Sunday, March 15, 2009

Esther is 3.5

Dear Esther,

A few days ago you turned 3 and a half years old. As I tell you sometimes, you are almost EXACTLY like the little girl I always dreamed I would have. In my dreams, the little girl's hair was a bit darker than yours, and she was a bit more cheeky than you are, but there's no doubt that she was only a dream of what might be one day and you are exactly who you are and I am delighted with you.

You have solidly figured out what teasing is and you like to be teased about funny things and you enjoy teasing back. Daddy and I can almost always bring you out of the start of a tantrum by telling a funny joke, although you have been known to say "I'm not teasing!" when we pretend you are teasing us when you say you don't want to go to bed.

Since we've started meal planning, your breadth of appetite has increased. I think it's the balance between offering foods often enough so they are familiar but not too often that you get bored. Oh, and the quarters I give you for each bite of a new food that you put in your mouth and chew one time probably helps as well (limit of 4 quarters per meal). Once you figure out you like the new food you usually forget about the quarters.

You seem to also be learing about self control. I can see you get frustrated with Ruthie and start to get mad and then hold yourself back from hitting her. Now that I think about it, you hardly ever hit her intentionally, but it is really hard for you to keep from grabbing toys out of her hands. You are very willing to rough-house with her and will let her sit on your stomach and play horsie. You give her a hug and a kiss every Monday and Tuesday when the two of you part in the hallway to go to your respective classrooms.

After a phase where you would read nothing but Dora books, you are now willing to let me read you some of the other 250 books that we have in the house. And since I clearly like giving money to the library in the form of overdue fines, we are checking out books again from the library. They had a lovely display on Ezra Jack Keats, and it was all I could do to keep from grabbing all of them to check out. I also like finding books that I had as a child, except that I don't know it until I see it, and then I can picture sitting on the orange shag carpet on the floor in the den in my childhood home and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You seem to exhibit some of the traits of a "sensitive child" and I am reading a book to figure out how to help you. I LOVE it that you will not talk to strangers in public, and I think it's very wise that you are wary of new situations. I am your fierce protector, explaining to the woman who runs the gymnastics class that I understand perfectly that it is their preference that parents not be in the gymnastics room and that I will happily take you out of the course if she cannot work with us and let me sit by the door. Because it is their sort of unofficial policy. I understand, I agree with it. Believe you me, I want to go get coffee and sit and chat with the other neighborhood mommies. But that's just not going to work for you. I DID NOT and WILL NOT apologize for your behavior, because THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH NOT WANTING TO BE LEFT IN A ROOM FULL OF KIDS YOU DON'T KNOW AND ADULTS WHO KEEP GETTING IN YOUR FACE AND ASKING YOU WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO COME AND JUMP IN THE HOOPS?!?! Instead, I kneel down in front of you and calmly repeat, "I am not leaving you. The other mommies and daddies will leave, but I will not leave you. It's okay, you can go play. I will not leave." It was difficult for you to leave my lap during the first class, but the next week you did everything the teachers asked, just checking every few minutes to make sure I was still in "the mommy spot" right next to the door. I'm glad I trusted my instincts.

Daddy is still your preferred parent 85% of the time if both of us are around. And that's still okay with me.

After seeing a kid on a real Like-A-Bike at Second Sunday last week, you remembered that we had a pedal-less bike from Miss Vickie and Teo. After practicing on it for a couple days, you are now REALLY proficient and can lift both feet off the ground for a couple seconds if you are going down a gentle slope. Video will be coming soon.

We spend about 75% of our day with either me pretending to be a baby or a little girl and you are the mommy or with you being the mommy to ola-baby, tammy baby, big baby, or the sister dolls (big sister and little sister). I really must post pictures of these dolls and their antics soon, because our readers would just not believe the high jinks that these babies get into. Why, just the other day, big sister hit little sister on the head and so the mommy made big sister sleep on the shelf and little sister got to have a band-aid. You will do almost ANYTHING I want you to if you are the mommy and I am the baby or little girl. It is also very enlightening for me to see how you behave as the mommy. We've done some of this role playing to help you get ready for new situations (like the gymnastics class) and it really seems to help.

I really, really enjoy spending time with you Esther. Whether we are sorting laundry, cleaning the steps, setting the table, or playing chase anywhere, anytime, I like hanging out with you. I can see now how it's a slippery slope for mothers to lose themselves into their children. Because 95% of the time, I'd rather be with you than anywhere else in the entire world.

What a lame post with no pictures. It's supposed to be nice weather today and I'm hoping to add some video to this post of you on your bike.


Rachel et Natalie said...

I have tears in my eyes --wonderful thoughts -it is simply LOVE

Sandy said...

Thank you for sharing!

Stimey said...

She'll love reading this some day. Happy half birthday to her.

Laurie said...

Happy day to Esther!

Silvia said...

We do a lot of pretend play "Mom you're the baby and I'm the daddy. Now cry baby. It's ok, it's ok" but I bet yours lasts longer than these phrases being repeated multiple times.

Marya said...

This is so wonderfully written. This will be such a gift for her when she is older. When I turned 18 my Mom gave me a note she wrote me on my 1st birthday and I still have it. Happy 1/2 birthday Esther.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

That is so sweet! It's so nice to look back over a period of time and reflect, because each day has such tiny incremental changes that you don't notice the trends.

Happy (belated) Half Birthday!

(PS - I had orange shag carpet in my bedroom and a thing for Ezra Jack Keats as well!)

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