My daughter Sophie is 4 in September. This post is about some of the things she is doing at the moment.
She loves to play with small animals, particularly with me. She loves to pretend being an animal, or the owner of an animal. The animal can be a toy, or her, or me. She likes play many variants of 'pets and owners'. She gives me an animal, takes one herself, put them under our jumpers. and give birth to baby animals on the sofa.
We take animals to the vet (me or her) and put plasters on them. She likes putting on puppet shows. The toys come to watch.
She likes the (real) cat, but the cat is not so sure about her. She is learning how to be gentle.
We are moving soon, from Westray to England. She talks of this as "moving to a new island". She has started playing a game that involves me and her living on different islands (rooms of the house) and visiting each other.
She loves to dance, to run about, to race (although not so much recently). She has mastered jumping, which took a couple of years of work. She loves the play park. She is a great climber. She does not like the swings. She likes being swung and spun around though.
A couple of weeks ago, she decided she was going to swim around the pool on her own.
She is learning language. She is currently working on the past tense, she says things like "go-ed".
She is learning to read. She reads words and splits them up into letter sounds while tracing a word with her finger, but without really knowing yet which letter is doing what, apart from S which is the first letter of her name.
A similar thing happened with numbers. She would recite number names in sequence (and out of sequence). She can count a set of things, not always reliably. When she gets to ten, the next number could be anything. Sometimes "eighty-nine", or "forty-ninety".
She is gradually learning to recognise numerals, and is saying things like "two and three make five," at appropriate times. She knows that a diamond is called a rhombus. I told her once, and she retained it. She retains some things incredibly clearly, after only one encounter. She recognises triangles, squares, circles.
At the same time, she is learning to write. She writes individual marks and zig-zags: notes, lists, posters on doors. She was into making maps a few weeks ago, and has written "x marks the spot" on some of our pictures hanging on the walls. Sometimes I write dotted letters for her to trace over, which she does for a short time. She is practising holding a pen, and I have showed her that resting part of your hand on the table helps with stability.
She loves stories, she likes ones that have flaps to lift up. She likes music and story CDs in the car. I look in the mirror, she is singing along and bobbing about.
She loves sellotape, and glue, and stickers. She likes making stuff out of bits and bobs. She enjoys making things out of aqua-beads.
She sometimes does colouring, but quickly moves on to something else, as with painting. She mainly draws people (family, friends) and animals.
She plays with Cuisenaire rods sometimes, usually using them as pieces of food for her animals, but sometimes making pictures out of them. She also made pictures using elastic bands on geo-boards when there was one on the table to play with.
She is learning to brush her teeth. I read somewhere that parents must always brush children's teeth, but she is getting good at it. There was a time a while ago when she didn't want to brush her teeth, but we explained that it was a good idea, and after a week or so she decided to do it herself.
She hates having her hair washed or cut. Her fringe is coming over her eyes. I ask if she wants me to cut it and she says no. I am not going to cut her fringe until she says I can, because it's her fringe.
She says please and thank you spontaneously sometimes, and other times she makes demands. Me and my partner disagree on whether we should make her say please or thank you; I don't think we need to, she does it when she wants to.
She loves "family cuddles". She is funny, silly, caring, sensitive. She often recognises when others are feeling sad, and sometimes tries to make them feel better.
She knows what she needs, she is a master of self-expression. She doesn't like to be ignored.
She likes watching TV, but prefers to play. She loves to play with her mum and dad. She loves playing with her friends, and is learning how to be with others. She loves school.
She usually wants to play with someone, although there is a limit to how long she can play before things get a bit tetchy. She sometimes plays on her own, creating dialogues between animals.
Here she comes. Time to go!