Emma Turns Four!


Emma 12 days before her 4th birthday

Emma turned four years old last month. She is an amazing girl. I am always so pleased and happy at her development. She is confident, happy, healthy, ambitious, independent, and beautiful. I have always been a firm believer that you get what you put into your kids. I am happy to have married a woman who shares this belief and has committed herself to playing an active role in our child’s development. Elena, like most Mothers, shoulders the burden of child-rearing. She is the primary caregiver and the glue of our family. She makes sure the house is clean, food is purchased, dinner is served, and Emma is exposed to a diverse array of activities (without being over-stimulated). She is a kid after all and we want her to enjoy her youth.

Emma’s scheduled activities for the week consists of the following:

  • Swimming (1 day / week)
  • Pre-School (2 days / week)(4 hours each day)
  • Gymnastics (1 day / week)
  • Ballet & Jazz (1 day / week)

It’s a busy schedule on paper, but it is spread out throughout the week so that Monday though Friday she has something to look forward to. We intentionally make sure no two activities occur on the same day. Emma looks forward to each and every activity and will cry if we threaten to not do one when she misbehaves.


Emma’s 4th Birthday Gift

Now don’t get me wrong. Despite our most valiant efforts, Emma is no angel. She has a stubbornness that can be hard to deal with, and only recently (in the last two months) has she started reciprocating my affection for her. You see, Mommy and me like to give Emma lots of hugs and kisses but Emma has never liked to be held or kissed. She’s a cold fish that way and it is difficult for us to deal with because Elena and I are affectionate people. I had hoped that over time, Emma would change, and she kinda has for me in the last couple months as I eluded to earlier. I make sure that I keep my face well shaven, because Daddy has a scratchy beard and she wasn’t buy’n the “Porcupines need love too” argument that I have been making over the years. She has trained me in a way to go easy on the kisses (like a single kiss or hug once or twice a day). I know, she’s strict!

Elena, on the other hand, hasn’t been that lucky. Although it’s true, she has been getting way more love from Emma than I have throughout the first 4 years of her life, Elena is not where she would like to be in terms of reciprocated affection either.

Psychologists to this day still hotly debate whether a child’s personality is a product of their natural surroundings (“nature”) or the type and quality of care they are given (“nurture”). Some believe it is a combination of the two. My observations of Emma seem to support that it is indeed a combination of the two. In what proportions I cannot say. It is clear that when a child is born, he/she comes into the world with his or her personality already intact. That’s the nature part. Environmental conditions (i.e. the things your child is exposed to) can enhance or diminish your child’s ability to flourish. Love, affection, attention, involvement, interest, stability are some ways in which parents can improve a child’s confidence and feeling of self worth. Likewise, abandonment, neglect, disinterest, etc. are ways to negatively impact a child’s development.

If I do my job right Emma will grow up with the confidence of knowing that she has two parents that love her more deeply than words can describe. She will know this not through our words or empty promises but through our deeds as parents. I intend to make sure the hopes and dreams I have for her are modeled in my behavior and realized through experiences we share during our limitted time on this planet together. Any structure worth building requires a strong foundation. Children are no different. It seems way too easy in today’s day and age to make excuses as to why we don’t commit the hard work and effort required to lay that all too important foundation. Raising children is arguably the hardest job on the planet which is why I suppose so many people outsource the work through the use of daycares, nanny’s  and such. It is my opinion that if you can’t afford to raise your own kid you should not have them. I am writing this here not to condemn or pass judgement on others, but rather to articulate to my own daughter, Emma, my values so she knows where my head is at in the event I am not around to have this conversation with her later when she is older and ready to have children of her own. Understand that there may be mitigating or unforeseen circumstances that necessitate alternate care for your children. Just don’t make this the primary plan of action when you are deciding to start a family, as it is a poor one that will make your children feel abandoned and unimportant during the most impressionable and developmentally important time of their life. It’s the age old adage, pay now or pay later.


Emma loves to draw and paint. Most of her drawings are scribbles at this point but she enjoys herself and is always so sweet to make one picture for Mommy and one for Daddy. Recently she drew me and actually did a pretty nice job….I mean it had a circle for a head, eyes a big smile and even some blue bangs. Alright, so my bangs aren’t blue, but she drew them in there, showing attention to detail:) I was impressed that it actually looked like a cartoon person vs. the usual scribbles.

On Wednesday, she wanted to use her easel so I set it up for her and to my surprise, she drew herself. She even drew some blue bangs on herself to match the ones she had drawn on me. This is the first time she attempts to draw herself so I obviously made a big deal about it and we hung it up in her playroom along with all her other drawings and arts & craft projects. For 3 1/2 years old, I think it’s wonderful!