I think you know how I am going to start this out…I can’t believe Wallis is 4.5 years old!! How did this happen? The days really do move slowly but the years, mercy, they are heartbreaking. I keep seeing these things of parents looking back at when their kids were small and wishing they wanted to spend time with them like they use to, and it makes me terribly sad. I even found myself looking up different ages, so that I knew when my kids would stop wanting to be with me, ha but also 🙁
Andrew doesn’t think Wallis will ever stop wanting to be with us as she doesn’t leave our sides all day long, but I know that things will change and for some reason, 4.5 is a reminder that those things are coming a lot faster than I am ready. 5 is not old by any means but it is a start to another chapter, a chapter that will include school, friends, and much more independence then my heart can handle. This is when I am glad the girls are 4 years apart, because I’ll grab Loris and smother her in kisses when Wallis rejects mine (fingers crossed that isn’t until she’s 16).
Wallis is an absolutely brilliant and a tender hearted child! She is emotional, and expressive. She longs to be loud, but is often more comfortable being quiet. She thinks about everyone and remembers everything.
She still can’t handle any kids show where a child is doing something perceived as “wrong” and will often pretend to be asleep if one of the characters gets angry. She feels things so deeply, that it makes her uncomfortable and so she’ll either react to it by play falling asleep or she’ll say, “not this one mama, I don’t want to watch this one.” She once told me that watching Daniel Tiger upset her because Daniel was too angry. They create those episodes to show children that it is okay to be upset, but for a child that already understands that, it can actually be upsetting.
However, the other day I started crying because Pierre had an episode that was like a seizure and my love for him, and knowing we don’t have much time left with him bubbled over. Wallis came running over to me to give me a hug, she stayed there for awhile.
I know that her empathy is strong, and her desire to help, whether it is with the laundry, gardening, painting, tidying or even keeping Loris distracted, so I can make dinner runneth over and strengthens my own discord with early mornings and mundane never-ending tasks. She picks me flowers every time she’s out on a walk and gives me some of the most generous compliments I’ve ever heard accompanied by a big hug.
Wallis’ (currently) loves Cinnamon ice cream, especially when she can eat it at 8 am! She loves to pretend she’s a hummingbird named Hummy, or a super hero named Super Wallis! She loves rocket ships, pretending she’s camping in her tent, playing soccer, freeze tag or making “chocolate milk” out of mud and mulch in her outdoor kitchen.
She also has a great love for animals, something I too as a child had, and am so enjoying watching her love. If there’s a show about animals she will watch it over and over again and share all the facts she has learned with us. She will choose a show about Komodo dragons over a fairytale show any day. Her favorite shows are ones that talk about Wild Cats (preferably anything Cheetah or Jaguars) – and I think I know more about the mysterious giant squid battling a shark than any person should, ha!
However, what she still loves MOST OF ALL, is all things doctor related (I think we’re going on a solid 3 years of that now) and there are a lot of checkups and emergencies in our home. Thus for her 4.5 birthday (we always do something special for her half, since she shares a birthday with the biggest holiday ever) – was to create an outdoor hospital for her!! See pictures, she was thrilled!! Plus not being able to go to the park because of Covid, means we are home ALL DAY LONG, and need some reasons to be outside more.
She begs to play the guitar (we have a plan there) and loves to dance and sing. I sing a lot in our home, and the other day she asked me, “do you like my voice mama?” And it was a perfect moment to undo some hurt I had as a kid. I grew up with a musical mom, but she didn’t encourage me to be musical, she didn’t not encourage me, she just didn’t think of it, as I think she should have. I really needed her confidence there as I loved to sing – so I took my chance to give some to Wallis and to realize that it is easy to not want to push something (which I think was what my mom was trying not to do) but also, miss the chance to really boost a child’s confidence in something they need an extra boost in. Sometimes assuming we’ll get it wrong, blocks us from getting it right, and I needed that reminder.
