I let Elsie call the shots as much as possible on her birthday. For breakfast she picked donuts, and we let her open a present. Pokemon cards started the day off right. After a couple of cartoons we dropped Thea off with Grammy and I surprised her with a trip to a local kids craft place. Naturally she chose to paint a kitty. I should mention, Elsie is so incredibly timid in new places without Ryann around. She wouldn't talk to the woman working at first, and it was a struggle to get her to pick something to craft. But after a while she warmed up, and walked out with 'Rainbow Sparkle Kitty' and two glitter tattoos. We picked up Grammy and Thea and headed to Chili's for lunch. Elsie ordered grilled cheese and corn on the cob with strawberry lemonade. The server brought her out a cup of ice cream and sang to her, but the second they set the ice cream in front of her she didn't give them a second glance. When we got back home Elsie and I baked brownies together. Grandma 'Nita came over, followed later by Grammy and Papa, and then she got to open presents. She requested Chinese food for dinner, capped off by ice cream, a brownie and the last Pikachu cookie from her birthday party. She went to bed a happy girl!
At her four year well check Elsie weighed in at 38 pounds (75th percentile), and was 41.75 inches tall (88th percentile). She continues to be on the tall side of things for now. She is wearing mostly 4T clothes, but can easily pull off the big girls XS as well as 5T tops and pajamas. Seriously stuff pretty much goes from Ryann's closet straight into Elsie's, despite their three year age gap. She seems to be growing out of her size 9 shoes, and can definitely keep 10's on her feet.
Elsie goes to bed anywhere between 8pm-9pm. Yikes. We started to have so many fights about bedtime, that we said she could stay up in her room by herself for however long she wanted, as long as she got herself tucked into bed. There have been a few nights that I realize it is close to 9:30 before I go encourage her towards her bed. As long as she gets a little alone time she doesn't really fight bedtime too much, unless she is working on coloring or drawing a picture.
Right after her birthday I asked her a few questions, and here are the responses:
What is your full name? Elsie! Elsie Junior. Junior Shades. (what?!?)
How old are you? 4!
When is your birthday? I don't know, tomorrow? It already happened.
What is your favorite color? Red. I mean, all the colors of the rainbow.
What is your favorite animal? A kitty and a puppy.
What is your favorite breakfast? Chocolate waffles.
What is your favorite lunch? Fruit cups.
What is your favorite dinner? Chicken nuggets. And Chinese rice! It's my favorite too.
What is your favorite sweet treat? Popsicles.
What is your favorite movie? Moana.
What is your favorite TV Show? Paw Patrol.
What do you like to do outside? Swing.
Who is your best friend? Harper! And Charlee! And Quinn!
What do you like to wear? A shirt. My kitty shirt! The one we got at Walmart.
What is your favorite toy to play with? Playmobils.
What do you like better, dance, gymnastics or soccer? Soccer!
Why soccer? Because I get to kick a ball and I like balls!
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mommy like you!
I had to go back and read Elsie's 3 year post for good measure, and it sounds like not all that much has changed. Haha, she still loves kitties and pink and red, idolizes Ryann while also trying to drive Ryann absolutely mad, is like a sour patch kid in that first she is sweet, but then oh man, she can be so sour!! Really, I won't go into too much for her own privacy, but when she decides she isn't going to listen... Oy. We don't have any bathroom issues anymore, so at least that has changed, thank goodness.
Despite her short fuse, Elsie really can be the absolute sweetest. So many times a day she is talking to me, jabbering about this or that, and sometimes I'm only half listening. And then she'll say, "Mommy. MOMMY!" "What Elsie?" "I love you." It still stops me in my tracks on the regular. And she really tries to be so sweet with Thea 80% of the time. "Come on Fee-uh! Come play wif me! You're my buddy. We're sisters forever." Or things like, "Great job Fee-uh, you're such a big girl!" I love it so much. Sure they fight like crazy. But they really are starting to become pretty good little buddies. And absolute partners in crime!
