Happy fourth birthday, Beatrix. I'm not sure you quite understand the concept of birthdays -- and specifically your own birthday -- but you definitely dig the singing and cake and candles at all the birthday parties you've been to.
You are a strong, beautiful, smart girl with an uninhibited -- and mostly joyful -- approach to just about everything. Playing airplanes, declaring yourself the line leader, burping, launching yourself into the pool, going on field trips, stating your disapproval with bath/bedtime/the consumption of beans... You still have your moments of shyness around strangers or in new situations (see: first dance class debacle), but those are becoming less frequent.
You love Dora (often rolling over in bed and asking in a sleep-husky voice, "I watch Dohrwa?" before saying anything else), trucks, airplanes, blocks, puzzles, and animals. Oh, and eating. Yogurt, cheese, pasta, quinoa (which for some inexplicable reason you call "raisins"), berries, cannAHlope (cantalope), watermelon... Your teachers are often amazed at the amount of food you consume for lunch. You think you like ice cream, but I'm not convinced you really do. More research needed, I think.
Playing ball is still one of your favorite things to do, and you're pretty darn good at dribbling, catching, throwing, and kicking. You're not bad with a bat and ball, either, even if the bat was a play broom and the ball was a Ni Hao Kai-Lan doll (Ni-Hao Ball, John called it).
If you came with a volume control, I haven't found it yet. I have no idea how so much sound can come from such a small human. In particular, playing airplanes apparently requires top volume the entire time you zoom your plane full of pigs, Dora, whales, and Little People around the house. (See? Pigs DO fly.)
You did come with an awesome sense of humor, though. You laugh often and I hear a lot of, "You funny, mama. You a silly goose!" Finally, someone who appreciates my humor. You love being silly or watching someone else be silly. Making funny faces, concocting spectacular crashes, putting Itchy Frog in weird poses, hearing we're eating elephants and spiders for dinner... all of these things make you giggle.
Trying to pry information out of you requires CIA-like skills. For example, the other night I asked you about your field trip to Phipp's Conservatory.
"Bea, what did you see on your field trip today?"
"I ride bus, in the back! With Rikki. See sidewalk."
"Really? The sidewalk. Did you see anything else?"
"What about maybe some flowers and butterflies?"
"I ride the bus. It fun!"
"Oh, I bet you saw some croccodiles and peanut butter, though."
"NO! That's SILLY! I see butterflies!"
In all fairness, you have gotten much better at sharing what you've done during the day and at answering questions, though we still have a hard time parsing some of what you say.
You can spell Bea (although sometimes you like to believe there are two Es and an H in there) and can recognize your full name when it's written down, either together or just first/last name. You know all your letters and their sounds, and we're starting to work on putting some of them together. You can count well, though you still refuse to acknowledge the existence of 14, 15, 16, and 17.
Itchy Frog is still your erstwhile companion, and you had no problem eating him on your birthday cake. Neither did anyone else, apparently. The kids lined up patiently as I cut your cake; "I'm waiting for a piece of Itchy Frog, please." "Me, too!" "Can I have the eyeball?"
Speaking of cake, we celebrating your birthday with the traditional donuts for breakfast. Since Liv is going to be at camp for her birthday, she had her birthday donut, too.
Later, we had the awesome Street People come for pizza, cake, and ice cream. You had so much fun sneaking into Liv's top bunk with the other little ones, eating something like 8 pieces of pizza, and running in a pack between the playroom and the yard. It makes my heart happy to see you having so much fun.
Happy fourth birthday, my sweet girl. I am so lucky that I get to be part of your life and watch you grow.