Isla is now four years old. She is a big girl now, and can do so many big girl things. She can dress herself including snaps, buttons and zippers. Most mornings, I send her upstairs after breakfast, and she picks out her own clothes and puts them on herself. She still needs to be told which foot her shoes go on, and needs the zipper on her jackets threaded for her, before she can pull it up.
She mostly goes to the bathroom by herself, which was something I thought she would never do, and she washes her hands independently. She still needs us to bathe her at night, and Mike and I constantly ask each other, when do kids start doing this on their own.
She eats most foods now, but definitely prefers fruit, carbohydrates, dairy products and sweets. However, she will eat many vegetables and meats, as long as they are not too strongly seasoned.
She can write her own name, though she often writes the letter S backwards, and can trace the rest of the letters of the alphabet. She is an amazing reader. She is currently reading the last book in the series of Bob Books. She know the sounds of all the letters, is very good at blending, and knows a number of the phonics rules, such as silent e, the sound sh makes, etc. She has an amazing memory, in that if she has seen a word once, she can read it from then on. I need to get her a phonics program, to solidify all the phonics rules, because, while she is reading phonetically, the Bob Books don't provide the phonics rules in an organized way that ensures mastery of them all.
She can count to 20, if someone prompts her to say 13 after 12. Without prompting, she leaves out 13, 15, 16, and 17, counting 12, 14, 18, 19, 20. She can do simple addition and subtraction on her fingers when given scenarios such as, 'if you have 3 grapes and I give you 2 more, how many will you have".
We are still having a lot of issues with whining and crying. I don't know how typical this is for a four year old, but Isla still whines and cries a bit. Mike and I are trying to instill a zero tolerance policy on this, in which if she starts to whine or cry, she immediately goes to her room and doesn't come out until she has calmed down. This seems to help, but hasn't stopped the behaviors completely.
She still has some speech issues, and is getting evaluated for speech therapy next month. She uses speech appropriately and displays complex sentence structures and all. She just continues to struggle to pronounce certain sounds. The most glaring example of this is that she says "stirsty" instead of "thirsty" and "da" instead of "the". It can make it difficult at times to understand her, and she gets very frustrated when we cannot understand her.
She is very excited about the coming baby. She calls the baby "TV watcher" and gets very excited when talking about the baby's arrival. The other day, Mike brought Isla and Joe out to the van while I was busy switching around the car seats to make room for the infant seat. Isla climbed into the back seat, which is the new home of her car seat, and shouted joyfully "This is fantastic!".
She and Joe play together more and more. She likes to run around the house with him, and sometimes plays a game where she copies what he is doing, which he thinks is hilarious. We are still working with her on sharing. Sometimes, she shares beautifully, but most of the time, she screams and cries if Joe goes near her stuff or her room. She has developed a maddening habit of laughing like a hyena when Joe does something naughty, such as spitting his milk onto his tray at dinner, which is the strongest reinforcement Joe could receive. She does try to teach him stuff as well. She shows him how to go potty, cheers for him when he uses the potty, tries to get him to say new words and tries to get him to try new foods.
She is a complete girly-girl. She loves ballet, ponies, her baby dolls, kitties and puppies, her doll house, and anything pink or purple. She loves her ballet class, and practices her ballet constantly. She is getting much more social with the other girls in the class, but is starting to have problems with both copying other girls who are misbehaving or encouraging other girls to do things they are not supposed to.
She is getting much less cautious and fearful. She used to have huge meltdowns if Mike and I left the room when she was watching TV, because she was terrified something scary would come on and she didn't know how to turn off the TV. This behavior has pretty much disappeared. She is more outgoing in social situations and more comfortable talking to other children and adults. She is starting to swing on swings, an activity that used to terrify her.
She can ride a tricycle, and loves to go for rides with my father, who is her very best favorite friend. She absolutely adores him. The other day, she was riding in the car on the way to my parents' house and she called up to me from the back seat, "Geekin is my very best favorite friend. Thank you God for my Geekin." I think he is pretty fond of her, too.
Today my mother and I took both the kids to the mall so that I could buy something for the new baby. On the way back to the car, Isla was holding my mom's hand and skipping in her cute little skirt and pretty pink shoes. On the way into the mall, she told my mom that she was practicing skipping because you never know when you are going to need to skip. Anyway, she was skipping along, and her hair was bouncing up and down as she went, and all I could think was how lucky I was to have such a joyful little girl in my life.