Elsie is turning into quite the little artist. Following in Ryann's footsteps of course. Ry and her spent a lot of time watching drawing tutorials on youtube, and now Elsie can rock almost anything I ask her to draw. Especially Pikachu. Both girls became obsessed with Pokemon last fall after Chris showed them one of the old school cartoon episodes, and Elsie is quite smitten with Pikachu. Her love is so deep that we had to have a Pokemon birthday party, but more on that another day. Oh and at her preschool parent/teacher conference they told me that the other children have noticed her ability to draw, and will sometimes ask her to drawn them something that they can then color in. Is that not the cutest?
a recent self portrait
Academically-ish speaking, Elsie knows all her colors, shapes, and count pretty high, can recognize all the letters of the alphabet (except sometimes she confuses C and S), things of that nature. She knows the sounds that all the letters make. Occasionally I have her watch the sight word DVDs that Ryann used to watch, and I know she has picked up some words, but doesn't seem to apply it all that much outside of the DVDs. She can also write almost all the capital letters of the alphabet. She can also spell her and Ryann's first names and write them. As lots of children do, she regularly writes things backwards. But what is a little crazy is that she usually mirror images everything. It isn't just a letter here or there that is backwards, it is all of them written as a perfect mirror image. Maybe a left handed thing? Who knows. If I remind her to start on the correct side of the paper she writes them regularly. It is interesting.
We've had a speech therapist coming to our house once a week since October. Initially they worked on s blends and Elsie picked those up rather quickly, with little instruction. In the last six weeks or so, they've gotten into the really difficult sounds for her, the K and the G. Especially an s blend with a K sound, tough stuff! The term they used for Elsie's, delay I guess?, is fronting. She doesn't properly use the back of her tongue when trying to make the noises. So currently we're making a ton of hacking sounds whenever there is a 'cuh' noise. Lol. But she definitely seems to be improving. There have a been a few occasions that she has made the K noise all on her own in conversation and it always catches me off guard/is pretty exciting. I will be surprised though, if she graduates from speech by the end of her year in October. It is still a ways off, but I think they're shooting for something like 85% accuracy, and that just sounds so hard for my sweet girl!
Speech therapy has absolutely nothing to do with her vocabulary. Elsie uses so many words and phrases and is talking pretty much all the time. It is so fun. Let's see, recently she told Thea "Don't panic! I've gotcha!" One day she dropped a pencil sharpener into the trash while trying to sharpen something. Her immediate reaction was "Oh shoot!" followed by "oh gosh. It went way down there. I can't find it. Ey yi yi!" And this was a while back but I don't think I've share it on the blog. One time Elsie was trying to say the word 'crystal', but I could not for the life of me understand her. She started describing it as "a shiny rock that is kind of clear that can make a rainbow if you shine light through it." I was definitely impressed with her ability to come up with that description!
Some of my favorite phrases though, are her little self affirmation ones. We've been working on riding a bike with training wheels, and while she is pedaling she'll say "If I try hard I can do this! I'm not giving up! I can do it!" I love it. You go girl. You can do anything if you try hard.
Other random things about miss Elsie... she is our little foodie. She loves to eat and she loves to help in the kitchen. For the most part she'll try anything and likes lots of different foods. She also loves to tell secrets. She grabs you by the face and tickle whispers in your ear something you probably can't understand. Cracks me up every time. She is still absolutely fabulous at pretend play and can entertain herself for long periods of time in her room. She also loves building with duplos and shapemags. She enjoys dressing up her American Girl Doll, but also swipes Thea's bitty baby a lot to play with her. She love love LOVES to 'craft'. Especially if I sit with her and do whatever she tells me. Typical. Despite being completely crazy and rambunctious at home, in a class setting (school, gymnastics, dance) Elsie can be very quiet and generally follows rules rather well.
My Elsie girl, I love her, she drives me crazy, and I'm so happy I get to be her mommy. Can't believe you're four girlfriend!