Dear Sabine: 4 Years Old
Dear Sabine, Dear Sabine..... Of my three kids, I have the most trouble buckling down to write about you. You have such a dynamic personality. Not to say your siblings don't, but there's just something...something...you change so fast from one minute to the next. I have an idea of how I'm going to start, but by the time I make it to the computer, the dominating force has become something completely new. I don't even know if that makes sense, or if it will even make sense to me five minute from now. Maybe it's your age, maybe it's because you're the middle child, maybe it's just You.
I've said a lot lately that you have a Jeckle & Hyde personality, and that is certainly true. You'll be this completely sweet creature, so loving and charming, a switch goes off, and you're a creature of another nature. I think maybe you take after Daddy with your moods. You each have two moods, one is preferable, and I have no idea how to access them. You look like me though. And I really like that. All you kids look a lot alike, but Jacob and Summer definitely resemble each other, while you are a mini-mommy.
At this point in time you have a favorite person in the world, and it is not me. That is crushing to me. It is Daddy. It's been like that for a long time, and I'm sure you guys will always have this special bond, but I remain hopeful that it's an age thing. I remember when Jacob was your age, there was a time period when he wanted very little to do with me. He outgrew it, and I don't remember much beyond that. So I hope you outgrow it someday and come back to me a little.
It's scary for me though, because you are, like I said, a middle child. I spent a lot of energy this past year (and even before Summer was born) feeling guilty about that. By watching you kids I can start to see just how the dynamic with my brother and sister was formed, and I can see that the way I react in certain situations is because of my experiences in my family of origin. I consider this a phenomenon of sorts.
I find it exciting and so very interesting that I get to watch your dynamics and relationships form, and through watching it, I gain so much insight into my own place in the family, and in the greater community. This is something that is really important to me, something I look forward to experiencing more in the future. I feel lucky that I've been able to bring this level of awareness to my parenting experience, because based on conversations with other parents I know, I don't think this is something very many of them have consciously voiced like that.
Up until this point in my post I haven't really written too much about you. I guess I find it easier to warm up by talking about the ways you have changed me. I used to read these posts back to myself before I wrote another one so that I could 'keep track' of things I've said or 'pick up' where I left off. I know better now though. I know I'll be more honest in my writing, and if things are unknowingly repeated then it will serve to emphasize that part of your being. See there I am writing about myself again.
Dear Sabine: You are a maelstrom of energy. Be it good or bad, your energy, your moods, your words come out loud and resonate long. You have a strong, stubborn spirit that gets you in to trouble in our house, but will serve you well in the world. You've always been maternal, like a little caretaker. I can remember saying that about you before Summer was born. You'd do little things for Jacob to take care of him, or look out for him. You'd report on what he was doing, maybe boss him a little bit, as if you weren't five years younger than him. Now you tell him you're going to put him in time out if he does such-and-such a thing to you!
All you kids are stubborn, just as me and my siblings are, but I have to say that as this point it's looking like you may be the most stubborn. If I have to discipline you in some way, say you have to sit in time out for a few minutes, when I go to get you out of there, you won't talk to me, you won't move, you just stay there on the step like that's where you wanted to be all along. Sometimes you'll be in a mood, and maybe we know what it is you want (but we need you to say it aloud), or maybe we don't know what it is, but if you don't feel like talking, then you're not making a peep. This is in stark contrast to your Other Mood, the one where you Don't Stop Talking For Anything. Or if we're eating dinner, and there's some kind of after-meal treat. Well if you don't want to eat any more of your food, there's no tempting you with ice cream or whatever. You just sit there watching everyone else enjoying it, and act like you never wanted it to begin with.
You do eat a ton of food. Mostly you eat a lot in the morning, and then you eat a 'second breakfast', and then you're hungry again before lunch. But then at dinner time we can hardly get you to eat a few bites. You're really skinny, to the point where Daddy and I are getting a little worried. But you are so, so active. You take gymnastics class all year long, and after about a six week pause for summer vacation, you've just started to tell me you really miss it and can't wait to go back. So we'll do a few classes in the remaining weeks of summer. You've watched a lot of the olympics with us these past couple weeks. We let you stay up late to watch the gymnastics because we think, you never know...
In the past few months you've started to express a strong liking for the color pink. I am not so happy about this. For maybe the past year we've been clashing over the clothes you wear. It's not that I don't like the things you wear, but I want you to wear all the clothes you have in your closest, and you would prefer to wear the same favorites day after day. This is just like your brother was and still is and I think to myself, "Again??" I would love to have a kid who just lets me dress them. And the accessories! You've always loved accessories. Currently you wear your watch, your soccer band and your silly bands. Sometimes you like to wear sunglasses, but not so much a hat lately. You used to always love to wear your John Deere baseball hat.
You can't wait to start playing soccer and t-ball. You're very good at mini-golf for a four year old. Pretty much any sport you play, we realize you're awesome at. You've got a six-pack of abs that I am so jealous of. You come up with the funniest things to say, without even trying to be funny. You really impress MamMa and Papa with the things you say. I don't have any great sound bites at my disposal right now...I'll have to think of some and put them in the comments section later.
You have certain routines and things you like to make sure to see when we're on the road. When Daddy leaves for work in the morning, you like to give him "A hug, a kiss and a high five." It's the only proper start to your day. In the car, you love to always spot horses. You've got to see some horses at some point on our ride. You coined the phrase Cars On Top for the big car carriers that we see headed to dealerships. OJ and yogurt are still your favorite drink and food, respectively.
Of all your favorite things, music is your favorite favorite thing. If you could, you'd have music on all day long. Thanks to Sabine, we all have every single current country song committed to memory. This was one of the first things I learned about you when you were a baby, that music calmed you, or just in general that you loved music.
At some point early this year, I developed the tantrum deposit box and placed it at the front door. For a while I'd say it worked, and for a bit we were without huge tantrums. Then the tantrums came back, and they last a long time and it really sucks. The only good thing I can say about the tantrums is that when you're not having one, I don't really think about them that much. And boy do I wish you could stop napping. You'd love to stop napping, I would really love to stop having you nap, but there's just no way we can get away from it on most days. Without a nap, that Other Mood comes around. The mood where everything turns to eggshells and everyone's main goal in life is to not step on one of Your Eggshells. It takes you between one and three hours for you to fall asleep for a nap, or to fall asleep for the night. Even when you're exhausted. When I have some spare time (ha) I will try to fix your sleeping problem.
For all your stubbornness and bravado, you are a little softy inside. There's lots of things that you're afraid of and lots of ways your a so sweet. Soon we'll be selling this house, the one that you kids were born into. I'm afraid you're not going to remember the place where all of your life up until this point has happened. That's a subject for another post.
A couple weeks ago I was laying next to you in bed, reflecting on the time gone by and thinking about the day you were born. My most clear memory of that day was when they handed you to me. I looked in your eyes and I thought, oh, I know you; you're the one I was waiting for all this time. I hope no matter how much times goes by, that I can still have those moments where I look in your eyes and know you belong to me. And I hope you know that I'll always wait for you.