Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Letter to Lucia: 34 Months

Dear Little One,

You are precariously close to three, and oh, have you been giving us a run for our money already. But the good things first: There are hours—days—when you are just so cute. You sing funny songs (in the Whole Foods checkout line today, peppy and tuneless: “I love grocery shopping!...I love the grocery store!...I love buying things!”). You say things in funny ways (o-gin shoom = the orange spoon; nooles = noodles; chockit = chocolate). You wail about the heat and demand air conditioning as soon as you get in the car, truly making you your mother’s daughter.

You have some new bedtime rituals, all of which are ways to delay the inevitable moment when I actually leave the room and you must go to sleep. “Can you arrange my animals?” you ask, and I arrange the twenty-some animals you sleep with each night. You know in which part of the crib each one lives, and if I or Daddy put one in the wrong place, you think it’s outrageous: “That doesn’t go there!” Your crib is extremely crowded, but I may as well just forget about taking any animals out. I tried to sneakily remove one this week, and as soon as you got into your crib you looked around and immediately asked for it. After the animals are arranged, you ask for a drink of water. Then you lie down so I can cover you with your blanket. Then you flip onto your back and say “Oh! My blanket!” I cover you again. Then you ask for a hug. Then I must cover you again. Then your leg comes free. Etc. Somehow, eventually, I manage to leave the room, while you make kissy sounds at me from your crib.

You are almost fully potty trained. It happened quickly, as I thought it might. You still wear a diaper at night and naptime, and I still put you in a pull-up when we leave the house since you’ve never attempted a public toilet. But when we were in Rochester two weeks ago, you easily adapted to the bathroom at the hotel and at Great-Grandma’s house (“Old Grandma,” you called her). We have a little ways to go, but the end of diapers is in sight. Sometimes you even forget to ask for chocolate raisins (your reward).

You’ve been coming out of your shell for a while now, and that is continuing. At the swimming pool, which is a veritable free-for-all when it comes to toys (if it’s on the edge of the pool even for a second, it’ll be grabbed by another child), you’ve gotten much more assertive about taking your toys back from other children. You still ask me to accompany you at times and do the requesting, but other times you just go right up and take care of it yourself. I watched you walk all the way across the pool last week and yell at a boy through the sprinkler-rainfall thing, “I want my bucket baaaack!” And if a child at the pool approaches you and wants to play—you’re in, all smiles and giggles. Gone (for the most part) is the Lucia who’d run at the merest eye contact. You seem thrilled at the chance to interact with someone your age.

But oh, do we have our days. Something sets you off, and suddenly you’re not the little Lucia we know; in her place is a wild thing who hits and kicks Greta, hits and kicks us, screams bloody murder endlessly, throws her toys. There is no predicting when the transformation will happen, and we’ve found no consistently effective way to make it stop. It is exhausting, and frustrating, and some days it goes on and on and on. Leaving the house usually calms things down for a while; but often, the very second we come back in the door, it starts again.

We have our theories. One is that you’re still adapting to our new house and all the attendant changes. Another is that Greta is crawling and curious and determined to get into all your stuff. Whatever you’re playing with, Greta tries to grab (and chew). Another is just that you’re bored: making trouble is a way to shake things up. I’m trying to get some things lined up for fall—a music class; a playgroup; other things to come—so we don’t do quite so much playing at home. It’s the long hours of just the three of us that seem to lead to trouble. You’re fine, incidentally, with our thrice-weekly morning babysitter—you have a wonderful time with her and are nothing but sweet. We need some new things to do, some new faces around. Both of us, really.

Favorite toys/activities: painting, sandbox, anything in quantity, foam animal and letter stickers, Lambies (Pink Lambie, White Lambie, Other White Lambie), Sit n’ Spin, chalk, puzzles, the sprinkler, the Maplewood pool, playgrounds, visiting the Babar stuffed animal at the library

Favorite books: Toot & Puddle books, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Brontorina, Frances books, Patterson Puppies books

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