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June 4, 2017

Iris is Four

The most remarkable thing about Iris turning four (tomorrow!) is that she will be the same age that Harriet was when Iris was born. A crazy milestone, first that we’ve never had a four-year-old without a newborn, so this is a new kind of unencumbrance. And also how strange it is that we thought Harriet was so old at the age of four, whereas Iris will forever be the baby, never mind all the incredible things she does—writing her letters, knowing her numbers, drawing pictures, making up songs, and all kinds of other things her sister didn’t do at the same age. When Harriet went to kindergarten, I recall being mildly troubled because she never drew, never mind all the crayons and paper we had around the house, and how she was only interesting in using her scissors to cut the paper into little tiny pieces, and I wondered if she was drawing delayed…all of which is to say that I have always been a bit neurotic. But still, Iris will head off to kindergarten with all kinds of skills already and she’s going to learn more. We’re currently reading Ramona The Pest in order to get kindergarten-going top-of-mind and she keeps waiting for the moment when she’ll finally learn to read and write, and I’ve got a feeling that for Iris it’s not so long in coming.

These little check-ins with the people my children are are more precious than I ever realize when I write them, which I only ever realize when I go back and read them, like this one from last March. Harriet is fairly familiar, but Iris has been eleveneen people since then. And so it’s useful to sit down and note the particulars of this moment, of Iris at four. Iris, who gets a bad rap as our family mischief maker (and I have a distinct memory of cleaning crayon off the wall this morning) but who might deserve more credit than we give her—her teacher has wonderful things to say about her as a student, a leader, and a friend. She is well-liked by her classmates and they fight over who gets to sit next to her at snack time, which is good because at our house that’s kind of the booby prize. But see, I’m doing it again. Iris is notorious. She has the most curious facial expressions, and verbal expressions. She is the opposite of sugar and spice and all things nice, although she can be really nice. She gives incredible hugs and is not so big that she doesn’t like sitting on people. At Harriet’s swim class she sits on my lap and I hold her, smelling her hair, reading a magazine together, and I’m thinking it’s not going to be much longer before I never hold anybody like this again.

She loves pink and purple, and Taylor Swift. She likes to dance and do whatever her sister is doing, although she always wants to play the  game longer than anyone else does. She sleeps in her own bed now, in the room she shares with her sister and on the best mornings we come downstairs and hear them in there talking together. She talks about poo all the time, so much so that it’s not remotely funny, but she’s amusing herself. She likes hotdogs, but not the bun, and spaghetti, but not the sauce, and pizza, but only disassembled, plain dough and a pile of grated cheese. She can make games out of anything—a pile of pebbles, some pencils, Thomas the Tank Engine Trains and the game is always that one is the daddy, the other is the mommy, and the third pebble/pencil/tank engine is the baby. She can sing the alphabet, but only up to TUV and then she skips the rest. Recently she’s been telling us all over and again how boy tigers have hair and girl tigers have no hair, we don’t feel the need to correct her, re. manes and lions. She likes to make presents for Harriet. She’s partial to walking around the house muttering “for god’s sake,” apropos of nothing. She likes to help with baking, and she really is helpful. She climbs up on everything, and it’s kind of terrifying, so we close our eyes and/or look the other way. She’s the most physically coordinated member of our family, although that’s not saying much. But still. We love her. She’s awesome. Our funny looking baby who spent her early days resembling a dinosaur, and now she’s living proof that all of us and she herself have come a long long way.

3 thoughts on “Iris is Four”

  1. Kate Bowie says:

    What a beautiful love note…

  2. Sarah says:

    So lovely. And, yes, sometimes we do only realise how much things have changed when we look back–I find it disconcerting how days that were once so familiar, were indeed once our everyday, can vanish from memory like that. Here’s to keeping notes! And a very happy birthday to the irrepressibly wonderful Iris!

  3. melanie says:

    I love this so much. I should start writing love notes to my children too. Iris is so wonderful.

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