful (and so is your sweet baby girl). It makes me so sad to read it though. I used to have a very similar child, though a boy, and he was so many of the things you described. He's now about to turn 11 and he's barely the same being as he was back then. He still has all that sweet, unspoiled goodness beneath this weird "socially acceptable" facade he puts up for school. It really breaks my heart. I guess I am just saying, hold on to her right now and write down way more stuff that she does than you think you would ever want to know because she will be 11 so soon and you won't be her favorite person anymore. Sigh. Hope this wasn't a bummer of a post, just really hit a tender spot for me right now. :)

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  69. I love 4 - 2 wasn't too bad, 3 was horrendous, 4 is special and unique and all the dough risen of the last 4 years... but about to end. 5 in mid May and the dialogue since starting prep has changed- 5 will be different and i haven't noted 4 enough- I'm not ready to give up 4 yet..

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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