My Baby Girl At 4 Years Old: A Snapshot

Turning 3: The Dawn Of The Threenager

I didn’t realise threenagers were an actual thing, but my happy, laid back little girl taught me otherwise. M was hard work at 3 (and worse at 4), but she was also hard work at 0, 1 and 2,  so I didn’t notice a change. In the last year Little has had an increase in tantrums, defiance and emotions that are too much for her to handle. This was such a change to when she was a baby and one neither of us were expecting. I’ve had to change my tactics with her, but most days we get on ok.

At first I thought the behaviour shift was due to the arrival of her little brother just a few weeks before she turned 3. She went from being the youngest and spending a lot of time at home with me to having to the arrival of a baby who cried a lot and wanted to be held constantly. She started going to nursery 5 mornings a week soon after she turned 3 and it was a lot for her to handle. I blamed myself for her behaviour, but after speaking to others it became apparent it was pretty normal for a child her age.

Despite the more challenging moments Little is generally a happy girl who loves to make others laugh and smile. She hasn’t quite got the handle of making up jokes, but she makes us laugh with her timing and unexpected comments when she attempts to tell them. She also loves to pull faces and behave in silly ways.

Little in a tree pulling a silly face

Little dresses as a witch with a green gecko t-shirt on under the dress. She has glitter on ger face and she is pulling a face like she is cackling

Toilet Training

Little was finally toilet trained in the summer after numerous previous attempts failed. She was so excited about starting preschool in September and we told her she needed to be in pants by then which was what finally cracked it. She still has accidents now and again, but she’s normally fine. We kept her in pull-ups at night until we worked through the packets we had. It wasn’t clear whether she was dry over night because she was reluctant to take them off in the morning.

I told her around Christmas time that next year she would have to start wearing pants to bed.  She took me literally and at bedtime on New Year’s Day she told her Daddy “no I’m wearing pants to bed now” cue a big rush to find the disposable waterproof sheets for the bed (I had bought a load for my home birth and had plenty left over). In January she had 2 accidents during the night so that has been brilliant.

Little sitting on our king size bed

Little at Colchester Zoo essex holding a little pot of nectar while a lorikeet drinks from it

What My Daughter Enjoyed At 3 to 4 Years Old

Little is a very active child and she loves to be playing. She goes to dance class and Mini Ninjas (Karate) each week, but she currently prefers the Karate. I think that’s because as one of the younger children in the class the Sensai is less strict with her and allows her to mess about a bit. In dance she is expected to follow the instructions more and she doesn’t like not doing it her own way. That will be interesting when she starts school in September. She said just this morning that she doesn’t want to go to lunch at school any more because she has to “wait in line”, Little is a bit of a free spirit and is definitely at an age where she is rejecting rules.

Little loves to draw and paint, but it’s often all over herself and the table so I don’t give the opportunity very often. With M we used to leave a pot of crayons out, but we can’t do that with Little because even as recently as a few weeks ago she has drawn on her face and other things that I wouldn’t consider canvases. It’s not just pens that can be used either, my make up and various lotions and potions are all at risk. In the summer she coated her self totally in mud several times, if it’s good enough for hippos…

Little during her dance perfomance doing a tap dance to Moana's You're Welcome

Little in the garden with mud on her trousers, top, hands and chin

Little at the table painting her hand green, there is also some paint on her chin and arm and the same colour paint can just be seen on a piece of paper at the table

How Little Learns

My youngest daughter loves to learn through doing. It is not enough to say “you mustn’t do that because it will break” she has to see what happens for herself. I believe this is a personality trait she got from me so I try not to get too angry and to give her the opportunity to learn her way where I can.

Little is a lot of fun and it is a shame I haven’t been able to spend more time focussing on her in the last year. She starts full time education later this year and I want to make the most of our time before then, it’s a challenge though as many of the games and activities I think she would enjoy get disrupted when her brother tries to join in. 

Little is more interested in learning than her big sister was at the same age. It sometimes feels like she is taking longer to pick things up, but I need to remember that she is younger than her sister at the same point in the school year and she has plenty of time. When she turned 3 Little didn’t know most of her colours, but she has cracked them now. She is also learning numbers and letters and she's interested in both reading and writing. Her mark making is starting to improve in the last month with some drawings moving on from scribbles. She has recently drawn my face and she can proudly draw a circle, a zero and an “O” yes they are all the same thing, but I love that she recognises what they are. 

Little's first portrait of me is a large face with eyes, nose, mouth, ears, a small amount of hair and 2 chins

I was blaming myself (yes always with the self doubt) for the lack of opportunity to do drawing, but then I realised she has been going to Nursery for at least a few mornings a week for the last 2 years and she has done plenty there.

Little loves to tell stories and has a great imagination. I love to watch her playing with toys and making up their adventures. When I had to stop lying with her at night to get her to sleep because of a needy baby her Dad took over the bedtime routine. I got frustrated that he has extended her bedtime routine rather than encouraging her towards going to sleep independently, but it is their special time to bond in the evening. The other benefit is that he reads her around 3 stories a night (yes 3! I rarely did more than one) and they both tell each other a “tend” (pretend or made up) story. This is all great for her creativity and ultimately far more important that her going to sleep on her own. It’s really only the evenings when G is working later than normal or is out and I have to get everyone to sleep on my own that I have a problem with it. 

At least she sleeps through the night most of the time now, or at least she gets herself back to sleep when she does wake up. She went through a period during the year when she would appear in our bed every night, but with a baby on one side and her on the other I soon had enough and her Dad worked with getting her back to sleep.

First day of nursery and in school uniform: grey trousers, white top, green cardigan

Little’s Friendships

Little is very social at home and always wants to play with someone (although she will play independently when encouraged). The bond between her and M is lovely at times and they have spent whole days playing together (that’s not to say they don’t spend their fair share of time winding each other up). Outside of home she doesn’t seem to have any close friends, but she apparently plays with many. She is very trusting and encourages adults (friends and family) to play with her when there are no other children.

Little lying on some soft floor mats next to her baby brother, they are holding hands and both smiling

Little and M hugging each other while wearing red tartan Christmas PJs

Little's Favourites

I just looked back at my update for Little a year ago and it’s funny how somethings change and some just don’t. I wrote “Favourite foods include: (dairy free) milk chocolate, ice cream, Yum Yums, Pepperami and strawberries.” Which is still the same, although due to economising we rarely buy Yum YumS or Pepperami’s now. She’s also a big fan of chocolate milkshake and chocolate cake, I think she was more excited by the chocolate cake on her birthday than her presents.

Little's favourite colour is blue although she sometimes claims it is green and she is open to other colours too. She loves superheroes (especially Batman) despite never having seen a film. Her favourite toy of the year has been her cuddly elephant and elephants are also her favourite animal. She loves to watch Paw Patrol and PJ masks, but she is pretty open to watching any TV, or random things she finds to watch on YouTube when she is allowed the iPad.

Little is at such a great age. She is so funny, kind and creative. I am looking forwards to the year ahead.

Little giving me a tight hug and squishing her face into mine

A babycino date after dance class with a blueberry muffin

No comments

Thanks for your comment (unless it's spam in which case, why?)