I was weeding my garden plot this morning, hoping the spring weather will stick around long enough that I can safely plant my seedlings. I was admiring a particularly fat worm when Ev came bounding out of the house, dressed in overalls and ready to get dirty.
“I can help! I can help, right Mama?”
I gave her a trowel and set her in the corner on the garden box and told her to start breaking up big dirt clumps and to pull out and rocks or weeds. She happily got to work, singing Jingle Bells exuberantly will she dug her hands in the dirt.
“This is a job for BIG GIRLS, right Mama? Babies and little kids couldn’t do THIS job, right?”
Ev turned four two weeks ago and I’m not convinced there has ever been anyone who has been more pleased to be this age. She remarks almost daily about some aspect of her life that is further proof of her new and exciting big girl status. She goes potty like a big girl, she hops on one foot like a big girl, she writes her name like a — well, you get the point.
Ev at four is a delight. She is funny, charming, and so kind-hearted. She goes to all-day preschool now and her teachers remark that Ev is “everyone’s friend because she is so kind and nice.” She has her moment of whining and has been really upping her bedtime stalling game lately, but she is also so sweet that she’d give you her last piece of candy and all the money in her piggy bank. She loves to tell me that my work clothes are “so beeeeutiful!” and she’ll grab my face between her still slightly chubby hands to tell me that I’m her very favorite mama.
She adores her big brother, even though he is, frankly, often kind of a jerk to her. Although Miles can also be nice and kind, he is much more combative and competitive than she is. He has also discovered sarcasm and the words “actually”, “duh”, and “give me a break, Mom” and so there are some moments of teeth grinding frustration when it comes to his familial interactions these days. I wish a little that I could scoop out some of her inherent sweet selflessness and give him a transplant.
Sometimes her kindness and accommodating nature make me wonder if we’ll have to be careful as she grows up to make sure she knows that you don’t always have to be nice. I want to celebrate her tender nature, but I also want to make sure she knows that, as a girl and woman, nice isn’t the highest of all the virtues.
Ev at four feels like the start of a new chapter in our family. We are SO VERY DONE with babies now. We don’t even have a toddler around this joint anymore. I’ve got two kids and given that Ev is 90th percentile kid in terms of size, I’m basically done shopping in the baby/toddler section of Target for clothes. We have no diapers in the house, no bottles, no cribs. There are things I will miss about the baby stage– I love a snuggly chubby baby asleep on my chest and the drunken staggering of a newly upright citizen– but it feels nice to feel like we are moving daily toward a family life with a little more breathing room from the constant demands of the early years.
I have a good feeling about Ev at four. She is my big girl.