Last week I reflected on the best bits of having a 12 month old, a great age when lots of exciting development is happening and the personality of that little person is starting to shine through. And my Miss One is a real joy to watch, as I’m sure everyone feels about their own kids…. I won’t mention how I feel about her when she keeps me up from 11pm until 2.30am and then wakes again at 5.30am! Having a three year old is quite different, still wonderful in many ways but it also brings up new and sometimes difficult parenting challenges. It doesn’t help when I’m often dealing with some of these frustrations in a state of severe sleep deprivation either. However, I’m being positive here and I think it will be good for me to think about all the things I love about spending much of my days in the company of a three year old.
1. You can actually have a conversation with Miss Three.
She is an unashamed and highly enthusiastic chatterbox. She does. not. stop! EVER… she even talks in her sleep. But you can ask her a questions and she responds, with lots of detail. She tells amazing stories, loves talking in hypothetical scenarios (“What would happen if there was no water in the tap Mum?” “I don’t know, Miss Three, what do you think would happen?” “We could take all the duplos and build a factory and make the water for everyone.” I don’t know where the ideas come from, but they always make me smile.) On our long car trips, especially the ones where it’s just the girls and I, we have great chats (until she inevitably falls asleep). I hope we can continue this as she gets older, if a day comes that she doesn’t want to talk to me I will be very sad.
2. She is a great sleeper!
It hasn’t always been so and at different times she has been wakeful during the night or has been terribly painful to get to bed, but now she tells us when she ready – always at a reasonable time – loves a couple of books read to her and a quick snuggle then she sleeps until somewhere between 7-8.30am. There are exceptions, if she’s had a sleep during the day she gets up several times to “go to the toilet” despite not actually needing to or if Miss One is crying particularly loudly for an extended period and she does like to push the limits with babysitters. But mostly she’s great! I appreciate that.
3. She can be quite helpful.
We all know how ‘helpful’ young children can be in the garden or the kitchen, that is, not helpful at all! But Miss Three can be helpful at other times, she gets things for me when I’ve got Miss One on the change table and can’t leave her. She sits with her sister and tries to keep her entertained when I’m getting dinner ready during arsenic hour. She carries things out to the car when I’ve run out of hands and don’t want to make a second trip. She gets herself into her carseat and puts her belt on ready for me to click them into the buckle. Of course, she can also be the complete opposite of helpful at times, but I’ll choose to ignore that right now.
4. She is quite the entertainer.
Dancing, singing, story telling, acting, she can do it all and does on a daily basis. Her repertoire is extensive and ever growing, while the tones may not exactly be soothing, the enthusiasm is overwhelming. The evening concert is an extremely funny thing to watch, even better now that Miss One tries to join in as well. What I love most is her confidence, not something I share with her. She’s not the kind of kid that needs to be the centre of attention when we’re with others unless she knows them well, but in company that she’s comfortable with there is no holding her back.
5. The increasing independence.
It wasn’t until recently that Miss Three was really interested in mastering some skills on her own. She was happy to play on the ‘I’m too little’ line to get help with things that she should have been able to do on her own or to get others working at her beck and call. Now it’s all about “I’m a bigger girl, I can do it” as she tries to get herself dressed or undressed, cut up her food or ride her trike. She’s determined to choose her own clothes each day which I usually allow. She has an interesting sense of style and firmly believes that if she wears shorts and a t-shirt it will suddenly become summer, I only wish that were true. Our compromise is shorts and t-shirts over the top of leggings and a long sleeved top. I have to hide certain shoes that she has grown out of but will insist still fit if she catches sight of them. A growing sense of independence is great, there is less pressure on me to do everything for her, but it also brings its own challenges as I try to reason with her when her decision-making is questionable. Anyone who’s ever tried to reason with a three year old will know just how well that can go.
Three is still so young, but you can see a lot happening in that mind of hers. I can start to see her as a kindy kid and a school girl, there are glimpses of the teenager she is destined to be (that attitude can set in early it seems). But at the same time I know she’s still got a while at home with me before her world expands to the school yard and my influence on her lessens.
I’m sure Liz with have some gardening wisdom in her top five tonight, though I haven’t seen what it is as yet.