Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nearing 3 years

Wow. I sorta can't believe it. Girlie is turning three in a couple weeks. On the one hand, she seems so much older than 2, but on the other hand, her life has really whizzed by. It does happen so quickly.

Harper continues to be the same girl she's always been: inquisitive, sensitive, aware, curious, busy, imaginative, purposeful, energetic. She is very sure of herself, confident in who she is. Even though she is young, she is not especially impressionable. Harper knows what she wants and she has strong opinions. She continues to have an ease with language and communicates really well. Her latest phrases include "Actually..." and "Speaking of_______, (something that relates)" She's learning to ask for things nicely instead of demand or throw fits. "Would you please help me unbutton my shirt, Mama?" was a good example of this tonight. She came to me with this question with tears in her eyes after she'd already tried herself and gotten frustrated.

When the girl is upset, our go-to is to teach her to express how she is feeling and try to tell us what is making her feel that way. We've found that when she gets her feelings validated, she recovers sooooo much quicker-- even when the answer is still no or she still has to do what Mom or Dad is asking. "I can see that you look sad when I ask you to do your potties in the toilet. I am sorry you don't want to do them right now, but we always do potties before naptime. Please obey."

It isn't always natural for me to be so rational all the time, especially on days when things aren't going as well as we'd like, but I am learning, too. My first inclination is to feel frustrated when Harper questions me or tries to disobey, but when I address her this way, I feel like it helps in many ways. 1. I remain calmer and more in touch with her heart. I treat her like a real person who has her own perspective and feelings. 2. She learns to communicate better and bring her feelings out so they can be helped, and she can feel understood. 3. She learns to respect Mom/Dad not out of fear but because we respect her first.

Harper loves school and loves the structured environment where she can play with other kids her age. She prides herself on being a "preschool girl" and reminds us when she's embarassed or not as able as she'd like that she's "still a preschool girl". A good example of this is wiping her own bottom. She hates doing it but we're trying to get her more comfortable with it since it's a pain to have to attend to her throughout the day for tukus-wiping and if she ever does poos at school, that'd be an issue. When she can't wipe well, she tells me, "But I'm still a preschool girl, Mama!" (more to reassure herself than anything).

She reads independently, every day. For the past few months we've made a concerted effort to bring home lots of early reader books from the library each week. A couple weeks ago, I noticed Harper reading in Ethan's club chair and she'd obviously turned on the lamp beside her. She was reading "Fish Out of Water" to herself. It's quite long, about 50 pages, about a fish who is fed too much and grows too large for this and that container... Anyway, she read there for about 10-12 minutes and Jack and I went into the bedroom to talk to Ethan. Shortly after we left the room, Harper came in with her book and leaned against our bed to continue reading it. She finished the last 8 pages in there with us. She'd simply moved to be near us, but she remained interested in her book and finished it there. The last pages I had her read out loud so I could hear her and see that she was really doing this. Then I questioned her a bit about the book and she recalled the whole narrative for me. She really is a gifted kid. We've known this for quite some time, but it surprises even us sometimes.

It can be tough to differentiate which things we can expect to be so grown up about her (i.e. reading, understanding and communicating her own feelings) and which things are more age appropriate (i.e. wiping own bottom). She's definitely in an in between phase and each day she becomes bolder and more of a kid, less of a baby. I wish she'd cuddle more and give me kisses every time I asked, but I am also proud that she knows what she wants and asserts herself.

She's also devastatingly beautiful. I am her mom, but I am just in love with her face, her curls, those puffy, pouty lips, those dark, dark eyes, dramatic lashes, gorgeous skintone...Whew! She says she wants to start ballet after she's three... I'm looking forward to seeing that girl in a leotard and tights, pointing her toes and extending her arms. Every year is fun with Harper. I just love her through and through.


Ruthie said...

No problem. I just removed it.

momof2 said...


Thank you! Sorry for being so neurotic!


Erin Largoza said...

What a precious girl! We love Harper to death too.

mary gendron said...

Wow! She's amazing...and it's not just because you are her mom...Harper's a beauty!