I love my daughter. Someone should just bottle up "Essence of a 4 year old" cause she is just so dang cute I can't stand it. This month I've been doing a few "Christmas-y" things with her, and she's just so into Christmas it's so cute. We put up our tree Thanksgiving weekend. It's a fake one, since Alaska does not grow good Christmas trees, all real trees are shipped up here and they are so dead by the time they get here I just figure it's not really worth it. Anyway, here is a picture of our tree, which she helped out a lot with. She wanted to hang a lot of the ornaments, and I let her. I made sure to hang the fragile ones up high - with a crawling 10 month old on the loose I only put non fragile ones and ones I didn't care too much about on the bottom. Now you'll notice the bottom branches are empty - Astrid has seen to it that all ornaments are now out of her reach. Tilt your head sideways to see the picture, I had to turn the camera to get the whole thing in it. The next thing Zoe did was make gingerbread houses. She came home from preschool one day all excited that they had made a gingerbread house in school that day. I asked her how she did it and she proceeded to tell me "well first you take a milk carton with no milk in it, and then you put graham crackers on it with frosting" - she was supposed to decorate it at a family night activity that week, but we were unable to make it. She came home with a naked house in her backpack, so that weekend I got a gingerbread house kit at Costco, and I put that together, and she put some candies on it. I put most of the candies on, because she'd do a few and then say she wanted me to do it. So any random strange candies were her, and the rest were me. We used the extras to decorate her house from preschool and she was SOOO happy to do that with mommy. Here she is with the results of her handiwork.
I have a few more pictures of the houses but didn't want to overwhelm you. She promptly wanted to eat these as soon as they were done, but I made her wait a day or too till I could take a picture. James said she could eat them then, and the she could make some more when her Grandma Shannon comes to visit. That satisfied her pretty well.
Tonight, I was wrapping up some presents for Zoe's Grandma Shannon, and she wanted to help. So I let her help, and I gotta say, I think she's inherited my gift for wrapping, because she did a pretty dang good job for a 4 year old. She first wanted to wrap a picture we're giving to her Grandma. She picked the paper, unrolled it by herself, and put the gift in the middle. I told her where to cut, but she operated the scissors on her own, and folded the paper on her own. I held it down while she taped, and then she operated the scissors to trim up the edges before folding. I pinched the edge and told her to cut where I pinched. I helped fold up the edges, and she taped it. She also picked the bow, and put it on, and then put the sticker and label on by herself. She even signed her name that it was from her, all by herself!!!On the second present, she did everything more by herself (I still directed by telling her where to cut) - she operated the scissors even more on her own this time. Due to this fact, she went a huge bit crooked while trimming up the edges, and so it required Mommy's skills to make sure all parts of the package were hidden by paper, but even so, it still turned out pretty well.
You can see the results of her wild cutting and Mommy's rescue efforts in this pic here:
I consider myself to be a really good gift wrapper, but I'm not so wrapped up in it that I can't relinquish control to a 4 year old. It's all about the joy of being with her, and teaching her the process, and then enjoying the process after all.