Happy Birthday Jooge!

Julia, you are four. FOUR! Such a fine, even number.

You are quite the girl these days. You want to do things right, play by the rules. What a change from the olden days of fits and fancy. You are an expert at puzzles, you write your name quite clearly, save the backwards J, you draw amazing faces, alternately scribbling or making designs. You love playing with the neighbor boys across the street and call to them from the window, telling them tales. They love you in return. When they see you are out to play with them(playing means riding your trike around and around or chasing or scheming, shoulders together on the lawn)
they yell, "JULIA!"

You have a grand imagination. We've been reading Little House on the Prairie and you were making a prairie in your room last night. You love "telling stories" too and this usually means particularly arranged items in and around your space, fun to see after the fact. You will on occasion read to your sister.

You are a strong body, running, moving tall, though you've only grown a few inches this year, which means you're evening out, leaving the off-the-charts tall for sister. You have developed allergies, causing your eyes to swell in the evenings that you've been out amongst the pollen. You sniff and itch and itch and sniff, poor thing. Your hair is long and you are getting better about letting mommy comb it into submission. You love to have braids too. You fall often, but less often than before.
Bruises line your shins and knees. You have chosen to wear no underwear when you sleep. You are great at bedtime, doing what you need to do and then settling in for some books.

You are full of questions when we read, and when we talked about the giraffe at the zoo dying you were especially interested to see it, wondering what it might look like. You got to see butterflies too, and since then have been looking for them in your surroundings, as though they might be sitting perched on a branch of a tree. You are completely unafraid of bugs, trapping spiders, roly poly bugs, ants, etc. with glee.

You can be SO SWEET to your sister, and love to teach her things. Lately you two have been playing a game where you're the mommy and you tuck your sister in and say, "Goodnight sweetie." I wish I could record moments like that in some sort of in-brain recording device. I can picture you now with your arm around her, telling her something like, "Sister likes ....." to try and convince her that she should like it too, or talking to her in the back seat of the car, about how she might die if she doesn't keep her seat belt on.

Today we went to a park to play and you were the ringleader, urging kids to come with you to get water, or go here to play. It was a snap for you to make new friends, yet sometimes new faces, especially of adults, throw you for a loop and make you need to be nearer to me. When a girl threw wet sand at you you said, "Don't throw sand at me. I don't like that." You love your Aunt Jen, your grandparents, your friends, your family. For awhile there you were talking a lot about how you never wanted me to die, or grandma to die. You told one grandma she was going to die before the other one because she was older.

You are such a big girl, we just recently went into the city on the Max just you and I to get Marbles for Maggie at Finnegans and then to eat at Pizza Schmizza. You loved it. You are very smart and very curious, asking why about most things. You remember everything and are still really good at figuring out where we are driving. You are still cautious about new foods, claiming you will eat them when you're six. Six seems to be the age you feel you will, blossom. You enjoy six year olds and hanging out with friend's older siblings who are six. Maybe this is why. I bought you a smock and you won't wear it because it's a dress.

You have been showering me with a new genre of love and appreciation, gentle kisses on my cheek while I take a nap, sweet smiles in my direction when we snuggle. You love your daddy and time with him. Today your feelings were hurt and you ran over and buried your face in my shorts and cried. You have beautiful robust emotions and I don't ever want you to change, even though mommy doesn't always know quite how to handle their intensity.

You love your Care Bear and your big rubbery dragon and dresses and when I tell you you're cute you say ,"No, I'm beautiful." At the library's story time you follow every story so well and now you join in the songs and smile big. You love digging up sand in the back yard and are very adept with the hose, aiming it at the right place, being the boss. When we're in the car you demand "your music" and feel quite content to sing and rock when it's on. (When mommy doesn't want to listen to it, well, there's a bit of hell to pay.) You love to play that you are getting married and have had a "fake ceremony" twice now with two different boys, Joshua and Tenne.

I am so proud of who you are and hope that I can always appreciate you just as you are because you are great and I am lucky lucky lucky to be your mom. I learn so much from you ever day and am endlessly endlessly in love with your tender kisses and sweet smiles, of your flexibility and strength and kindness and heart.
I love you so much Jooge! Welcome to four.


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