She is going to be four soon. Not quite yet a big kid and not quite a baby or toddler. She is in that in between stage. Still needs mama and daddy for encouragement and reassurance but independent enough to put herself down for a nap and pick out her own clothes.
I love sitting back and watching her navigate herself in this world. She has been taking dance lessons since last October and I have to say that Saturday mornings at 11am is possibly my most favorite hour of the week. I look like a cheschire cat peering into the dance class window. She is with "her people." Little girls and one grown woman who love to put on tiarras and spin in tutus and wave magic wands in the air.
I was never a dancer. I was a bulky and clumsy athlete. I never had the poise and fluidity that I envied in my older sister, Jessica the dancer. I never could grasp the concept of rhythm and my body does weird things that my mind is unaware of. So this new world of dance is like looking into a foreign country. Everything is so new and exciting and a bit overwhelming for me. But to be in it with my Bella is so alluring.
Since October she has been outside her comfort zone of her family. She is socializing with people who aren't her cousins, though she still sometimes thinks they are her cousins. Because with a big family like ours, well, let's just say Bella meets a lot of cousins! She's growing up this year. Like really growing up.
She is identifying her own interests and not what I think should be her interest. This feels like one of those pivotal stages where I could really screw up parenting or I could really make an impact in her life. I need to be careful of my actions and mindful of what she hears me say. I'm shaping my little girl each day and it's damn scary! But, she's a good kid. She has a kind, so kind, core.
Here are a few pictures of her year: Enjoy.