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I truly cannot fathom that Anna is 4. It boggles my mind to think that in the spring I’ll be registering her for kindergarten and next fall she’ll be off to big girl school with Maya. The thought of it just makes me teary eyed. In my mind she was only a baby like yesterday. I blinked and she is suddenly this full of life, opinionated, silly preschooler.

Height: 38.3 ins (20th percentile)

Weight: 31lbs (17th percentile)

When Anna entered this world on a hot July day in 2011 she was a tiny peanut weighing in at just over 6lbs, and she has stayed true to her tiny peanut status her whole life. As you can see from her stats above she is still pretty tiny. The doctor she’s on track to be about 5′ 2″ if she stays on this growth track. She’ll be our petit little girl always :)

I always find it hard to find just the right words to describe Anna. She is fun and silly and opinionated and yet she is sweet, shy and cuddly too. I always say she fits a giant sized personality into that tiny body of hers. There is never a dull moment with her around. She loves to make us laugh and entertain us. She also can spend hours quietly playing with her dolls or building with lego or working on her preschool skills in her much loved “learning books”. She doesn’t take a regular nap anymore but will fairly regularly take her blankie and find a quiet spot and just fall asleep. My favorite thing is to watch her playing with her dollhouse or with her “American Durl Doll”. Her imagination is amazing and it is so fun to watch the little scenarios she comes up with play out.

Being 4 she is of course very passionately opinionated, and isn’t afraid to make her needs and wants heard (at crazy loud volumes sometimes). I remember 4 being a big year for Maya, a lot of maturing and growing took place. It will be interesting to see what 4 brings for Anna.

Maya has started calling me “Mom”. Just mom, not mama or mommy, just mom. I don’t think I’m ready to be just “mom”. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned in my almost 4 years as a parent it’s that it isn’t about what I’m ready for, it’s all about what she is ready for.

When did she become a full blown kid?

I remember those early days of talking when I couldn’t wait for Maya to say “mama”, and then for her to say it and know she was referring to me. It was music to my ears. Then she made the transition to using “mommy” and I loved it, it made me feel so special to have this sweet little girl calling me “mommy”.

This transition to “mom” feels different. It feels like a reminder that she isn’t a baby or a toddler anymore, she is a kid. The other morning she came in the bathroom while I was having a shower and said “Hey, Mom, where’s Dad?” It was like a completely different child had walked into the bathroom. I was so used to having her say “Mommy, where is dada?” that I was taken aback for a moment. Who dropped this 13 year old off at my house and what did they do with my not quite 4 year old!

I think it is going to take a little getting used to, this new title of mine. In the meantime I’ll relish in those moments when “mommy” or “mama” still slip back into her vocabulary because I’m not ready to me just “mom” quite yet.

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When I think about the words I would use to describe my sweet little girl right now, at the age of 3 and a half (+), this picture captures them all. She is full of life, loves to joke and make people laugh, and has a smile that could light up any room and any heart.

It is hard to sum up all that is Maya right now, all the tiny parts that make up who she is. She is definitely a stubborn (very stubborn), independent 3 year old. She is opinionated and strong willed and can battle with the best of them to get what she wants. She is also full of life and giggles and has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met. She loves to entertain us by dancing and singing and doing things she finds funny. If she is doing something that she thinks deserves applause she will tell you to clap. If she is doing something that she finds funny she will tell you to laugh (even if she has done it a million times and it has long since lost its humor).

In a couple of months, a little less actually, she’ll be starting preschool. She is ready in so many ways for this next big adventure. I can’t wait to see what she learns, and how she grows from this new adventure. One of her favorite games to play right now is school. She sets up all her guys in her bedroom, which she calls her very special library, and declares herself the teacher. She teaches her guys new things and reads to them, it is adorable to watch.

But, before she starts school, an even bigger change is coming for Maya. She is about to become a big sister. Her little family, the family she has known her whole life is about to change. Her little world is about to be turned upside down. The transition will be made so much easier since she is so excited about becoming a big sister and really looking forward finally getting to meet her baby sister. I know there will be some struggles, but we’ll handle those as they come. She has so much to give as a big sister and will be an amazing big sister.

I love all the little parts that make up this sweet little girl, even the parts that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I’ve watched her change and grow and become who she is today over the last 3 plus years and I’m looking forward to continuing to watch her grow and change. She is one amazing little girl and I’m so glad I get to call her my daughter.

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Love you bunches sweet baby girl.

So far Maya is having a wonderful time here in Australia.  She is keeping busy.  She has loved all our little adventures so far and has a bunch of her toys with her to keep her occupied when we are just hanging out in the apartment.  Jetlag hit her pretty hard the first few days but she seems to have recovered nicely from that.  But, as much fun as she is having and as much as she likes it here, she seems to be a little bit homesick :(

The very first day we got here she told me she was going to pretend that the kitty neck pillow we got her for the plane was Lily (one of our cats) since the real Lily wasn’t in Australia with us.  Then, over the last few days, several times, she has talked about how much she misses the kitties and how she really wants to give them a both a big hug.  Yesterday, when we were hanging out on the balcony after her nap she told me one of the screws in the glass door was a magic button that would turn our Australia house into our green house (our house in St. Louis) and then she could go inside and find Lily and Laura. She searched every where and then asked why she couldn’t find them. Broke my heart.  Luckily, our house sitter emailed a couple of photos of the kitties the other day, that made Maya really happy.

Not only does she talk a lot about how much she misses our house and her kitties and the toys she left at home but she also talks a lot about her little friend, Claire, and how much she misses her.  Everyday she uses her toy phone to call Claire and tell her all about what we are doing.  Yesterday she called Claire’s mom, Heather, and told her that they should ride on an airplane and come stay at our Australia house (I love that she calls it that!).  We usually have a play date once a week with Heather and Claire so it is a big deal for her to go so long without seeing and playing with her friends.

Luckily, her little bout of homesickness hasn’t resulted in any crying, but it is heartbreaking to know how much she misses her kitties and her friends.  I’m sure she is just adjusting to all the changes and the difference in her environment, but it is still hard.  Hopefully by keeping her busy with lots of fun activities here and continuing to talk to her about what she is feeling the homesickness won’t get too bad.

There is nothing quite like living through the imagination of a child. Seeing the world through eyes that are not yet tainted with limitations.  Seeing a world where anything, truly anything, is possible.

Maya is full on into imagination mode.  And, I”m loving it.  The games and adventures she creates for herself everyday are priceless. Sometimes I find myself standing quietly in the dining room trying not to let her know I’m there just so I can peak through the doorway into the family room and just watch her imagination run wild.  Sometimes I sit down next to her and become part of the little world she has created.  The world outside seems like a brighter, nicer, more joyful place in those moments.

Some days she uses her imagination to create stories. She’ll either pick up one of her books and create a story to go along with the pictures or she’ll even pick up one of my novels, study the cover and then “read” through the pages and pages of no pictures creating a story as she goes along.  Some days it is endless parties, tea parties, birthday parties, any kind of party you can imagine. She’ll take her my little ponies, her princesses, her stuffed sesame street guys and arrange them all and then serve them tea or have them dance.  Some days she’ll pretend she is camping. Some days she’ll be all about families and she’ll create little families that have fun and take care of each other. She always tells me who is who.  Yesterday Eeyore was the daddy, her big Minnie Mouse was the mommy and her little Minnie Mouse was the Maya!

Every day is different when you use your imagination. Each morning when Maya wakes up and comes into the family room she enters a different imaginary world.  I love watching as the world unfolds and the days adventures begin.

3 year olds may be little people but they sure do have big imaginations.