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The bittersweet magic of having a 4-year-old ✨

You’re no longer a baby, and becoming more ‘you’ everyday.

The bittersweet magic of having a 4-year-old ✨

Since you turned four, our universe has shifted. Small changes in your development that are imperceptible to everyone else are seismic in my eyes. I’ve always noticed the fault lines as I’ve watched you move between the ages and stages of your childhood, gaining new abilities and more independence with each milestone. But the crevice between three and four seems deeper, more defined.


Suddenly, you are completely yourself, full of perception and opinions and surprising vocabulary, and not at all the quiet, pensive baby I held a few short years ago.

Suddenly, the fuzzy little shoulders that I used to smother with kisses are strong and broad, opening the refrigerator, reaching onto countertops, hoisting your body as you bounce along the furniture. When you were three, you needed me to do these things for you—get your milk, grab a snack, help you up. Now that you’re four, you’ve stopped asking.

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Now that you’re four, you carry your body with a confidence that I have never seen you exhibit. Your gait is longer and straighter. Gone is the wobbly side-to-side toddler dance. You stand tall. You’re suddenly so tall. And you try things that you never would have attempted, my cautious girl.

Now that you’re four, you’re climbing and flipping and jumping. Never one to take chances before, now that you’re four you’re settling in to yourself. Trusting yourself. As I watch, I see that those years of observing from the sidelines have stayed with you.

I see you assessing the situation, thinking before you try something. But now that you’re four, you try it. And now that you’re four, I find myself trusting you to think and assess and to be cautious when necessary. But I’m still surprised by your courage.

When you were three, you would ask me to stay with you at school. You would hold onto my jacket, pleading. “Just five minutes, Mommy, please.” And when I had to leave, I would watch as your eyes followed me out the door, wide and brimming with tears. When you turned four, we needed to move you to a new school, and suddenly I was the one filled with apprehension.

As we said goodbye to the teachers and friends you had known since you were a baby, I struggled to keep it together and it was me, now, trying to hold back tears, wanting to stay. And when we walked into your new school and a swarm of new faces ran up and circled you, I felt the same torrent of pressure fill my eyes.

I was overwhelmed for you, certain that you’d turn back to me, grab my jacket, and beg to leave. I was overwhelmed, too, because I didn’t know how to leave you in this new place, with all of these new people. And as I was doing everything I could to stay strong for you, to pretend that my heart wasn’t breaking, you turned back to me and smiled and said, “Bye, Mom.”

In that moment, my heart did break as I realized that, for the first time, you really didn’t need me.

You didn’t need me to be sad or worried for you because, now that you’re four, you are more competent than you’ve ever been. As your competence grows, you’ll need me less, and now that you’re four, your days of needing me for most things are coming to an end.

My heart broke as I realized that the 3-year-old you is no longer around, and there were a whole lot of things I truly loved about that 3-year-old.

I loved how she would dance in jerking moves that didn’t at all align with the beat of the music, and how she would have a funny little way of mispronouncing and misusing new words.

I loved that she thought Chili’s restaurants were pepper stores. I loved how she would ask to be sung to every night and how she would walk around the edge of the playground to avoid the bustle of the jungle gym.

I loved how when I looked at her I could still see the face of the baby girl who surprised us when she arrived early and has been full of surprises since, the face I had always known.

Now, you say things like “That’s impressive!” in the right context. You haven’t asked for a bedtime song in months. You’re climbing to the top of the biggest slide on the playground and zipping down with glee, not fear. Your face is changing. It is longer, thinner, full of expression. Instead of seeing glimpses of the baby you were, I see hints of the woman you’ll become.

I’m heartbroken to say goodbye to the little girl I knew. She disappears a little every day, with each new word that you articulate perfectly, with each new letter you learn to write.

But the elements that are essentially you, your love of dancing, your hilarious observations, your absolute refusal to be anything but stubborn when you want your way, your love affair with mac and cheese, they remain.

And as you’re blossoming into your 4-year-old self, I love getting to know who you are now. I love how you embrace your curiosity. I love how you radiate confidence in your words, in your actions, and in yourself. I’m so impressed by you. I’ve learned to cherish you in this moment, in the person you are.

I’m excited, but not in a rush, to see the person you’ll become. And sometimes, at night, right before bed, when the lights are dim and you look up at me from behind the blanket you’ve treasured since you were born, I see you, my sweet girl, looking back at me with the same eyes I watched open four years ago.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

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