Don’t call us, we’ll call you

March 3, 2014

Dearest Addison, you turned four!

How do I know? Because you’ve mentioned it every ten minutes since it happened.

“I was brave when I got that cut because I’m four now.”

“I had my birthday, so I’m four.”

“I’m a preschooler since I turned four.”

“I can do a lot of hard things now, because I’m four.”

The thing is, this isn’t all just talk. A couple of weeks after you started going to Primary, they asked you to give a scripture at the podium. We practiced at home the week before, but when you stood up and looked out at all the older children, you froze. (I, on the other hand, sparkled under the pressure! Just sayin’.) But the day of your birthday you eagerly explained that you wanted to give the scripture again. You assured me, “I’m four now, so I’m brave. And I’ll just stand right up there and say it!” Sure enough, the next week, you showed no nerves at all.

There’s been other promising developments, too. Earlier this week, you interrupted your coloring to come ask dad, “Is coloring a right or a privilege?” I was so thrilled I about bounded out of bed to do the Perfect Strangers dance of joy!! (But you know, the whole getting out of bed thing, not my strong suit.) Because you’re getting it! All these concepts that some people (including strangers at the playground) have told me are a lost cause at this age are finally starting to sink in. And now you know, you better toe the line if you want crayons!

I’m also starting to see the first glimmer of hope that all my painstaking “growth mindset” talk is having an impact. On the way to the storytime this week, you said your little legs were SO tired. You didn’t know if you could make it. But then, you looked up at me and earnestly explained,  “But when something’s hard for a kid, we just have to do it. And keep doing it!” as you broke out in a run. You still run EVERYWHERE, by the way. Just today at church someone told me that they didn’t recognize you standing still because you’re always a blurry streak. (Your Primary teacher probably agrees, considering that you once fled the building without her noticing.)

Back to the growth mindset (because at least 85% of my parenting thoughts revolve around it). I’ve been worried about all the people that tell you you’re smart and how that may derail all my careful teaching about how smart isn’t what matters. But this week, when a mom at Mommy & Me proclaimed how smart you were, you wagged your instructive pointer finger at her and said,

“Smart isn’t what’s important.”

She was taken aback and confused: “It isn’t?!”

“NO! Working hard is the most important thing.”

We’ve gotta work on your approach — because wagging index fingers aren’t gonna win you any friends in the long run — but oh, my heart swelled! Thank you for listening to me despite my very obvious inability to communicate in age-appropriate ways!

And as if that weren’t enough, we had a lovely little grocery trip this week. You held the list and scribbled out each item as we put it in the cart. I’ve tried to make the point that we only buy things on our list (no impulse buys in this family!) but I had forgotten to add bread to the list. And you noticed when I picked it up. I know because about 20 minutes later as we were headed home in the car, you remarked, “You know, Mom, it’s not frugal to buy things that aren’t on the list.” I tried to explain that I had forgotten to write it, that happens sometimes, we just don’t want to make it a habit . . . but you interrupted me, “But it was only one thing so we can still be frugal.” Phew.

Rights vs. privileges — check.

Growth mindset — check.

Frugality — check.

I’m pretty sure my work here is done! And I’m pretty sure you’re one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Love to my baby girl, who is “NOT A BABY ANYMORE” (so you say),


Dearest Addison: age 1, age 2, and now 4. See daddy’s blog for reflections on age 3 (I guess I was napping that year).



  1. I love this!! What a good mama! Happy bday Addison 🙂

    Comment by Kristine a — March 3, 2014 @ 4:59 am

    • Right back at ya, Kristine! (The part about the good mama, not the birthday — unless it’s your birthday, too…)

      Comment by llcall — March 6, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

  2. Such a great post. Addison is such a cutie, and you guys have done such a great job. I do have a question. I agree with only buying what’s on the list, but I have to say, I’m also a bargain shopper. I don’t just buy things because they are a great bargain but I do make a point to see if there are items I know I will use, or something new for us to try, because I do believe the research that says trying new things helps intelligence. Am I walking on thin ice or confusing my kids with a double message?

    Comment by Ishkhanoohie — March 3, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

    • Bargain shopping is one area where I could definitely do better. I’m so avoidant about shopping in general, so I don’t do much clipping coupons or checking other items in the store — and I’m still not one of those people that off the top of my head can think about all the things we use frequently. I think your kids, especially the older ones, are old enough to understand the distinction, as long as you can really make it clear to them that just because something is marked as a “bargain” doesn’t automatically make it one. I know that you are a careful and frugal shopper so I have no doubt your kids are learning those skills! Off the top of my head, I can think of two ways to make something like this more concrete for kids: (1) going through the process of clipping coupons or looking at ads with them to help them understand the bargain shopping process or (2) having a second list of items that you always use and therefore, always check on prices for (this list is probably already in your head, but having it written out would make it more concrete for kids, especially when they’re young). Just a couple of thoughts!

      Comment by llcall — March 6, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

  3. Hahahaha I was laughing so hard while reading this. Thank you for my dose of Addison humor! Please come back to Utah so I have another growth mindset mother around!!!

    Comment by kei02003 — March 3, 2014 @ 4:15 pm

    • You know I’d love to live closer to you — alas, we’ll have to settle for visits for now!

      Comment by llcall — March 6, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

  4. Love it! I know what you mean about the brave four year old. Teresa wouldn’t even try a cartwheel, because she wasn’t four yet. Once she was four she could do a cartwheel. Thanks for sharing all the cuteness with us(and reminding us of days past with our own) Enjoy this year!

    Comment by enelo — March 3, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    • Four must really sound like big stuff to little kids! I can still picture Teresa at that age; what a cutie she was/is!

      Comment by llcall — March 6, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

  5. Lindsay: I stumbled upon you through a post from my brother-in-law Pat’s blog about your husband’s blog. Found your comments and instantly became curious of the woman behind the man. I just love your words of wisdom. We have two children with one being special needs and we are always looking for words of encouragement. “Being smart isn’t what’s important, working hard is!” has now become my favorite as my daughter is one of the hardest working children I know! Congratulations and thank you very much for sharing your “growth mindset” successes. I believe Addison’s approach will develop just beautifully with a Mom of your values. Kudos!

    Comment by Lea Laschober — March 4, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! It’s really cool to hear that this concept resonates for others in their parenting, especially when caring for a special needs child since that is something we see in our future as well.

      Comment by llcall — March 6, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

  6. Perfect Strangers! Oh, that took me BACK! I had such a crush on Balki when I was 6!

    “All these concepts that some people (including strangers at the playground) have told me are a lost cause at this age are finally starting to sink in.” could also read: “All these concepts that some people (including my now-humbled friend Victoria who has teased me mercilessly about this tendency) have told me are a lost cause at this age are finally starting to sink in.”

    Addison’s grasp of the growth concept is inspiring. And the HARD WORK you’ve put in to teach it to her is as well. I need to work harder on this. I’m still reading the book, and it really is so good!

    Happy fourth year, Addison!

    Comment by Victoria — March 8, 2014 @ 2:57 am

  7. She blows me away 🙂

    Comment by Nikki Devey — March 13, 2014 @ 2:55 am

  8. I know I’m not supposed to say it, but SHE”S SO SMART!

    Comment by Jessica — March 17, 2014 @ 2:41 am

    • Haha — just don’t let her hear it! 😉

      Comment by llcall — March 23, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  9. !!! I love it! Happy birthday to one hard-working, fear-facing, frugal girl! (I need to read that book)

    Comment by alysastewart — March 28, 2014 @ 2:10 am

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