Laura is so often a self-proclaimed Big Girl. She can do it herself. She deserves privileges that little kids don't get. She talks like a full-fledged adult, using huge words completely appropriately (including the word appropriate). So often she acts and speaks in such a mature manner... I completely forget how young a nearly four year old still is.
She's only not-quite four. She's barely three feet tall. Her recent growth spurt means she finally sized out of her 3T clothes (but her waist is still too tiny for most 4T pants). She is "instersted" in little girl games and books and imaginings. She throws a tantrum like the best of them (ahem, me).
She's only not-quite four. She doesn't understand poverty or crime. She asks soul-searching questions about God and death. She believes in Santa and doesn't understand why some people don't (which is why we haven't read The Polar Express yet, even though I love it). Her imaginary friends are as real to her as her brother, and in fact sit at the dinner table as part of the family.
I often forget how young four truly is. When she won't eat dinner, but still asks for a treat. When she cries over something seemingly meaningless. When she snatches toys from Gavin. I forget that she's still a little girl - and expect so much more from her behavior. I treat her like she's big. I yell and admonish and send her to her room...
All because I forget how little she is.
Maybe it's because she speaks with such a diverse vocabulary and inflection. Maybe it's because she can offer me advice on such a deep, mature level. Maybe it's because I have never really given her a chance to be little.
I have a challenge ahead. Laura is about to become the big sister to a second little brother. It's a big responsibility, being the oldest. Being the bossy big sister she loves to be. But I know I'll forget that she's been thrown into this role of oldest at so very young an age. I'll expect her to listen and behave and help and be the biggest... when really, she's still quite little. My challenge is to remember and respect the Big Little girl I love so much. To let her be BIG when she's ready, and to let her be LITTLE when she needs just one more hug.