Jan 08 2009

Jocelyn at Four And Three Quarters

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids

There are so many sweet things going on with Jocelyn that I want to document it, mostly for myself for later, so I can read it and remember how my almost 5-year-old was.

Jocelyn loves to sing. She loves to dance. This year, Santa brought her a Barbie CD player with two microphones. It has been a hit. She will put a cd on and dance to it, or sing along to it. The only downside is that the mics are really not that great, and in order to make her voice amplified, she sticks it practically in her mouth and the resulting sound is pretty unintelligible.

jocelyn in ballet dress up

Lately she is into letters, sounds, words, and especially RHYMING. She is right on the brink of really reading, and she will look at a word and sound out the letters to herself quietly. On cereal boxes, fast food cups, pieces of mail, everywhere, she will be looking and seeing this world of written language around her. She is asking how things are spelled (even nonsense words) and then repeating it back with glee.

The rhyming is especially cute. And CONSTANT. She cannot say a sentence without rhyming the last word a few times.

“Hi Mom!”
“Hi honey.”
“Honey, money TUNNY!”
“TUMMY! Tummy plummy wummy! Mom POM!”

It is very cute, but she will get so caught up in making all these links and connections in her head that she can be completely and totally oblivious to what is going on around her. Getting her to complete a task can take a monumental effort (mostly in patience) by the parent. Sometimes when I ask her to do something, she will be looking right at me, but I can tell that she hasn’t actually heard a word I’ve said.

jocelyn making sugar cookie cutouts

I’ve found that it is often best to get her to “surprise” me with a completed task. For example, I will said, “Eat 3 bites of your dinner,” and she will insist that I close my eyes. Then after she’s eaten the bites, she let me open my eyes and will squirm with delight as I demand to know What HAPPENED to her dinner! Someone came and TOOK her dinner! Quick, look under your plates, everyone, Jocelyn’s dinner is MISSING!!! Until she laughs and reports, “It’s in my TUMMY WUMMY PUMMY!”

The same tactics can work when getting dressed – it goes much better if I leave the room and tell her I want her dressed when I come back, rather than sitting there and guiding her through each step – Put on your pants, now shirt. Where are your socks? What about shoes? (plus, leaving the room makes mommy not so frazzled!) This is a great tactic for Ethan as well, because he loves to surprise us, not so much because he is too wrapped up in his own world to hear us.

jocelyn and ethan

She has also been getting hurt a lot. She has always been more prone to putting on the special effect tears whenever she gets the slightest bump or scratch (whereas I’m convinced Ethan could go head over heels through briars and broken glass and emerge hollering, “I’m fine I’m FINE!”) just for the attention it would garnish her, and let’s not forget, the ETERNAL quest for BAND-AIDS! But lately she actually HAS been stubbing her toes, tripping over her own feet, and knocking into things. Part of this I think is because of all these new things she’s thinking over and putting together in her head, all these language connections – she is sometimes not even aware of what’s around her.

Another part is she is a dancer. She cannot walk somewhere, she bounces there. She skips there. She sashays there! She TWIRLS there! She flitters there! She tries walking backwards there! Or of course, she RUNS there! It’s hard to find a balance between squashing her desire to experiment with the movement of her own body and trying to get her to a) actually go where you wanted her to go already! and b) protect her from the inevitable tripping, falling, or bumping into something that will come.

jocelyn in ballet

If she is unhurt, she is super quick to say “Sorry!” in a cutesy voice, as over time she has worked out that this is a good method for circumventing any trouble (like if she’s knocked something over), and as always, if it is called for, put on her whiney voice and walk over to extend her injured body part and state, “I hurt my aaaarrrrrrrrrm I need a baaaaaand-aid!” Again – it’s hard to find the right balance between telling her to brush it off already, it was just a bonk, and giving her the attention that a good bonk might required. And there have been a few instances of Actual Injuries that have gone Unnoticed because they were marked down in the parent’s mind as a Superficial Injury instead of Actual Injury. Oops. What can I say – when you get 10 Superficial Injuries in a day, it’s not hard to brush off the one Actual Injury!

She is a lagger in getting out of car/walking somewhere public-type situations. She lags getting out of the car and she is perpetually 5-10 feet behind me as I walk. I recently discovered a good tactic for this though. I used to say a lot of, ‘Come on’, ‘hurry up’, or ‘stay with me.’ Now, I point down at the ground next to me, and I say, “See this spot? I want you to walk right in this spot next to me.” It works probably 85% of the time (which is much better than the 40% success rate of previous nagging techniques!) She will find some way to make a game of it and get wrapped up in it in her head again (for example, she’ll try to stay right ON my shadow), but it keeps her next to me which is fine by me!

Another aspect to Jocelyn (which maybe contributes to the touch of klutziness?) is her height. I don’t know her height in inches, but she is tall. She will be 5 in March, and is about a head taller than all the other kids in her class in daycare and also ballet. She already pretty much can’t wear any shirts from the toddler’s department (Target goes up to 5T) and by summer I think she’ll be out of the 5T pants as well. I never thought I would be buying clothes in the girls’ department before she’s even in kindergarten!

jocelyn cutting out snowflakes

Ahh, my girl. She is full of excitement and still has that little kid excitement about many things that Ethan is now jaded about. She loves to make things and draw and her artwork is taped up on walls all over the house (sometimes in curious places!) She adores envelopes and there’s been many a letter or drawing stuffed into an envelope, addressed and stamped and sent via the postal service straight back to our own house. (This has also been a great tactic to have Ethan do some writing at home.) This year of 4 has been great, and is finishing up with a bang.


-amy (pay-mee, way-mee)

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