24 April 2014

Year 4X in review

her life, so far, in pictures
(birthday; 6 months)
(12 months; 18 months)
(2 years; 2.5 years)
(3 years; 3.5 years)
(4 years old with papa and mama)

weight: 16.2 kg (35.7 lbs)
height: 102.2 cm (3 ft 4 in)
head circumference: 50.8 cm (20 inches)
shoe size: 9 (US) or 26 (european)
clothing size: 4T/5T (US) or 98/104 (european)

favorite things: underwater animals, 'scary' things (monsters, aliens, bugs, dangerous animals, etc), collecting 'treasures' outside, bug collecting, singer satu sopanen

favorite foods: cheese, yogurt, viili, bread, pasta

food sensitivities remaining: soy, lactose, cinnamon (but she can handle small amounts of each, hooray!)

trips taken this year:
-tübingen, germany in april//may
-stuttgart, germany in may
-porvoo, finland in may
-tallinn, estonia in june
-halifax, canada in june/july
-washington, dc in july
-michigan in july
-haltia (in finland) in october
-copenhagen, denmark in october
-florida in january/february

favorite books: creepy crawlies, creepy creatures, know-it-alls sharks!oceans [3D-explorer], ocean [pledger], life-size sharks and other sea creatures, national geographic kids first big book of space, everyone poops, ellens lionthe jolly postman, tiny pie, the moustachapilla​r, the day the crayons quit, every thing on itcreepy carrotstheres something spooky in my attic, the BFG, the minpins, mischievous house monsters, troll wood

a typical weekday as a (now) 4 year old: wake up at 6:30/7a. walk to daycare by 8:30a. get picked up from daycare at 2p. play with mama until dinner. have dinner at 6p. play with papa. bedtime story with mama. asleep by 8/8:30p.

1. family day in the city. we had lunch at stockmann and X got to pick out a special treat from the bakery. she got an animal magazine from the bookstore. we also went to the sea life aquarium and she got to choose two sea animals from the gift shop (in addition to actually visiting the aquarium) as an early present.

2. actual birthday. she slept longer than normal, hooray! she was a little disgruntled at first to have us say 'happy birthday!' she said she was a bit nervous that her presents might not like her. she also wondered if she looked older. at daycare they sang to her and she got a birthday card to take home. then she spent the afternoon staring at her wrapped presents wondering when dave would come home so she could open them. i let her open one small thing from a friend of mine she hasnt met. also, to pass the time, she got inspired by the excitement and surprise of gifts to want to wrap some presents we had to send to american friends. she loved the challenge of wrapping herself, and was chattering away about her hopes that the gift recepients would be excited and that they 'wouldnt peek' at what was inside because of how she was wrapping it. then dave gave us the always wonderful gift of coming home early. she was able to open her gifts from some friends of mine, from us, and from my mom. then dave went to pick up her requested take-out pizza for dinner (though she had wanted it to arrive 'by the pizza van'). she chose ham and pineapple as her pizza and scarfed half the pie! then we had a store bought chocolate mousse cake for dessert and she was able to video chat with daves parents and sister in order to open her gifts from them. it was good to space the presents out like that and we ended up having a lovely day. she was grateful for every one of her gifts, gave them all try-outs and attention and we had a nice time being together and celebrating in the best way i can think of. i hope we can do it again next year. i thought she got a nice variety of presents, not heavy on toy-toys (more like books, open-ended play things, activities, etc), and nothing was too huge and monumental. everything was appreciated and nothing was too expensive. finally at age 4, we are starting to figure this out!

*side note: the day before her birthday she asked to see some of her presents that were wrapped so she could just touch them and wonder what was inside them. i hadnt wrapped our gifts yet so i pulled out the wrapped items friends/family from afar had sent her in the mail. for those who sent things, thank you. no matter how small the gift was she played with her little wrapped stack of gifts for more than an hour, just imagining and inventing things to do with them. and then we talked for another 30 minutes or so about how each package got to us and how letters and packages travel through the mail, so it was also educational. your thoughtfulness went further than you could probably imagine, and we are all thankful and lucky to have been the recipients of it.

 (digging in to the pizza; enjoying new birthday gifts)

3. shark birthday party. we did another small party this year and i think that was the right choice. X just doesnt gain anything from a large crowd and being the center of attention with even the 7 people around her singing happy birthday made her uncomfortable. plus, she is still learning the social aspects of entertaining more than one friend at a time. the two little girls we invited were actually established friends this year (last year we were lucky enough to have some friendly people with nice kids about the same age, but we hadnt yet really established any friendships or long standing playdates) and we had a lovely time. it was still an actual party so we decorated and there was all the excitement, but it was easy for us to manage and handle without feeling stressed or uncomfortable. i think this will be what we aim for again next year. and the shark theme went really well. it was fun to do the food again, and we have so much shark stuff that it was easy to decorate. we're thinking next year maybe a bug party...? too soon to tell of course.

(party food)

message to X:
thank goodness you are still young, so we can enjoy many more years of exploring with you. because of and with you we learned so much about our surrounding neighborhood, our new city and country, and about settling into a new way of life. we watched you take to the finnish language with gusto and it made us smile. you have a thirst for knowledge that we hope is never quenched. we have enjoyed our trips with you more and more because the things we try out and experience with you are things we likely wouldnt do if we didnt have a child. and while you certainly still know how to keep us on our parenting toes, we also realize how deep our understanding of life has become since you came into our lives. even though i am the more serious parent you have helped me to reconnect with the limitless adventures and fun that come with exploring through books and in being out in nature. so thank you for taking me along for the ride, even if im not as silly as your other loved ones. :)

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