Four years old is such an interesting and fun age. It's another one of those ages where your kid is kind of straddling two worlds. Right now Syd has one food in little girl and one food in big girl. She still sucks her fingers and needs her special lovey, but also wants to be independent and walk to the neighbor's house alone to deliver a can of tomatoes. She wants to be making more of her own decisions, but often is crippled by the task of actually DECIDING. Some days she cares very deeply about her look--from her hairstyle down to her shoes. I mean, VERY DEEPLY. It's about a 50/50 chance that getting dressed and out the door in the morning will result in a phase 10 meltdown. Syd has some of the same sensory issues that Carson did/does. Socks, shoes and tags on clothing are a daily struggle. So much so that our household shuts down until we can find a compromise. (Flip-flops and princess nightgowns are not an acceptable solution in the winter. Sorry, girl.)
For the most part, this little Bird has a pretty mild personality. Of all three kids, she is definitely the most likely to obey quickly and be compliant, the one who wants to snuggle the most. She's picked up some things from watching her older brother in karate and SHE often says to me "YES, MOM!" and gives me a little bow. In fact, the times when she gets herself into trouble the most are when she is being bossy with her siblings. Or she's physically man-handling Asher. This big sister business is a full-time job, people.
This summer I feel like we saw a new side of our middle child. A more self-confident side. She tried several new things and did not hesitate. She took a regular swimming class for the first time, and surprised us by making great strides. I mean, at that age it's lots of bubbles and kicking; however, for this shy girl, the strides were walking confidently away from us towards her teacher, feeling very comfortable in the water, and listening and obeying during class. Then sometimes she'd smile and wave to us. We've had our share of peeling her off of our legs when we take her to a new situation (or even not new!) so this experience was so encouraging!
Syd also tried some roller skates! It was a short-lived hobby.
I think we really saw this new side of Sydney at camp over labor day weekend. At our camp there are 2 water slides and one really big dry slide. She quickly tackled all three and went back and back and back and back! Smiling and skipping and waving to us the whole time. Of course she also wanted to be the one to help Asher go down the small slide for the first time.
She was rocking that life jacket, complete with the buckle that kept riding up her bum.
Yes, I realize this is not Sydney. I wanted to try to give you an idea of how big this slide is.
For some reason, I only got this one photo of Syd on the big dry slide, even though she literally went on it over and over again for hours that weekend. It was such fun just watching HER have fun. Plus, going up that huge ramp and then three flights of stairs so many times really wore her out. She slept well!
Sydney is in preschool for the second year. She goes 3 times a week, and has the same teacher and many of the same friends from last year.
Another fun thing about this age is that she is starting to make her own friends...not friends because they are children of OUR friends, or siblings of CARSON's friends, but her own friends! The two she talks about most from school are K and E, who are twins. The school had a special "twin" day, so these girls decided to dress as triplets! Sydney was SO tickled to do something special with them.
Speaking of Sydney being excited, the absolute highlight of this fall has been the birth of her cousin, Baby Ellie. Sydney prays for Ellie every night and asks about her almost daily. "When can we go see baby Eyyie again?" The times when we have seen her, Sydney doesn't want to stop holding her. She gets a longer turn than any of us. She is completely and totally smitten! (As are the rest of us!)
Some people who only see Sydney in group settings would not believe how crazy and wild she gets in the comfort of her own home. :) And let me tell you: she is a TALKER! Non-stop.
One benefit if our current schedule is that for about 90 minutes in the afternoon, Carson is at school and Asher is sleeping, so Syd and I have time together. Unfortunately, it's also the only productive time of my day, so often I am getting stuff done while she tags along around the house. But I try to be sure to sit down with her for a good snuggle each afternoon. It's a special time for both of us to re-connect.
I love this picture of Syd and Asher. This is truly how I picture her--very carefree. She loves singing to herself and skipping around the house. I read something by Beth Moore, one of my favorite authors, who suffered terrible abuse as a child. She said her prayer for her own daughter was that "pain would come as it should: a surprise." I so resonate with this. Not the abuse, but my heartfelt prayer that the Lord would allow Sydney to ease into the reality and pain of this world. That her hurt feelings and heartbreak would be mild. That she would maintain this innocence and excitement for life. I know I can't protect her from every heartache, every scraped knee, every hurtful comment. But I pray that I can instill in her such a warm and secure foundation of love and confidence that she will never experience anything that will shake her belief that she is wholly, dearly and unconditionally loved by us and her heavenly Father.