Our girl turned 4 this past August and, like most birthdays of hers, I have been observing a shift to a new season of childhood and a newfound assurance in who she is. Do any other parents out there experience this? I hesitate to use the word confidence because it doesn't quite fit, but it is like with each new season comes a new development of self-confidence. Like in their little hearts and minds, something locks into place and they realize, "Oh, THIS is who I am."
I really do love this stage that we are in. The tantrums really peaked when she turned 3, but this year, we talk through conflict and stubbornness, sassy behaviour and bad attitudes. The tantrums are, for the most part, a distant memory and in its place is the day-to-day task of verbalizing and processing little-kid-feelings. Like, "What is the proper response to my baby brother who is all up in my grill when I am clearly constructing a cathedral that will rival the Sistine Chapel? What do I do when I am not included in the neighbourhood girl group? How do I make new friends at school? How do I behave in a group, when I just want to be alone?" This, my friends is the nitty gritty of what it means to parent a 4 year old. New challenges? Definitely. But I love the new maturity, independence, and creativity of this stage. We actually talk. There is far less of the monotonous repetition of toddlerhood and more conversation. What a delight it is to learn more about who my daughter really is - and how appropriate that her self-discovery often leads to a new self-discovery of my own.