This post is sponsored by Lost My Name
Today, Ani turned four.
Her favorite game for the last many months has been when I say, “You can’t turn four! You have to stay a little girl. How about you turn two instead?” She’ll laugh her head off and request this line of discussion over and over again.
She’s the little night owl in our family, and routinely stays up in her room playing or singing songs for an hour or two after we put the girls to bed. She’ll usually come out a time or two for no reason and I’ll have to make up a reason for her (“Did you need one last hug?”), or she’ll just stand there forever.
While Ella wakes up if you breathe too loudly in her direction, Ani sleeps like a rock. I can vacuum in her room, sort through books, or tidy up her room after she’s fallen asleep, and she won’t twitch an eyelid.
This fall, we joined a preschool co-op and she LIVES for those days. It’s been great for her to have a couple of hours away from Ella with her own friends, and I love hearing her reports about what they’ve done or showing off the crafts they made. I was deeply hesitant about the time commitment, but teaching every 6 weeks has been completely worth how much she loves it, and she’s really connected with one of the little girls in the group and watching them play together is the most darling thing I’ve ever seen.
She’s super good-natured 95% of the time, but when something makes her mad, she’s MAD and it’s basically impossible to talk her out of a tantrum. She and Ella definitely know how to push each other’s buttons, but when they get along, it’s just so sweet. The other night, they wanted to sleep together in Bart’s office/guest room and we could hear them giggling down there for nearly an hour (after which they both decided they liked their own beds better and went off to their individual rooms for the night).
We’ve tried to focus more this year on having some one-on-one time with the girls, and Bart and I have both commented on how different Ani is when she’s by herself with one of us. She’s super chatty, extra affectionate, and just such a little delight to take along, plus she’s always so happy to be having a date with one of us.
My mom asked recently what Ani might like for her birthday, and I told her, “Honestly, she’ll be happy with anything. She’s so easy to make happy.”
She also LOVES books, and nothing warms my heart like walking by her room and seeing her on her bed with a book propped up against her knees.
She’s not remotely close to reading (she doesn’t even quite know all her letters yet), but she will carefully look at every page and is amazingly good at figuring out what the basic storyline is based on the illustrations.
Also, because her real name starts with S, this is by far her favorite letter, and she’s always pointing it out when she sees it anywhere.
One of the gifts we gave her for her birthday was this fun book, Lost My Name, from this nifty start-up that makes personalized books with your child’s name woven throughout the storyline and illustrations (they also make books where you travel through space looking for your house and it uses a Google Maps photo of your neighborhood, which is pretty awesome).
You can customize the book for your child in about five minutes, and it makes for a really fun, unique gift. I think especially with so many sisters, my girls are particularly thrilled by anything that’s personalized to them, so this was a major hit.
We also got the alphabet poster to hang in her room (and maybe help her learn the last few letters that she hasn’t picked up yet), and I love the pretty colors it comes in, as well as the cute illustrations.
I mentioned last year on her birthday that she was obsessed with her pacis and we’d probably let her keep them another six months or so, but just a few days after her third birthday, her beloved one broke and she tossed it in the garbage without a second glance. She’d never liked actually putting the other ones in her mouth, so after a couple of days, she threw those away too.
Now, her most beloved sleep item is a pink blanket with a dog print on it that a friend made for Ella when she was born. The “dog blanket” is constantly getting dragged around and she always asks for it when she’s sad or tired (you can see it folded at the bottom of her bed in some of these photos).
She’s a super helper and enjoys vacuuming, cleaning the mirrors, and watering the plants. But ask her to put away toys and you might as well ask her to climb Mount Everest.
This afternoon, we’ll have a little gingerbread house party with some of her friends, we bought a super sugary cereal for her breakfast this morning, and we had our traditional birthday week dinner at Grimaldi’s earlier in the week. I love celebrating their birthdays and letting them know how much I love them, just for being them.
Happy birthday, little monkey.