So first things first, I feel it’s important that I inform you that nobody knows as much as a four year old. If only we could all hold onto the sheer amount of knowledge that a four year old displays, imagine how much smarter we’d be as a population. The things we could do – it’d be amazing! And nobody would ever have to tell anybody anything, or teach them anything, because we’d all already know.
“I know that,” is one of the phrases we hear most often around these parts. Amelie will even say it mere seconds after we’ve explained something that she has asked about. She also enjoys correcting us when we say or do something wrong (even if it’s only wrong from her perspective). She loves to know things, and she loves to tell us things, and she loves, loves, loves to learn. At the age of four, she is intensely curious about – well, pretty much anything you can name. It means we often get questions that seem totally out of the blue for us, but that she might have been pondering for days, after learning something at preschool, or hearing one of us talk about it, or seeing it in a story. It’s super cool.
In terms of where most of her knowledge lies, I have to be honest and say that at the moment, it seems to be about 85% Frozen, 5% dinosaurs, 8% space, and 2% Winnie the Pooh. Amelie has seen Frozen exactly once (yes, that’s right, one time only) and she’s never seen any of the sequels. That doesn’t stop her spouting Frozen facts pretty much constantly. As far as I can make out, she and a group of children at her school just talk about Frozen incessantly, and she picks up most of her knowledge there. It’s as if they’re gossiping about people they know. They don’t even really talk about Frozen as a movie; instead they just refer super casually to Anna and Elsa, like they’re all old friends just hanging out regularly. It’s hilarious.
I say as far as I can make out, because one of the funny things about having a four year old is that they start to build their own secret world. Amelie tells us some of what goes on at school, but we’re well aware that we’re not privy to everything. She also sometimes sits on things for a while, working them out on her own before she decides whether to talk to us about them or not (as witnessed with the recent mean girls episode). I’m sure there’s lots she chooses not to tell us, after she mulls it over in her mind. It’s kind of scary actually! Every day over dinner, Hayden and I ask her what she learned, who she played with, what the best part of her day was, and what they ate for lunch. We don’t always get fulsome answers, or even any answer beyond a shrug and a ‘don’t know’ but I’m hoping that asking these sorts of little questions means she’ll keep talking to us as she grows older, and that even when she chooses not to, she’ll still know we care.
Most of her time is spent with us or at school still, but she has started to go to friends’ houses for playdates, and has also spent more time away from us since she was four than ever before, with occasional sleepovers at her grandparents’. She is looking forward to ‘big school’ so much! She’s been begging for school visits since before she even turned four, and it’s only getting more intense as the time nears. Amelie loves spelling, reading (she knows some words and is starting to really impress us with how she sounds out words she doesn’t know!) and maths. She is just absolutely desperate to learn. I think she’s really going to thrive when she goes to primary school.
Despite all those smarts, she’s got a good solid grasp of the silly, and she’ll make us laugh multiple times a day. As of late it’s been with silly dances, songs, rhymes, and ‘jokes’. Her understanding of what makes a joke is…not yet excellent, shall we say. And if we laugh at something once, we can expect her to do it over and over until the humour is well and truly gone. She just loves making people laugh, and, if I do say so myself, she’s really good at it.
Amelie’s been talking for a long time and all that practice has made perfect, pretty much. It’s not often she mispronounces words or mixes them up, sadly. Those that she does confuse, therefore, are both notable and adorable. The day she stops saying ‘fleader’ instead of feather, ‘surfing board’ instead of surfboard, ‘sharing driveway’ instead of shared driveway, or ‘catch a tiger by its bow’ instead of toe is going to be a sad one.
When it comes to her name, though, Amelie is relentless with people who mispronounce it. People often say Emily or Ay-melie, and she’ll happily correct them, no matter who they are (it’s pronounced Ah-may-lee, for the record). She tells me she really wants to go to France “because they’ll be able to pronounce my name correctly.” I believe the impetus to go to France may also be because she knows that’s where croissants and crèpes come from (two of her absolute favourites).
Other current favourites include the Winnie the Pooh books, Thelma the Unicorn, Frozen (of course), Bedtime Explorer stories (still!), ballet (she doesn’t do lessons yet but she enjoys wearing her tutu and twirling), riding her bike, swimming, having running races (as long as wins), playgrounds, drawing, reading, and the musical stylings of Disney and Taylor Swift. She makes friends with everyone she meets, and she falls in love with roughly half the dogs we see. She’s scared of spiders and wasps but loves the little lizards that are suddenly everywhere. She’s incredibly brave, strong, and confident, and most of the time, she’s bold about trying new things. She has all the personality, all the conviction, and, of course, all the knowledge. It makes parenting hard on a daily basis, but amazingly rewarding when considered at a more macro level (especially after her bedtime).
Four is a brilliant age – definitely my favourite so far – and Amelie is absolutely brilliant, as well as definitely my favourite. I’m so glad she’s my daughter. Being her parent is the best.