A Letter To My Daughter on Her Fourth Birthday

I actually baked a princess cake this year.
I actually baked a princess cake this year.

On your last birthday I was outrageously late with this letter, because we moved to a different country. I am determined not to be so late on this one even though it makes my blog looks like a mommy blog instead of the professional developmentalist blog I’d like it to be. Because none of these reasons are your doing, nor should you care about them, I have decided to post this regardless.

My Gorgeous Girl,

I love how independent you are becoming. You always wanted to do things your own way, and this year has been no different. You take out your own dishes to set the table, you pour your own milk or juice, and would cook the food yourself if I let you. You are still delegating some of the tasks you are less fond of, such as choosing clothes in the morning, but you forever find ways to get what you want: “Mommy, can you pick my clothes for me? But pick the white long-sleeved dress with pink polka-dots and the pink tights please.”

We focused this year on being assertive despite your small stature. Last weekend we went to the playground and some older children did not allow you the space you needed. You were upset, but then I explained that while they may be larger than you, you have an equally strong voice. You took my advice, as you always do, with attentive quiet and went to implement it immediately. The next time an older child cut in front of you, you calmly said “excuse me, I’d like to have a turn please.” I think the shock alone provided you with the space you needed to complete the trail at your own pace.

And speaking of advice, we started to talk about what girls can do. Or, more accurately, what some people think girls can’t do, but in fact they can. I learned an important lesson from you this year. You surprised me with constructing a princess castle from pink and purple Legos, and made me realize that I shouldn’t resist your adoration of all things pink, because your favourite colour has no implication on your skills. Also, and entirely unrelated, I love that you are left-handed.

I particularly like your take on the world around you, which is now really starting to shine through. My favourite tale is about the time you told me you wanted to be a mommy when you grow up, just like me. After I was done melting, I told you “that’s great, but you know you could be a mommy and something else, like I am your mommy and a scientist”. You thought long and hard about this one, and finally said “ok. When I grow up I want to be a mommy and a princess”. I think that was the time I realized that I can’t fight this princess thing.

For next year, I wish you a year of growth. You are starting school soon, and you’ll frequently encounter older and bigger children who won’t notice you. I hope you won’t lose your voice or heart, and learn how to cope with these older children and to take the space and time you need for you. I hope you don’t get tired from fighting to be recognized as a “big girl” even though you are a head shorter than the 2-year-olds in your nursery, and you will probably be the smallest child in your class. I hope that in spite all that, you would still enjoy school and learning new things.

Yours forever,

Mommy.

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