Thursday, April 02, 2009

To Nessa On Her 4th Birthday

Four years old! Wow! It seems like just yesterday that you were only three…

It’s been another year full of changes. It might not seem to others like you’ve changed all that much: you’re only a couple of inches taller and a few pounds heavier than last April 2nd. But your mommy and I know how many things are different.

The biggest change has been your diet: with your Celiac Disease diagnosis we all had to change what we eat, but what a difference those changes have made. You don’t get sick nearly so often. You’re a picky eater like I was, so it gets tricky to feed you sometimes, but at least we know everything you eat is helping you to grow and not harming you.

Your attention span is getting longer. You can sit through an entire movie, and if you like it you can sit through the same movie over and over. When you play you can concentrate on one toy or one scenario for a long time before switching to another, especially if you’re playing by yourself. If you have several choices you like, you still want to do everything, but after sampling them all you often settle on one and stick with it for a while. Your play scenarios are getting more elaborate, and you’ve started adding things from movies you’ve seen and stories you’ve heard. I love to listen to you play when you don’t know I’m doing so, and to hear the things that come out of your imagination.

You’re getting better and better with language. Although you often want to play a role and speak like you’re younger than you are, at other times you astound me with sentences you put together and the ideas you express. You have the classic four-year-old hesitation & repetition when your brain gets ahead of your ability to frame the words exactly as you want them to come out. I know I’m not as patient with that as I should be sometimes, and I’m sorry. But it’s so much fun to listen to you incorporate new thoughts and expressions into your speech.

You can do so many more things than you could a year ago: put together puzzles, write your name without help (even if the s’s often turn into z’s), color a picture using different colors in each area. You’re getting good at climbing, and are learning how to use items to help you do things. You recognize more words every month. Your mommy and I wonder when you’ll unlock the reading code and be able to read to us. You’re also starting to make up songs, much to my delight.

You’re still learning how to get a handle on your emotions, but that’s OK. It’s hard to want so much to do something and to not be able to do it. You have an independent streak a mile wide, and someday that could be a wonderful thing. You’re learning that God will listen to you when you are having trouble, and that sometimes that helps.

Your mommy and I love you so much, Nessa Rose…more and more with each passing day. Occasionally we’re wistful about days that are gone forever, but I’m so excited about the girl you’re becoming and everything that’s ahead of you that I don’t think about the past much. You are still my greatest joy and my greatest treasure. Thank you for being my little girl, and for helping your mommy to make my life rich beyond measure.

Happy 4th birthday, Nessa Rose!


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