She still loves to paint, but hasn’t been painting on paper as much lately, and instead has started to paint rocks. She loves riding her bike all over our neighborhood and finding rocks to bring back home, wash, and paint. I told my dad how I worried she was done painting on paper, and it made me sad, and he said, “painting rocks is still a form of painting” and that’s so true, her experimenting with different mediums is a big part of being artistic! I was getting caught up in the wrong thing, and now I feel joy when she’s painting them, instead of worry that I won’t get another beautiful painting from her.
Her love of books has remained strong, and I am not sure she’ll be able to “get over it” with how much I love buying books for her, ha! She continues to show a good amount of interest in reading, and has also continued reading the books to me that she has memorized, but now she also reads them to Loris. She also likes to spell the words, and sometimes writes the letters out, but writing isn’t as big of a draw for her right now. I am letting her take the lead here. I never understand the rush with kids reading and writing. Sometimes she’ll even say to me, “mama I don’t want to read with you tonight, you just read” and I’m glad. I have a fear of ruining this love for her by parenting the joy out of it. Parenting the joy out of something is seriously my biggest fear, ha!
Wallis refuses to eat until we are all sitting down to eat with her. She will say, “I’m waiting for mama” she is concerned that I too eat with everyone as I am always running around making the food. We are able to make this happen at least twice a day. I think it’s pretty remarkable that a 4 year old (that’s when it started) has the patience to not only wait to eat but ask her parents to make it happen. Who knew she’d be in charge of family dinners, ha! Hopefully the older Loris gets we’ll be less chaotic and more capable of all sitting for every meal.
Wallis continues to be the sibling of my dreams, I mean that, I use to dream about having a sibling like Wallis, ha! She adores Loris and loves to have her around. The more Loris learns to do is not always easy for Wallis, because I think she does feel threatened by it, worrying about what it’ll mean for her, if Loris can do them too…but she handles each moment with grace. She praises Loris and encourages her to keep going. I think she has learned that if she is upset by all these changes, she can put that on her parents, not on Loris and I am so grateful for it. I don’t know if it will last…but I am glad that she doesn’t look to Loris as her release for feelings she can’t control. I think it has opened up the space between them for genuine friendship instead of competition.
The other day, Wallis was having a bit of a meltdown at dinner, and I made the foolish mistake of pretending Loris was saying something to try to make Wallis laugh, and Wallis yelled at Loris. A second later she ran over to her, hugging her. Loris had no idea what was happening obviously, but that was clearly a moment where Wallis understood that it was my mistake, not Loris’ and wanted Loris to know that. I of course apologized to both of them for not reading the room, ha!
Every night I ask Wallis what her favorite part of the day was, and what her least favorite part of the day was. She loves it, and asks me too. But on a day that had been challenging where I had snapped at her a few times (and of course felt terrible about). When it came time for bedtime and to answer my least favorite, I said, not wanting to rehash the day, as I was worried I would make it feel bigger than it was (which she doesn’t like) I simply replied, “this headache I’ve had all day” and she thought about it, and then said, “I would have thought you would have said, using your angry voice with me” And though of course I felt awful, I was so elated that she said that to me. I had already apologized to her, but she was telling me she needed more from me in that moment.
As parents you work all day long, every day forming this life for and with your kids, and you hope that you are doing something right, but that was a moment – I felt like I had. To me, communication is emotional freedom, and if she learns anything, that is one of the most important things. We can do nothing sincerely without it, and so we sat there while I apologized, and talked about the day. She looked relieved and pleased with herself, as I was too.
Being 4 is the most magical difficult time because you feel everything so big and express it that way too. There are days where I truly do feel worn down by her resisting anything I have to say, but most of the days are pretty spectacular and I find myself wishing she could stay 4 forever.
Happy 4.5 years Wallis, you are a wise moon and a bright sun, I love you more and more and more and more, more than I think I possibly can, and then more.