Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kate at Three and a Half-ish

{Taken at Calico Basin, 11-11-15, age 3 years 8 months}

Kate has several animals and dolls that she keeps on her bed. She calls them her "kids." Her [always naked] baby doll and her leopard are the two most important, but she's also got three little bunnies (one named Bella, after her friend), a small pink bear she named Jayson, and a dog she named Ruffy. She often totes them around the house and then makes us scramble to find them at bedtime. If we forget, she'll get out of bed and call from the top of the stairs that she needs to get her "kids."

Jaynie and Kate play well together--they are fast friends. Unfortunately for Kate, however, Jayne is no longer easy-going when Kate tries to take away whatever she's playing with. She makes some pretty awesome "that's not fair!" noises until I make Kate give back whatever it is she had.

Kate is patient and kind. Her default setting is cheerful. She likes to observe before diving into experiences, but she's also friendly and outgoing. She is articulate and is learning to negotiate, which leaves me half annoyed and half secretly delighted.

Semantics are big right now in our house, and it's exhausting. Usually manifested like this:

Me: "Kate, don't dump out all Jayne's drawers."
Kate: "I didn't dump them out."
Me: "Yes, you did. Look at this huge mess you made."
Kate: "I didn't make a mess."
Me: "Look at all the stuff you dumped in Jayne's bed!"
Kate: "I made a pile."
Me: Kate, I don't want you playing with that pin. Please put it on the table.
Kate: I'm not playing with it.
Me: I don't want you to touch it. Please put it on the table.
Kate: I'm not touching it.
Me, exasperated: Then what are you doing?
Kate: I'm holding it.
Me: Kate! Don't draw on the couch with crayons.
Kate: I wasn't drawing. I was writing.
Me: Kate, if you keep biting your nails, I'm going to stop snuggling with you.
Kate: I'm not biting my nails.
Me: Okay, stop putting your fingers in your mouth.
Kate: I'm not putting my fingers in my mouth.
Me: What are you doing, then?
Kate: I'm licking my fingers.
With her aptitude for finding loopholes, she'll probably be a lawyer.

Lately there's been a lot of, "Mom, you aren't listening. Mom, you're taking too long." And then she turns my reinforcement strategies right back on me: "Mom, I really like it when you listen to me. I really like it when you do what I ask you to." She's also pretty good with her manners: "Excuse me, Mom. Excuse me, can I talk to you?" Though sometimes it's more like, "Excuse me, Mom; 
Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom..." starting at a low volume and gradually getting louder.

Kate stopped taking naps a couple months ago, and I finally conceded she was old enough I didn't need to force her to sleep anymore. But I still needed some sanity, so I told her she had to have quiet time while Jayne was asleep. After a week or so of playing quietly in her room, I told her it was time for quiet time and she said, "I don't want to have quiet time! I want to take a nap!" And sure enough, she's taken a nap about 80% of the time since. If I'd known that all I had to do to get her to nap was remove the sleep mandate, I would have done it a long time ago.

She's always talking about her friends and her cousins, even the ones she doesn't see often. The other day she was singing a song "for Jeremy and Morgan;" she often confirms that she's still older than her cousins Sam and Levi; and she uses her second cousin, Brooke, as proof that she's still little at least once a week ("Mom, I still get a sippy cup because I'm littler than Brooke."). She knows where all her cousins and aunts and uncles live, and she asks me to point to "Was Begas," Colorado, St. George, Wyoming, Salt Lake, "Canifornia," and Texas all the time on our map wall upstairs.

Recently Kate was chattering away about the things she learned in preschool ("Joy means happiness!"), and I was half paying attention when she said, "Happiness is better than penist." 

"What was that, Kate?"
"Happiness is better than penist, huh Mom?"
"What's penist?" I asked. 
"You know, it's what boys have." 
"That's a penis," I said, and then we moved on to other topics.
I couldn't figure out what she was talking about until a few minutes later I realized that to her, it must sound like hapenis, not happyness, and I thought that was so funny.

She loves preschool and her teacher, Ms. Shannon. One [non-preschool] day out of nowhere, Kate said, "Mommy, I want to change mommies." 
"Who do you want to be your mommy?" I asked. 
"Um, Shannon."
I said, "I know you love Shannon. How about she will be your teacher and I will be your mommy?"
She seemed okay with that. Phew.

She calls The Incredibles "The Increbiboes."

She's a deep sleeper, and sometimes on the days she does nap, I have to wake her up when she sleeps too long. A few weeks ago, I went into her room and curled up next to her on her bed and snuggled her and cried because I love her so much and she's growing so fast and I want to appreciate her more. I still do that sometimes--lie next to her and hold her when it's time for her to wake up--and I realized that sometimes I don't see her; I don't always look at her little face when she talks to me or give my full attention to her endless chattering. I don't sit down and play with her as much as I should. I know of a couple people who lost their sweet babies this year, and it has really been a wake up call to me for how important it is to be present and appreciate everyday moments. And when she eventually wakes up, she throws out her arms in a stretch and then turns her head to face mine on the pillow. She gives me a sleepy smile, eyes half-lidded, and says, "I wuv you, Mom."