My famous 3-year old is turning 4! Happy Birthday Luísa!

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Yeah, time is passing. Not fast like I hear people saying all the time, quite slowly or in it´s own regular pace. Just life happening at its full speed. Like Tara explains so well, the more we live in the moment, the more the clock seems to slow down.  Time goes slowly when you are doing what you love. It really does.

It´s been the most intense years of my life so far, Luísa is turning 4 today.

When Luísa was just a baby, I remember dreaming with my best friend about going on a boat trip when Luísa turned 4. I know that we start remembering our lives when we are around that age (or at least I do) and so I wanted to make Luísa´s first memories to be of the sea life.

We´ve been living the beach life and we are now snorkeling in the Caribbean. Luísa has a friend, Juba, who´s a 5-year old native who teaches her sweet things, like fishing with a cup, catching shell animals and letting htem crawl in our hands, we see crabs all the time, in all houses you have them.

I love this focused expression. Here she´s planting.

I want to give her other presents very representative of life like all the beach related activities. It´s learning to work the land, to plant, grow and harvest. We started by buying a few flowers at the local market here in Puerto Viejo, and planting them in our garden.

There is also the car-free life style that is so adorable. We love riding the bike and this is a lovely memory of one´s early years.

I´ve heard that the 4s are hard. Can anything be harder than the terrible twos? Yeah, I know mindful practitioners say that such thing doesn´t exist (the terrible twos), but Luísa had a terrible phase, or probably I had a more obvious ignorant phase when I couldn´t meet and understand her needs.

How I wish I had found RIE parenting and Pickler´s books before… (and didn´t help her to walk, for example). How I hope to offer this knowledge to parents that are not aware of these sources.

I´m devoted into learning this parenting thing all the way, through all the phases. I know I have made some mistakes already and I´ll keep making some more, but as long as I can realize what´s going on more clearly and get to the next level of mindfulness, than I´m on the right track and I don´t need to worry too much or feel guilty.

I´m prepared to whatever there is to come, behavioral, emotional, psychological issues, anything. I´ve been reading and doing my homework to attend Luísa´s needs more kindly. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to be surprised by, of course.

One of the things I keep learning is to set limits, it´s a huge change for me and my softness and a very necessary shift for both of us.

Each new year in parenting is a dive into the mysteries of life, into knowing and understanding oneself better, to than give what´s needed by the child. It´s a growing and learning happening by both parent and child, we are in this irrevocably together.

Luísa and I even celebrate our birthdays practically together, since we are only one week apart. I just turned 33 on the 17th and we had real lasagna made by an Italian friend, salad picked up by Luísa in the morning, cake and wine with a bunch of friends.

Today, we´ll have a very simple celebration, just some friends together on the beach, where I´ll bring cake and brigadeiro (a traditional Brazilian sweet made of cooked condensed milk with chocolate, hummm). There will be no chairs, tables or anything, just our sarongs and the children playing on the beach and on the river. Perfect.

I can rejoice in the celebration that Luísa´s first 4 years of life have been. I have been making sure she can have a life close to nature and a mother passionate about something beautiful like surf.

Surf has made me be by the sea with all my being and the desire to bring Luísa along with me, to share the beauty of the surf life, which is to be close to the ocean and with a healthy-active-green life-style.

It´s a life following the rhythms of the nature, waking up with sunrise, going to bed not much later than sunset (hard to do this in our modern life – who else, besides me, do you know that goes to bed by 8pm?), taking it as it comes, waiting for sets of action followed by the pauses, just like the waves.

For her birthday I just want to keep celebrating the life the way we have been, with our time being fully shared. We still co-sleep, I love the closeness it brings us, but she´s been coming up on my pillow every night and the regular double bed seems small for us, nothing like our queen size bed back home. But for now, this is how this will be as we are renting one room with one bed…

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on April 23, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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