A letter to my daughter JJ, that I wrote when she was 3 years & 11 months old. I hope that one day, when she is old enough to want to remember days long forgotten, she will enjoy looking back on these letters of what she was like as an awesome little preschool aged girl.
I know I’ve said it before, but I think three years and eleven months old is my new favourite age.
The ‘trying three’s’ are long past, and you are now such a big girl. You often proclaim “Look how tall I am. Look how long my arms are. Look how long my legs are!”
You can do so much now. You can put on your shoes and socks. You can help match up the socks in the laundry basket. You can ride your rocking horse with one foot standing on the saddle and the other pointing into the air. You can take your own (porcelain) plate and (metal) utensils to the kitchen sink after dinner. You can share with your sister, even when she isn’t very good at sharing in return. You have the stamina to walk (almost) the length of the zoo. And you have the self discipline to (usually) stop running ahead when I call out to you.
You’ve become a bit of a “goody two-shoes”. You know all the rules, and you (generally) stick by them. You say your pleases, your thank yous and your excuse mes.
I’ve read about this golden age between toddlerhood and adolescence where kids are just generally awesome. And it feels like you’re there. It feels like you are the most awesomest little girl in the whole wide world (well, to me anyway).
You’ve settled into the new preschool year, and have made some really good friends. Friends that you’ll go on to school with next year. Friends that you might, hopefully, keep for life. You’ve starting to be invited to birthday parties and playdates. You’re learning about sharing, compromising, being a polite guest and being a polite host. It’s so lovely to watch these connections blossom.
You chatter non-stop. About this and that. About your friends, and the games you play. About stories that we’ve read or TV shows that you’ve watched (Rainbow Magic and Octonauts are still your favourites). You sing songs and know all the actions. And you ask questions. You inquire.
“Mummy, I want to talk some more about the dog catcher in their vans and the pound. Can you tell me more about it please? Are there rabbits and pigs at the pound? What do they do with dogs that are naughty? Do they go to gaol? Can we take (our cat) Charlie to the pound and swap her for a dog?”
You’re starting to play word games. You’re fascinated with rhyming words at the moment, and are constantly trying to think up new rhyming combinations. “Mum! Cone and phone – they rhyme!” or “Mum! “Sally and sand both start with ‘s’ – they have the same special letter!”
You’re also really into counting. You can count to 19 without help, and well beyond that if we give you some gentle prompts at the decade transitions. You are still learning to recognise written numbers however, so we have been playing lots of number recognition games. You love it, as long as you don’t ever lose.
Because, you see, you’re (more than) a tad competitive. (I wonder where you get that from, lol…) I can easily convince you to run upstairs to clean your teeth, or tidy up all the Duplo blocks, or scrabble to get into your car seat first, just by telling you it’s a race. If ask “Who wants morning tea” you’ll call out “Me!” in a mini-second, and then explain that you should receive the first piece of mandarin because you replied first. Bee is too young to mind coming second, but I still let her win sometimes because losing gracefully is an important lesson.
We’ve been doing lots and lots and lots of arts and crafts these last few months. You prefer activities where you have a lot of creative freedom, because you don’t like the feeling of not being able to copy something correctly. You set a very high standard for yourself, and if you can’t get something exactly right, then you’d rather not attempt it at all.
It’s concerning that you don’t have the self-confidence to be able to try and fail. We’ve been working on this in a number of ways. Firstly, we’re doing lots of play that also secretly works on your fine motor skills, so that you’ll have the dexterity and hand eye coordination to be able to do things that you believe that you should be able to.
We’re also doing lots of child-led arts and crafts where there is no “right” or “wrong”. I often craft along side you, where I can demonstrate a technique and you have the choice to copy or not. Often you won’t copy at the time, but will try the technique out later where there is no perceived pressure for you to get it “right”.
Another activity that seems to have no bounds is sensory play, with various types of doughs, sand and water. There is no right or wrong with this sort of play and another bonus is that it’s fun across various age groups, so you and Bee can play separately or together.
And lastly, I’m trying to introduce the concept that experimenting, documenting and analysing failures is an important part of the scientific process and not something to be avoided. (The inner geek in me is secretly loving these discussions as well).
We’re in party planning mode for your birthday party, but I’ll leave all the details of that for your next letter.
And so I’ll finish off by saying I love you my sweet JJ, and you’ll always be my winner.
Previous letters to JJ:
A Letter to JJ (3 years, 5 months)
A Letter to JJ (3 years, 3 months)
A Letter to JJ (3 years)
A Letter to JJ (2 years, 9 months)
A Letter to JJ (2 years, 7 months)
A Letter to JJ (2 years, 6 months)
A Letter to JJ (2 years, 5 months)
A Letter to JJ (2 years, 4 months)