Age 3 is a challenge. (I’ve written about it here.) Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by how hard it is, every moment, and I need the reminder that age 3 is also wonderful. So I’m writing it down, and I have these words to come back to when we’ve had a particularly tough day. Here are the things I find delightful about my daughter at age 3, in no particular order:
We’re currently in the stage where my daughter wants to do everything herself. (If she decides to do it at all, that is.) Putting on her own shoes is one of those things, and I’m happy to let her do it. Statistically, she should get her shoes on the correct feet 50 percent of the time, but this actually only happens about 5 percent of the time. So 95 percent of the time, she’s walking around with the toes of her shoes pointing outward, in different directions. Watching her walk, I picture someone on roller skates whose legs keep getting further apart as they move forward, until she’s straddling the ground and flailing to get herself up. And it cracks me up every time — a sweet and funny reminder of her growing independence. She doesn’t get it exactly right every time, but she’s trying so darn hard.
My daughter has an incredible memory, and she’s constantly amazing me with the things she remembers. Just this morning, we were on our way to school, talking about which baby was in mommy’s belly at various points in time. She told me she was in the hospital after she was born. I agreed that this was true. And then she said, “I had ice cream in the hospital.” I was confused for a second — obviously as a newborn she did NOT have ice cream at the hospital. But then I remembered. The meal delivery woman at MGH DID bring her ice cream when her baby sister was born. Which was 10 months ago. And isn’t something we’ve ever spoken about since the day she got the ice cream. Yet she remembers.
Her level of engagement
I like to listen to NPR on the 45-minute drive to preschool to get my daily dose of news. Sometimes my kiddo is asking (demanding?) me to change it to music, but sometimes she’s listening. Then she asks me: “Who is Elizabeth Warren?” “What is the President?” “Why did you take my sister to a march?” And we have a discussion. She challenges me to think of ways to explain concepts so that she can understand. I delight in her responses, which are sometimes totally reasonable, and other times they make me laugh with amusement. (The 3-year-old brain is the perfect representation of a quote from one of my all time favorite movies: “Where do thoughts come from? They just appear.”) The other day we talked about what it means to protest, and it’s exciting to see her begin to engage on so many different topics.
When my daughter was 2 years old, I bought her a T-shirt that says “Little Citizen.” I liked it so much that I bought it again when she was 3, and I’ll probably continue to do so until it’s no longer available in her size. Writing about these traits of hers that I love (and these are just a few), my challenge as a mom is clear — to foster her independence, to stimulate her mind, and to maintain her level of engagement. To raise a Little Citizen.
What is most amazing to you about your children at their current ages? What do you find challenging?