Beatrix: Four

Hi B,

This morning you yelled for 20 minutes about how we had to tape your banana back together. Because it had been opened improperly.

This is the best age you’ve ever been. Since my last letter to you, you’ve started Junior Kindergarten. It’s been really incredible to watch you grow into it. Your birthday means you’ll always be one of the youngest in your class, but most people don’t know it. You’re a tall, strong kid. You’re extremely verbal. You have a stronger command presence than most adults, for better or for worse.

Your emotions are so unguarded these days, and it catches me in my chest sometimes. Your sis was the same way. Your giggles are the best. And when your feelings are hurt, there’s no attempt to hide it. Just this abject pouting sorrow that takes over your whole body. It’s so extreme it would make us laugh if it weren’t so serious. You don’t know what to do with all these feelings either. Sometimes when you think you’re in trouble you’ll start frantically looking around for things to throw or break to try to get in more trouble. I don’t think you even know why.

And still this age is the best. You want to talk about T-cells, and lava, constantly. You make me recite major portions of The Princess Bride in exchange for eating your dinner. You have individual run-on sentences that can go for 10 minutes or more. And you collect everything. You are one of the only kids in your class who knows what the word “hoarder” means. You pick up a pine cone, or a good leaf, or the stick from an old cake pop and tell us, “I have to add this to my collection.” Never “want to.” Only, “have to.”

When you were littler, your sis was someone who would come and go and I think you didn’t really understand the pattern to it. You understand more now. Enough that when it’s time for Lil to go back to her other home for a week, you really feel it. And each time Lil comes back to our place, you two spend the first evening re-negotiating how to be together. You just don’t know what to do with yourself every time she comes back. After a day you settle back in to being sisters and that’s pretty great, too.

Your mom and I talk a lot about that. About how you two get each other in a way that no one else does. Lil is your big sis and big sisters are always annoyed with little sisters, but she takes care of you and you look up to her. She is one of the only people in the world whose authority you accept. Watching the two of you read books together, or paint, or listening to you talk her ear off. Well that’s my hobby now on alternating Saturdays.

On Monday you head back to school after the break and not a moment too soon. Two weeks without structure has made you loopy, and maybe the rest of us, too. After the banana incident you threw a pine cone. You know it’s serious when you’re disrupting your collection.

I love you, ridiculous creature.

Daddy

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