Three.

(This post is two months late, but still.)

Three is here.  Between negotiating desserts, losing tickle fights, comforting middle of the night woes, supervising playground adventures, worrying over preschool transitions, bemoaning potty training, making up stories, giving hugs, wiping sticky fingers, quelling tantrums, and dispensing band aids, I somehow didn’t see three coming– but here it is.

Three is communication.  She doesn’t just speak in words, sentences, or even paragraphs, but in stories.  These stories begin with an earnest, “Do you know what?”, followed by a detailed account of her day, her friendships, her feelings.  She knows phrases now: “What a coincidence!”, “In the meantime…”, “CLEARLY…”  She uses “like” as a filler, making her sound eerily like a very small teenager. We ride on my bike to her preschool, and I listen to the cadence of her voice even as the words get lost in the wind.

Three is learning.  Big words emerge from her small body.  She can recognize numbers, and almost every letter of the alphabet.  The days of having conversations over her head are gone: three is always listening.

Three is emotion. She is full of strong opinions, about everything from breakfast to bath time.  While most of the time these opinions are expressed through a fairly contained pout or wagging finger, if she’s overstimulated or overtired, FEELINGS.  She will cry a million tears if served on the wrong colour of plate and will throw herself to the ground over any suggestion of bedtime.

Three is stubborn.  Three has an opinion about everything.  What she should wear, what she should eat, what she should be allowed.  What we should wear, what we should eat, what we should be allowed too.  She has perfected the art of passive resistance and, if greeted with a suggestion she doesn’t like, will quietly and determinedly slump onto the nearest surface and refuse to move until her demands have been met.

Three is generosity.  A segment of orange proffered in an outstretched hand, a soft song for her crying brother, an offer to let me wear her gloves on a cold day.  She loves many things, but is not greedy.

Three is imagination.  Three wants to go to outer space, but not really because she is going to live with me and Sea forever and always.  Three’s dolls talk to each other.  So do her mittens, and her socks.  Three feeds me imaginary soup out of a plastic cup and makes up words to songs in a beautifully high, off-key voice.

Three is curiosity.  Three’s eyes are always wide open, resisting sleep for as long as possible and greeting each morning wide awake.  She asks “why?” a thousand times a day then, no matter how I respond, asks it again.

Three is love. One of my greatest joys right now is watching her become a big sister.  She loves Powerball with a depth that quells any doubt I had about adding another small person to our lives.  She has a strong sense of (in)justice and will complain bitterly on Powerball’s behalf if we judge him too small to do something.  She pats my back when she thinks I need comfort, and holds my cheeks between her small hands. Three reminds me that love is unconditional, and can be found even in the middle of the largest tantrum or the most sleepless of nights.

Three is full of anticipation: she is excited to go to see new things, to learn how to read, to start school (in September!), to grow up.  She asks to ride on my shoulders so that she reach what’s above her and see what’s ahead.  I lift her up willingly, even though she’s getting too big.  While she looks forward and enjoys the view, I take the opportunity and hold on tight.

   

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