Do you remember being four?
I do. It's pretty vague, but I remember bits and pieces, like snapshots.
That's when we moved from the trailer onto the farm. That's when Hudson got born, bringing the total number of kids up to 4. I played with G. I. Joes and spent most of my time outside. Pretending was a big thing for us. I was afraid of cows, but overall the world was a good, safe place and things always turned out fine. I had a child's faith in God and my parents.
From my parents' accounts, I was excessively silly, optimistic, eager and empathetic, but I don't remember those things. However, those very words are the ones my closest friends and family use to describe me now!
My point is that when we are very small children, we are already ourselves. We gain a lot from life experience and education and all that good stuff. But our basic identity and personality are already there.
This is on my mind because on Friday, Bea will be four years old. I see a lot of interesting traits in my daughter. Beatrice is a wild thing in so many ways. She appreciates the value of good manners and does her best to behave, but is independent. Fiercely so.
She creates environments It's something she's always done and she has particularly developed this skill since we've relaxed about room tidiness. She'll pull her mattress onto the floor and move the bed out from the wall and spread linens around and makes piles here and there so that her room is divided into various regions. It looks like a tornado swept through, but she likes that. She's into tornadoes. And volcanoes and earthquakes and tsunamis and hurricanes.
Another interesting thing about Beatrice is her loathing of clothing, lol. She prefers seamless garments. Like Gandhi. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I make her be modest if we go out, because I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, but around the house, I let her go like this:
Beatrice is inventive, curious, stubborn and silly. That's how she is now, that's how she's been these four years. I expect that as an adult, those will still be some of her defining characteristics.