Doing things on your own

Child development inconveniently does not follow a neat yearly schedule, so it’s difficult to distill a single year into one or two clear themes for storytelling (or blogging) purposes. But two things do nonetheless stand out from my daughter’s fourth year: (1) fierce drive to learn and do things on her own without help and (2) remarkable fluency at expressing herself verbally.

By far the most common replies I got from my daughter over the past year were “Joo joo!” (“I got it!”), “Minä tiedän!” (“I know!”), and “Minä en tarvitse apua!” (“I don’t need help!”). She wants to try and do everything on her own and in her own way, and she’s fiercely proud of her skills. It’s very cute. She’s also devastated to tears when she fails to perform something to her own standards. I imagine this is typical for children her age, but it’s also possible she’s inherited her mother’s relentlessly self-critical temperament: always competing with herself and effectively being her own worst enemy. I will not be blamed for this.

My daughter’s already impressive (at least to us) language skills also continued to improve by what felt like leaps and bounds. She talks very clearly. She has a large vocabulary (as she seems to instantly remember each new word she hears, even when you think she’s not listening). She can string together long and coherent narratives, both factual and fictional. You can have relatively long conversations with her. And she can also talk back quite a bit. This last feature, too, is totally her mother’s temperament.

In sum, the past year was again more fun and much more interesting than the year before. Forget babies and toddlers, little humans are the best, tantrums and all.


01.04.2015 / 02.04.2016 / 02.04.2017 / 01.04.2018

Instead of the usual summary of milestones, let’s have my daughter outline her action plan for age 4. In Finnish. (You may need to turn up the volume, since I recorded the video with my smartphone, and the built-in microphone was pointing at me.)

Until next year.

* * *


Practicing for the big leagues.


The benefit of small size on long flights.


Stop. Taking. Pictures. Let’s go already.


If only I could read…




The need for speed.


Teaching the grownups how to use a hunting horn. (Seriously, we couldn’t make it sound, but Julia could, so she explained to us how to position our lips on the mouthpiece and how to blow.)


Small girl. Big thoughts.


This is as far as I go. Let’s revisit next summer.


First Worldcon. Not terribly impressed.


Sometimes one is just too hungry for cutlery.


I love eating… I mean helping mom bake.


This isn’t the girl you’re looking for.




Why so serious?


Hama bead madness.


I specifically asked for this cake…


…but it was too sweet to eat. Who would’ve guessed?

8 thoughts on “Doing things on your own

  1. Adorabubble as always and – again as always – worth waiting a year for! I haven’t had a chance to watch the video yet but it’s great that you’re laying out a process.

    Next step is quarterly milestone checks and performance reviews.

    1. Adorabubble as always

      I need to record one of her tantrums someday. For balance. Then again, even those can be adorable (assuming you’re not a tired parent at the receiving end). You know how it is.

      but it’s great that you’re laying out a process.

      Next step is quarterly milestone checks and performance reviews.

      I feel like I really, really need to emphasize that the action plan was all Julia. She set all those goals by herself. (She even forgot a few she had declared over the past year.) So, if she turns into a hyper-self-critical, overachieving bundle of nerves, it wasn’t me! (If she turns into a neat freak, that might be me.)

      But we’re so gonna review the thumb sucking on a regular basis.

  2. Wonderful ! Lilla Julia börjar likna allt mera vår Ninni (Niina). Samma temperament och kunnande. Tack Timo för att du skickade de fina bilderna och videon. Vi hörde nog bra Julias kommentarer. Det var så sött. Hälsningar till lilla Julia, Momi och Papu.

    1. Javisst, jag bor med två mycket viljestarka kvinnor. Skulle inte vilja har det annars.

      (Full disclosure: I needed my wife’s superior language skills to write that reply. My Swedish is inte så bra.)

  3. Thank you dear Timo for Julia’s wonderful fourth-year photos and video! Katson joka ilta lämmöllä ja ilolla tyttären ja isän videokeskutelua. Voin aina hyvällä mielellä nukahtaa. Halit ja suukko suloiselle Julialle. Tyttärellenne, joka kutsuu itseään “äidin tytöksi”. -Mummi

    Ja halit Julialle myös vaarilta.

  4. Greetings to my dear goddaughter Julia! It’s nice watching her grow up. Although I see her rarely. I’ve noticed that Julia has a very strong own will. I told you about it at the naming occasion when I read about Julia’s astrological sign. 🙂 All the best to Julia!

    1. Yeah, “very strong own will” is putting it lightly. I’m really hoping it’s because of her natural temperament and not our lax parenting [1]. :)

      [1] For the record, I don’t think our parenting is lax!

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