Today Chloe Turns 4.
The babies have left the building. They are all grown up. Get ready for the driving test. Gotta get my tuxedo on for the wedding. And so on.
I feel old. When did my kids get so old? They walk, talk, and have attitudes (mostly good). They eat with utensils, drink from open cups, and don’t wear diapers. They go to school, have friends, and are interested in their own things.
And today is another reminder of the progression.
Chloe has had a pretty good year. There has been quiet a lot of change for her and while the small things give her trouble (“the blender is too loud”), the big things roll off her like water on a duck’s feathers.
As I’ve discussed before, Chloe has had stomach/digestion/constipation issues for essentially her whole life. There was a working theory that once we potty trained, gravity and the lack of the safety net would be a catalyst to helping her out. While my wife and I agreed not to rush her into using a toilet, we both were eager to find out what would happen once it happened. This was the year. The “cool” underwear was introduced, the stool (pun) to climb up on the toilet prepared. Victory. The stomach/digestion/constipation problems haven’t completely disappeared and we still have some less-than-ideal moments, but, for the most part, we are in the clear. Now that we’ve reached #4, we are no longer afraid of #2. Insert joke about how she was so proud the first time she pooped on the potty that she got all flushed.
A potential larger transition, with a potential life-long impact this year was when we figured out that Chloe needed glasses. We noticed that she had started to “cross” one of her eyes. Neither my wife nor I wear glasses so I don’t know a whole lot about it but we got an appointment with the eye doctor and found out she needed glasses.
Chloe is not a fan of attention in nearly the same way that Julianna is. Julianna is like the star of the play and Chloe is like the stage manager. She’s happier when people aren’t all “focused” on her and gets very shy and essentially shuts down when the spotlight lands on her.
Needless to say, getting her to put on the glasses and having to deal with all the “oh how cute” moments was tricky. Its difficult to explain how glasses work to a 3 year old and why she needs to have them on all the time. Its even more difficult for a 3 year old to explain to another 3 year old why she has to wear them. Similar to lots of other things that I over-estimate in my head, Chloe did a fantastic job. The first few days were a struggle anytime someone who hadn’t seen her in them saw her for the first time. The routine at school involved coming into school without them on and getting adjusted followed by the teachers putting them on 10-15 minutes after drop off. The idea was to avoid the big “splash” when we walked in the room. The teachers even went so far as to wear their own glasses (some wear contacts and some don’t wear at all) to make her feel comfortable. My wife even wore those magnifying glasses so she didn’t feel like she was alone. Ironically, 2 months later, we figured out that my wife now has to wear real glasses occasionally. I didn’t put on any so that Julianna didn’t feel left out. I frankly feel like I’d look pretty awesome if I wore glasses.
The long and short of it: She took to them quickly and looks super cool. They’ve become part of her personality and frankly make her a little different from many of her friends and I think that’s even cooler. FYI, at our 3 month checkup it was determined that they have been working and she sees perfectly when she is wearing them…the shapes projected on the wall at distance tell us that…and the fact that she doesn’t bump into walls.
Did I mention we moved in the middle of this? She went from having a very small bedroom with a crib (converted to a toddler bed) to having a larger room with a full size “big girl” bed. We weren’t sure how she was going to handle this. She’s a creature of habit, still likes having a lot of stuffed animals in bed with her, and her bedroom at the old house gave her a lot of comfort because of its size. Naturally I was wrong again. She loves her new room. She loves her new bed. The first time she slept in it was the first night in the new house. In the old house she never even used a blanket. She refused. In the new house, the first night she got under the blanket, put her head on a pillow, and went right to sleep.
Perhaps I’m projecting “babyhood” on her but in real life she’s just starting to grow up.
I’m no expert but potty training, starting to wear glasses, and moving are pretty big transition points for a 3 year old all in a short span of time.
The coming year will bring all sorts of new challenges. The largest, foreseeable one will be that it is the year when she isn’t in the same school as Julianna, who starts Kindergarten in the fall. They spend a ridiculous amount of time together. They actually really enjoy each other and it provides nearly endless unintentional comedy.
I don’t imagine transitions will ever be easy, for me, but each time I “project” that it will be difficult for Chloe, she ends up surprising me. Maybe she deserves more credit; after all, she’s a big girl now.
I’ll leave you with this conversation she and I had this afternoon:
“Chloe, do you feel different today now that you’re 4, compared to yesterday when you were 3?”
“How so? What feels different?”
“My body feels bigger.”
“Really? I wonder if your body will continue to get bigger forever or if there’s a time when your body stops getting bigger.”
“It stops getting bigger.”
“I don’t know.”
“Me neither. I guess we’ll see.”
Ok. Let’s see what happens next.
Happy Birthday Chloe.