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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Gordon-Chow

Letter to a Four-Year Old

Updated: May 28, 2023

Hey bug,


I can't sleep tonight. I keep thinking about today and want to say I am sorry.


I haven't been the best mom to you today, have I?


I can't believe I forgot it was Show and Tell day at school! I don’t know what I was thinking. I am sorry we didn't put your favorite Mickey Mouse pencil in your bag. You have been working so hard on the 'p' sound! "P, pencil, puhhh." I know you are so proud! I am too. I am not sure I tell you that enough. I am so proud of you! Were you the only one of your friends without something to show from home? Gosh, I feel terrible. 

I wish I didn’t forget things.

I am sorry.


At breakfast, when you dropped the box of cereal, spilling it all over the floor, I got pretty angry, huh? I was just so mad! Sometimes I feel like all I do every day is clean up messes. It makes me so tired. I get so sick of cleaning up messes! I know you really like to get your own breakfast. You are such a big boy now. You were just trying to do things for yourself like we have been working on. You are doing such a great job! I know you didn’t mean to drop the cereal and it was an accident. We all have accidents, right? That is how we learn.  I shouldn't have yelled.

I wish I didn’t yell so much.

I am sorry. 


I’m also sorry for being the last parent to pick you up from school today. I hate it when that happens. I try really hard to get to school first, because I know you like that. You always ask me to get there first because you can’t wait to come home and play together. You were probably disappointed to have to wait longer for me today. I had a pretty awful day at work and left later than usual.  Right when I was getting ready to leave the office I got an important phone call. Turns out, I made a big mistake at work (kind of like how I forgot your Mickey pencil). And it is probably going to make a lot of people upset. People who count on me to do things right. A lot of people count on me, I guess. I disappointed the people at work, just like I disappointed you. But I didn’t mean to. I really don’t want to disappoint you. You are my bug… my sweetheart… I love you so so much. Did I tell you that enough today? 

I wish I told you more.

I am sorry.


Oh! I want to tell you too, you know that the fishing pole you made, the one with the dog leash you tied to the end of the curtain rod? That was so creative of you! You have such a wonderful imagination! I am sorry I didn’t tell you what a good job you did making it! When you and your brother were fighting because he wanted it and you didn’t want to give it to him I shouldn’t have taken it away from you. I know you were just excited about it and really wanted to play with it. It’s just, you guys fight over everything, all the time! I don’t like it when you fight. I lose my patience. I know. Sometimes it is hard to stay patient especially when I am frustrated. I am frustrated a lot. But that isn’t your fault. I’m so sorry.  Maybe tomorrow you can show your brother how to make his own fishing pole. You’re a great teacher – I bet he would love that! Doing that will even help you practice patience!  

I wish I had more patience.

I am sorry.


Bedtime was so hard tonight, buddy. It took us over an hour! That’s a long time! I know you don’t like those footie jammies, but that was the last clean pair. Your favorite superhero ones are in the washing machine. I am sorry I forgot to put them in the dryer. I don’t think I’ll ever finish all of our laundry. You got pretty upset about not being able to wear your favorite jammies. Sometimes I get upset about things like that too. Still, you shouldn’t splash water all over the bathroom and dump the clothes in the laundry basket all over the floor! And you have to brush your teeth, bug.  I am sorry I had to brush them for you, you just wouldn’t cooperate! It has to get done, you know that. Maybe I could’ve been more gentle, you were just making it so hard for me! Why were you making it so hard? Were you tired? Did you have a bad day too? Maybe that was it. But bug, you can’t throw things at me! When you threw the book and hit me in the lip, it really hurt. I got really upset. I’m sorry I left your room quickly and told you daddy would be putting you to bed.  I am sorry I had had enough. Adults call that reaching their limit. You know, like when you get really mad at your brothers because they’re bothering you or won’t stop taking your stuff? That’s kinda how I felt. I just needed a break, a time out! I’m sorry I didn’t read you a book, or rub your back like you like. Snuggling at bedtime is my favorite too – I’m sorry we didn’t do that tonight. Ugh, I am really sorry that I wasn’t there for you. I try to be, but sometimes I just don’t do a great job. Being a mom can be so hard sometimes. 


I wish I could do better.

I am sorry.


Will you forgive me?

I love you bigger than the whole world, bug!

~Your mama


Dear mama,

Today was such a great day!


You are the best mom in the whole world.


At Show and Tell today I showed my teacher and my friends the watch I was wearing, the one you and daddy bought me for my birthday. I know watch doesn’t start with ‘p’… but it has a puppy on it! “p…puppy…puhhh!” That is perfect, right?! My friend in class didn’t have anything for Show and Tell. I didn’t want her to feel badly so I helped her find a pink crayon to show the class. She was so happy. My teacher said I did a great job! I was helpful and kind, right, mama?


Thank you for teaching me.


At snack today I spilled my cup of water all over the floor. It was an accident, just like when I spilled the box of cereal. I was pouring the water from the pitcher into my cup and it tipped over. I didn’t mean it. I cleaned it up though – it was hard work! I mopped it up with the little mop in the classroom and then helped the teacher put more water in the pitcher. Sometimes the pitcher has too much water and is really heavy and I feel like I might drop it. I tried to be careful but had an accident. Accidents happen! I did my best though, right mama?


Thank you for teaching me.


School was so much fun today. I didn’t even want to come home! In the gym, where you pick me up, I got to do the balance beam! I wasn’t even afraid! Before, I thought I might fall off, so I never tried it. But today it looked like it would be fun, so I decided to try. It was and I didn’t even fall off!  I can’t wait to show you how I do it. I was so brave, right mama?


Thank you for teaching me.


How do you like the fishing pole I made? I am sorry I broke your window stick, but it is so cool, huh?! I did a great job! Papa says one day he will take me fishing. Do you think I can catch fish with my fishing pole? My brothers love it! They wish they had one too. I didn’t share mine today because I really wanted it, but maybe I will share tomorrow. Oh! I have a great idea! Maybe we can help them make their own tomorrow. They would be so happy and papa too! Then we can all have fishing poles and go fishing together. I am so loving and caring, right mama?


Thank you for teaching me.


Today was such a long day! I did so much. I followed the rules at school and played and worked really hard. I was so tired! I am sorry I wasn’t a very good listener at bedtime. I was really upset and frustrated. You always tell me it’s okay to feel frustrated, right mama? I am sorry I threw the book and hit you though. I know that wasn’t okay. Did I hurt you?  I heard you crying when you went to bed. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t mean to make you cry. I really love you. I am going to give you a big hug and kiss in the morning. That will make you feel better. When people are sad, we should try to make them feel better, right mama?


Thank you for teaching me.


I love you bigger than the whole world, mama.

~Your bug

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