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Tomorrow Emmie will be four.

I can’t even believe it. When I found out I had cancer in my third trimester, I was absolutely sure that I would not live to see her infancy, let alone toddlerhood and preschool-dom. I could not imagine the little baby inside of me, let alone the actual PERSON she would become. I knew in my heart that this little girl would never know her mama… and yet here I am!

As I’m sure know by now, Emmie is truly a special little girl. I swear it’s not just her super-proud mama and dada who think so. I’ve heard wonder and admiration from so many people about our little spitfire.

Who IS Emmie these days?

For one thing, she has recently become much, much more outgoing and confident. She strides with incredible purpose through the house, hellbent on her task. Her chin is lifted, her arms strong. She is ready to meet the world. No longer does she need to hold our hand or be carried in public. She runs ahead of us, sure of her course. She skips along, as walking is simply too mundane.

She is sassy and funny, but HATES when we laugh (even if we are only laughing because she is too adorable, precocious, or funny for belief). She constantly astonishes me with what she knows, questions she asks, and comments that show me how deeply she thinks about the world. In her observations, she makes connections that I would challenge adults to make.

Like most 4 year olds, she is brutally blunt. She is deeply loyal to a few close friends, and indifferent to those kids who are not her friends. She is astonished that a “good person” would ever try to be nice to bad people; she is a staunch pragmatist and sees the world exactly as it is, no idealism clouding her vision, no matter how we try to teach respect and love for ALL people. That said, her judgment of people is based solely on the content of their character and their actions toward her, with no regard to other superficial concerns. If you love her, she will love you back deeply and fiercely. If you take her toys, hurt her body or are not a good friend, she will waste no time in telling you exactly where to get off.

That said, she has become much more open to playing with non-school friends at home. Many of these are kids she has technically known her whole life, but due to schedules and circumstance might not play with more often than once or twice a year. Previously, she would have needed ample time to warm up, then played well, but then had a hard time saying goodbye. Sometimes sharing was simply impossible for her and many tears were shed when guests came to visit. Now, she runs off with her “new” playmates instantly, and they can play together with no adult interaction for blessedly long stretches. When it’s time to say goodbye, she gives hugs readily when in the mood, or high fives if not. She frequently talks of her cousins, her friends, and her many “uncles” and “aunts” (relatives or close friends). These people are deeply important to her and she loves every moment we can spend with them.

She never plays with toys, preferring instead to build elaborate forts, trains, cars, spaceships and other constructions with chairs, pillows and blankets. She also loves to play pretend, especially pretending to be dinosaurs, bears, or other scary creatures. She loves to draw, paint and color and honestly stays in the lines with both paint and coloring better than I do. She absolutely adores math, choosing number books from the library and literally asking me to do math problems with her at bedtime. She can do simple addition and subtraction with decent consistency fur numbers under 5-10, and knows all her letters and nearly all of the sounds. She loves to read and we can read dozens of books in a day, given enough material and ample time. She has even started helping me “read” some books, although the fact that she rarely likes repeating a book makes this a little more challenging.

Recently, she has become much braver and has been able to watch movies much more easily. Previously, she was so sensitive that even music in a minor key could scare her. Now her biggest trigger is things or characters falling or crashing, but barring those, she is able to handle many things that previously would have been too scary for her to see. It has been delightful because Peter and I love movies, so we have been able to share some of our favorite kid movies with her. Unlike books, she loves watching movies multiple times, to the point that we have had to renew some of our library movies for weeks at a time. I am incredibly proud of the fact that she is able to be talked through most upsetting things, and she is able to demonstrate remarkable self-control for a child her age.

She has become the craziest little ham, always ready with a silly face or a funny word. She loves to make goofy noises, especially with her tongue, do silly things with her hands near her face (imagine a crazy version of the Asian-tourist peace signs), and generally make normal looking pictures as difficult as possible.


Tonight is Emmie’s “Magic Night,” the night when she goes to sleep as a three-year-old and wakes up as a four-year-old! (Many thanks to Cortney, who gave me this idea). To “celebwate,” Emmie and I sang her favorite song together. I absolutely love this video because it perfectly captures my sweetest pea on the cusp of four. Words cannot begin to express how much I love her.