You are three years and four months old. You are exactly three feet tall, weigh 34 pounds, and have a head of wispy, tangle-prone blonde hair. It is the end of the summer, and your skin is tan. Your knees are dark from play, and you have just a couple of freckles across the bridge of your nose.
Today is your first day of ECE 3 pre-school. I dropped you off at 1230, and your daddy and I will pick you up at 330. You are so excited. This morning your eyes popped open when you woke up, and you said, “oh! I have to get dressed for school!” You chose your outfit with care, executing your favorite combo – a dress and a skirt – yet again. You wore your new cowgirl boots, and I gave you a necklace to wear. It has a bear pendant, and I told you that you could wear it so that “momma bear is always close to your heart.”
Three is a wonderful and fearful age. You are at once clever, funny, sweet, and intense. You are capable of the most surprising conversations and observations, as well as the most remarkable tantrums. You often drive me completely batty from whining. I love you ferociously. I cried to see you there, sitting in a circle with your back straight and your gaze fixed on the teacher. You nodded your head and scrambled to answer questions, just thrilled to be there. The other kids wandered from the circle and struggled to answer the questions posed to them, but you were eager from the start. You patted a spot next you, working in tandem with the teacher to cajole another little girl into the circle. You bravely answered the very first question, and you did not hesitate to correct those who botched your name.
How? How are you this old? I’ve been demanding lots of kisses and snuggles, and I tell you I’m storing them up because I’m going to miss you so much. Last night, you were crabby and tired, and I asked if I could brush your hair and give you a back rub with some special oils. You agreed (you love getting back rubs), and we sat there on the couch, your gaze softening as you relaxed.
You like: kombucha, playing “doctor,” holding baby Bierstadt, playing in the back yard, the zipline at the Children’s Museum, the playground, hunting for fairy treasure, ice cream, peaches, going for short walks around the neighborhood, swinging in the hammock, and spending time with your family. You are most content on “family days.” You like hotels and selecting a stuffed play toy whenever we go to a thrift store. You love swimming, and you’ve gotten so brave over the summer, putting your face in the water and pushing off with your feet in the shallow area.
You dislike: waking up. You absolutely detest waking up from naps. You also detest going down for naps. You don’t like going to the real doctor, and you hate having to wait for food. I think 7/10 of your tantrums start because of wanting a certain snack or wanting it now or not wanting what I’ve offered you. You’re not a big fan of sharing, but I’d actually say that we’ve made a lot of progress since the beginning of the summer, and I trust you a lot more now around the younger kids. Now I give you a look and you’ll give back a toy you’ve surreptitiously yanked out of a younger child’s hand. You also are much, much better at finding toys to give to the little ones, making fair trades, and waiting your turn. Thank god for progress.
Quirks/Traits: I already mentioned the dress/skirt combo (every.single.day). You refuse to have your hair put up. You want it “wild and free.” You’re attached to little stuffed toys, but the honored toy changes from day to day. You are funny and love to make people laugh. You are a great little dancer. You are fabulous at asking questions and showing an interest in those around you. You have an incredible memory and love showing it off. Whenever I don’t remember something you remember, you get mad. When we’re in groups, you are quite persistent in demanding the attention of pretty much anyone other than your parents. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but your needs grow to the meet the capacity of those around you to meet them. AKA more peeps to wait on you = many, many more demands.
I love you so, so much my dear. I’ve had an incredible summer with you, and though I’m already missing afternoons spent having lazy lunches or getting back late from our adventures, I’m excited to establish a new routine. Maybe some earlier mornings, more snacks for the road, and hopefully lots of conversations about the things that you are learning and the friends you are making.