So, now you are four. Four! So old, so young, so sweet and wonderful and gentle and kind and curious and infuriating and inquisitive and clever and creative and inventive and just such a marvelous person that I am frequently knocked back on my heels by the pure, sheer wonderment of you.
You are incredibly creative. You invent elaborate fantasy games that we play by the hour, day, week, month. You use stories you read or hear as a jumping off point, the Wizard of Oz books (we've read six or so already), princesses and fairies (of course), Angelina Ballerina. You also take your every day life of preschool and gymnastics classes and being forced to bathe regularly and weave them into your imaginary world. A large part of this imaginary world is the children you gestate, birth, raise, care for, and take with you wherever you go. The cast of characters is large and constantly changing to suit your current whims and needs. Your children sleep with you, eat dinner with you, taste the foods you firmly believe, total lack of evidence notwithstanding, that you do not like. They misbehave and go to time out, they go to high school and play with toys there. They do everything you do and a great many things you do not do and we have learned to just be congratulatory when you announce that you are pregnant and a new baby will be born tomorrow and it will be a seven year old girl named Ralama.
In the midst of your constant pretending, you are also constantly singing. Songs I taught you, songs you learn in school, songs you learned a year and a half ago in music class and still remember, and most often songs that you make up as you go to narrate your life and activities. You sing songs about getting dressed, going potty, hitting your brother, and the Big Bang. You sing in Spanish, and the fact that you only know about fifteen Spanish words does not limit you in the least.
Riding in the car with you would try the patience of a saint. With nothing else to do, you devote your considerable energies to an inquisition of any available adults. Everything is fodder for your searching mind. In the past week, we have covered how trees and plants grow, hybrid cars, environmentalism, how steel is like ice cream, why power lines are frequently placed in groups of three, where everyone else on the road might possibly be going and why, and a million other topics. Every response to any of your questions is greeted with the follow up "cause why?" I can't convince you that "why" is not always a logical question. "Mommy, what is that?" "A coffee shop." "Cause why?"
You have lately learned how to pretend read, usually something from the Brown Bear series, which you read by peeking ahead to see what the next animal is so you can fill in the blanks. You love reading to me, to Owen, and most especially to Payton. You also love to lecture younger kids on how to live a happy and fulfilling life, based on your vast four years of experience. If they give you half a chance, you'll impart your wisdom to much older kids too.
You are confident and brave and assertive, even if it often takes you a few minutes or a few tries to realize that in a new situation. In the past two months, you have gone from being afraid to so much as step into a wading pool to diving head first into the big pool and swimming laps (with a life jacket, of course). You plunge your head under water and float and try to do the backstroke and are desperately proud of each new accomplishment.
While you do sometimes seem a little shy, I don't think you are. You may behave in ways that people interpret as shyness, but when dropped into a pile of kids you have never seen before, you will have a six year old engaged in an elaborate game of your invention within minutes. You just prefer to do these things on your own, and the quickest way to shut you down is to give you an instruction and an audience. "Hey Mia, go introduce yourself to that little girl" is met with resistance, refusal, and pleas for help. "Go play, Bean" allows you to form a posse. A mermaid posse, usually.
You are incredibly vain about your "long, beautiful, curly hair" and will not entertain even the smallest of trims until, you claim, it is longer than your bottom. Since it is already creeping below your waist, we aren't far off from that day. You dress yourself every morning, working intently to form matching outfits that most often do not actually match, but they make you happy so we go with it. Your best friend ever in the while world is Carly, and I am convinced that as long as you had enough readily available food and drinks the two of you could take care of each other for days at a time and never notice the absence of adults. Your second great love is Rachel from your preschool class, who is unfortunately scheduled to move out of the country in the very near future. Sitting between those two girls at your recent birthday party eating a chocolate ice cream cone may have been the happiest you have ever been in your life.
I am trying to hard to capture you, the way you are right now, the ways in which I can see your personality, your self developing and taking shape and giving tiny hints of the person you will be next year and next decade, but there are just so many facets, so many amazing twists and turns and quirks that I know I can never even begin to describe you. Instead, one quick story. You received a pair of light up glass slippers for Christmas and almost immediately outgrew them. When I asked what you wanted for your birthday, a new pair that fit was the absolute top of your list. We got them for you, and when you opened the bag and pulled them out you exclaimed, which such a look of pure joy and glee, "My wish has come true!" You were so thrilled, so totally happy, and I burst into tears. It just seemed to embody how sweet and open and genuine and kind you are. And it made me want to dedicate every moment of my life to making your wishes come true.
Oh, Mia Bean. You are the most stunningly perfect thing I could ever even imagine. And as I try hard to tell you every single day, I will always love you, no matter what.
Happy Birthday. Many more.
Hugs and kisses and treats,