When 4 Year Olds Can Write

Lily’s preschool had a special unit on the post office last week. She mailed me her very first letter ever and was so excited about it that she wanted to write letters to other people. This is the letter I received.

It’s a fairly accurate drawing of her wardrobe and hearts, plus some psychotic looking writing. You know in crime/mystery shows when the detectives are looking for a suspect and they stumble across a notebook with scary looking writing going at all angles on one page going on and on about killing someone? And that’s how you know the suspect is a) crazy and b) did it? That’s what I thought of when I saw this letter! It’s not her fault though. She was trying to write a letter to me around her previously drawn artwork. It would have gone much better if they’d given her a new piece of paper to write to me.

What important message was Lily trying to send me in the mail? She translated it to me.

“Dear Mommy,
You read and write.
Love,
(her full name, first middle and last, redacted)”

Since she wrote that first letter, she’s written many more under my supervision. They are much more legible when you keep the drawings on a separate piece of paper. It also helps to line up a piece of paper under what she’s writing to keep her words in line (we didn’t have proper learning-to-write paper here yet). Here’s the one she wrote her dad a few days later:

Translation, though I think this is fairly legible:
“Dear Daddy,
You’re 40 1/2. Soon you’re 41. I love you.
Love,
(her full name, redacted)”

It was VERY important that he get this message, obviously. His birthday is this coming Monday and he might not realize how old he’s going to be if he had not received this amazing note. She wrote the letter by herself with a little spelling and punctuation help from me. She actually knows how to spell an insane amount of words so my help came more from making sure the words stayed somewhat straight than anything else.

Lily also wrote a letter to my parents that said:

“Dear Nonni and Poppy,

Nonni reads with her glasses on. Read stories with your glasses on.

Love,

(Name)”

She wrote to my sister and her husband:

“Dear Emi and Booie,

Emi fixes necklaces. Booie is tall. Booie gives me airplane rides.

Love,

(Name)”

It’s endlessly amusing to all of us what a 4 year old thinks a someone needs to hear in a letter. She’s continuing her letter writing campaign, but has so far refused to use the special first-grade lined paper I bought her specifically for this purpose. She thinks letters should be written on plain white printer paper. It’s frustrating because she writes REALLY well on the first-grade paper, but things get pretty sloppy on unlined paper.

She’s obviously on her way to becoming the next great American novelist. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

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