“Big girl” is what you call yourself these days, when you use the potty and pull up your own pants or do something else independently. Indeed, you’ve taken a lot of big-girl steps in the past few months. You’re almost totally potty trained now, except for nighttime; when we go out, I don’t even worry about accidents anymore, as you seem unfazed by public restrooms (and have proven to have the blad der of a camel). I always ask you if you need to go before we leave the house, and you invariably say no, then follow up with a worried “Will there be a potty there?”
You love preschool, and you haven’t even cried at drop-off the past two times. You are always excited to report what you did at school—particularly that you rode a scooter and in one of those Little Tikes cars during gym time—and practically burst with pride when you show me your art project from the day. At home, you talk a lot about school, and when we play with your (amazing, fantastic, vintage collection of) Little People, the children always do exactly what you do in school. “Now it’s time for snack,” you say. “Now it’s time for gym.” The Little People eat a lot of Cheddar Bunnies and Goldfish.
Now, on the cusp of three, you are dabbling in the world of princesses, thanks to an episode of Olivia that you love—and, I admit, thanks also to my purchases of a tiara (lined with pink fur) and a tutu at a yard sale. You adore your “crown,” and even wear it sometimes in the car when we go places. You have worn it to the grocery store and the playground, and brought it to preschool for show-and-tell. It doesn’t go any further than this—no princess play-acting—and I’m heartened that this might be the beginning of your (inevitable) love of dress-up, in which, until now, you’ve shown zero interest. Let the dress-up-clothes collecting begin!
Though it was not a birthday gift, you got a playhouse this week, which I got for free from someone moving out of state. You love it. Love it. Greta loves it too, and you like to stand together at the table inside, having a snack. You like opening and closing the windows, and stuffing the mailbox slot with grass.
Your very favorite thing in the world at age three—besides your Bibi—is your doll, once called Dolly but now more often called your Baby. She goes most places with us, and you talk to her and play with her like she is truly alive. She is a curious stand-in for Greta, and you care for her exactly as I do Greta; you rock her, nurse her, feed her in a high chair, change her diaper, exclaim that her diaper is “really stinky!”, teach her to walk, observe that she’s “getting big,” etc. Your birthday gifts this year are very much doll-focused. I made Dolly a sleep sack (her own Bibi, which you’ve repeatedly asked for) and a sleeper; found a bunch of new clothes for her at a yard sale; and bought a doll pack-and-play this summer at that amazing church rummage sale. You are getting a doll Ergo and a doll high chair that had been in our attic in Connellsville.
Dolls and princesses—who is this child of mine? I take heart in that you spent most of this afternoon digging in the dirt and stacking found-stones in the overgrown, leaf-strewn, chipmunk-housing “island” in the middle of our circular driveway.
Unfortunately, you’ve ended your second year of life with an explosion of defiance and meltdowns this week—completely uncharacteristic these days. We’ve had weeks and weeks of pleasantness (not every second is wonderful, but most days are fun and good); but your dad went to Germany this week for work and was gone for seven full days, and though your Nina (Andrew’s mom, for unfamiliar readers) was here to help me, your world seemed tilted on its edge, and so you tilted too. Regular things—getting dressed; brushing teeth; being quiet while Greta nursed before her nap—blew up dramatically. (A saving grace: The outbursts were directed at me, not Greta. So that’s something.) Will you want details of these days, how they left me frayed? Will I want them? Or are these the sorts of days a mother is meant to forget, so that one day I’ll look back—as all moms seem to, moms who are out of the young-kid trenches—and miss this time? Because I have to admit that in the back of my mind the past few days, as you neared your birthday, was the thought that each day closer to three is a day closer to a time when you’re NOT three.
But let’s focus on better times, which, fortunately, are what we usually have. Your use of “Actually” and “Otherwise.” Your love of running in (tiny) circles, naked, in the (dungeon-like) shower stall before your bath, singing “Twinkle Twinkle” or just loudly singing a made-up tune. Your funny, intentional mispronunciation of things you’re not exactly sure of—like your teacher, Mrs. Malloy, whom you call “Mrs. Noy” with a little smile to gauge my reaction.
And so you are three. Happy birthday, big girl. May it be a year of crowns and dolls and dress-up. And patience. Lots of that.
Favorite activities/toys: play food, felt bags from Target, Dolly, vintage Little People (especially the blonde mama and a little brown-haired girl), playhouse, playgrounds, sit-and-spin, going to New Hampshire, tiny cubes, princess crown, instruments, listening to music in the car, the song “Ram Sam Sam” from Music Together
Favorite books: Olivia books, Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, Dorrie and the Blue Witch, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, Chicken Soup with Rice (Sendak), Toot and Puddle—You Are My Sunshine