Avery is 4

I am so proud of this kid. She’s the kid that other parents use as an example (“Avery’s eating with her fork, why can’t you?”) and she’s always the responsible one in the group. When we’re at the beach with her cousins and her cousins start running toward the water, Avery will shout out, “Stop! We’re not allowed to go in the water without a grown-up!” I don’t know how that rule abiding personality will pan out in her social group when she’s a teenager, but for now, I’m so thankful. I know she’s cautious and observant and I have to worry so much less than the parents of the kid who likes to bolt in the busy mall parking lot or the kid who likes to try shoving their fingers in outlets.

She’s cautious and observant, but she also knows how to throw caution to the wind. She’s willing to try new things. She’s brave. She’s getting more and more socially bold every day. At the cottage this summer she experienced so many firsts, all on her own accord without any pushing from us. She started swimming under water, and now dives in and out like a dolphin. She went on her first water tubing ride without flinching. She learned to stand-up-paddle-board. All of these activities were observed first, and then she took the reins and just DID IT like she was an old pro.

She can ride a bike like a maniac. She has a bike that we took the pedals off of to function as a strider/balance bike, and she lifts her feet up and zooms down hills with the wind in her hair, then skids to a stop like a stunt driver, kicking up dust and gravel.

She has had to deal with death and loss at a young age. Her cat, whom she loved more than anything in existence, died from sudden kidney failure in January of this year. She brought him to the vet with us and reassured him, and was upset that he would be scared when we had to leave him there overnight. When there was nothing the vets could do to save him, we had to explain that he died, and what it meant that he was dead. That has brought up a lot of followup conversations around death and dying, but she approaches it all with what I think is a healthy balance of sadness and curiosity. She cherishes the paw print we had made from her departed cat, and she tells people about him and how he died. She says she never wants to forget him. It’s heartbreaking, but also beautiful. The other night, while we cuddled at bedtime, she said this to me,

“When you and mo and grandma and everybody dies, I’m going to be all alone. But then I’ll have lots of babies and name them all your names and I’ll re-grow you.” We’re definitely entering an interesting age of existential thought…..

She’s so kind. She has been kind since the first specks of her personality were formed. She loves her family, she loves animals, she shows empathy for others, and she loves herself. She still kisses her own ouchies. She loves making cards for others, and she also makes them for herself, with little messages of love and only the most beautiful stickers 😉

She is really, really into gardening. This year she touched nearly every seed that went into our garden. She nurtured every plant, watering and weeding and identifying the beneficial insects from the pests. Every time we had to squish a bad caterpillar she’d say she was very, very sad for the butterfly mommy because we had to kill her baby 😳 but she knows we do what it takes to get our cauliflower and kale and that some insects are too much for natural competition and need to be controlled. She comes home from the babysitter’s and sometimes even before giving me a hug, heads out to the garden to do some picking before dinner. She admires the flowers and picks us a bouquet for the table every day. She prefers raw, fresh from the garden vegetables eaten IN the garden to anything I put on her plate.

She’s so smart. She is very close to reading, and wants that skill intensely. She’s a dedicated learner, and doesn’t get frustrated easily when the learning gets tough. She seems to like to challenge herself. She’s excited for kindergarten, despite the ridiculously stressful context of the global pandemic.

I can’t believe how lucky I am to be her mother.

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