Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

SteelyKid at three years

SteelyKid will be three on Sunday.

We held a birthday party for her this weekend, inviting her daycare classmates and the kids she regularly runs around with on the playground at pickup time. It was very casual, cookout food in our backyard, and only three of her friends made it, plus one older sib. It was nevertheless kind of absurdly exhausting, so I'm just as glad that so few kids were able to come (and she was happy as anything with playing with the ones who did).

She was very herself during the party—pressing juice boxes on all her friends, rolling around in a giant inflatable ball, getting occasionally upset because she wanted to do something herself but sharing and taking turns with other kids pretty well. And a couple of the other parents remarked on how talkative she is and what fun she and their kids have playing together.


Rolling the giant inflatable ball, a present from her Aunts Erin and Stasia:

rolling giant inflatable ball

Inside the ball, before being rolled around with it:

inside giant inflatable ball

And enjoying her cake, dressed in her bathing suit:

mmm, cake

And then for the more detailed developmental notes:

My favorite things to watch develop remain her language skills and her imagination, which go together, of course. She got the future tense back in February, and her spoken language steadily becomes more complex. For about the last month or so, her catchphrase has been "I was thinking," as in "I was thinking we could go to a playground." She frequently talks in paragraphs—repetitive, start-and-stop paragraphs as she searches for words and phrases, but nevertheless several sentences on the same topic.

While she's had the concept of "pretend" for several months (in the spring it was our pretend birthdays basically every day), and also has used "real" as previously mentioned here, she also has the living-half-in-a-dream thing that I understand is (and recall) being typical of little kids. Chad gets really good stories when he picks her up from daycare and pushes her on the swings (so hard that the chains go slack, as she demands). Here's one from his blog:

she spotted the moon in the sky, and announced her intention to kick it, leading into a long and fanciful story about how she kicked the moon down from the sky onto the playground, and it rode on the merry-go round, and went down the slide, and then it was sad so she picked it up and threw it back up in the sky.

Or earlier this month, she sang him "Wheels on the Bus" but had the wipers going "cross the sky," because

"The wipers just went POP! and they went way up in the air, and they stuck there 'cause they got caught by a shark. The shark got the wipers' handle, went poke poke poke, then dropped them and the driver caught them and put them back on the bus."

(As reported on Twitter: one, two, three, and wow do I have an overly-developed sense of responsibility for citing my sources.)

So that is pretty awesome. She also continues to display a very distinct, though sometimes puzzling, sense of humor. The other night she tried sneaking up on me as a joke, for instance, which is understandable, but tonight it was the funniest thing in the world to toss a very small beachball over my head and then run and get it.

In the Terrible Twos/Threes vein, her mood swings from high to low and back again seem more extreme than they used to be, but I'm not sure that they're more frequent or extended. We tend to go through phases of a week or two where she's brittle (today, for instance, the news that she had to eat all her dinner before she had cake—which is something she not only knows, but tells us basically every single day—was the end of the world), and then phases of less distinct length where she's cheerful and resilient (less distinct because it's easier to remember the bad times, at least for me). We try to encourage her to get herself out of the freakouts [*] by telling her that we know she's upset, and if she can stop crying and tell us what she'd like to do, we can talk about it (and then encourage her when there are minute pauses in the crying, etc.). Sometimes this works by itself, and sometimes we need more active prompting ("would you like X") or distractions to get past it. One night she and I were by ourselves, I mishandled it, and the freakout lasted a full 29 minutes, of which a good portion involved her facedown on the floor—I felt awesome about that, let me tell you. (But in the articulate vein, I was impressed that she could tell me, through the gasping sobs, "I want my pacifier because I'm crying!")

[*] Which I did a lot more consciously and deliberately after this Slate article about anxiety and gender, but was in line with our general approach of trying not to be overprotective anyway. See also the much-blogged NYT article on too-safe playgrounds.

Speaking of pacifiers, we are working up to her giving them away after her birthday. She's decided she wants to send them to the babies on Mythbusters that Adam and Jamie took candy away from, so we'll be putting a big envelope in the mailbox next week (I don't actually know if we'll really mail it or not). I'm bracing myself for a tough few cold-turkey days, but I don't see what else we can do: we're already down to only when she sleeps and in the car, and she steadfastly refuses all attempts to gradually reduce those.

(Next after those is ditching her bottles. Don't be like us: listen to the advice on dental hygiene, or you too will seriously regret it!)

She also is sort of halfway on toilet training: we get lots of notes from daycare that she does great, and she almost always demands to use the toilet during the bedtime/naptime ritual, but most of the rest of the time at home she isn't interested (even after we bumped up the reward structure). We're trying not to get too frustrated about it because it doesn't seem like it will help, though it's not easy. (We think that it's partly the lack of peer pressure/example at home, plus her tendency to get absorbed in stuff. On the other hand, even when she's not distracted by other things, like first thing in the morning, more often than not she refuses.) So if anyone has specific experience with this kind of difference in attitude between home and daycare, I'd love to hear about it.

But in happier news, she is now falling asleep without us in the room! Chad gets all the credit for this: after I posted to plan_survive, he had decided to try leaving the room before she fell asleep, talked about it with her, instituted a plan where he set a timer and then came back to check on her, and had it work successfully by just one week later. This is really huge for us, and mostly I mean him, because he generally does bedtime and it takes her forever to fall asleep.

Okay, that has been a lot of rambling. In shorter news: still a roller-coaster toddler, loves climbing (at which she gets ever-more scarily good) and running and flipping and spinning and jumping and all that. She & I went on a teacup-type carnival ride in May and that was the best thing ever; I can't wait until I can take her to a real amusement park. She can get her sneakers on by herself, and most of the time on the correct feet, too. (You can also see her fine motor skills on display in the last picture dumps link.)

She can now roll her tongue (got the gene from Chad). We gave her Chad's old digital camera and she delights in taking pictures with it (very blurry ones, because I turned off the flash) and always says "awww" when she looks at a picture she's taken of people. She stopped being obsessesed with Good Eats a few months ago and is now full-time about Mythbusters (we don't watch kids TV with her, because, well, we don't like it. And because we try to limit her sedentary screen time.)— I particularly liked it when she declared that she was being "pretend Adam" and poked things until they blew up. She's in a "Mommy must do everything" phase just now, which is unfortunate, but eventually it too will pass.

And she seems excited about FutureSibling. We know that will be stressful for her, but at least she's pleased about the concept going in and is being her usual affectionate, demonstrative self toward the baby in my belly.

As is traditional, the picture links from Chad's blog since last time (six months, yeesh):


And I have to point out the new genre of political commentary using SteelyKid (two examples is totally a genre), because it cracks me up:

Finally, a tiny ridiculous video in which SteelyKid imitates a crash-test vehicle by running headlong into the couch, which is one of her favorite things to do:

As always, no unsolicited advice (but genuine questions as memory-prompts are fine, because despite this ridiculous length, I'm sure there are things I mean to talk about).

A couple quick ETAs: she's delighted to have mastered the concept of counting things once and only once, except she holds a grudge against the number ten for some reason and refuses to acknowledge its existence. And she occasionally gets upset because she wanted to do something herself, except she hadn't told us that she wanted to, which I think is evidence that she doesn't have theory of mind yet.

ETA August 12: at her checkup today, she was 32 pounds 11 ounces, nearly 75th percentile, and 39 inches, 75th-90th percentile.

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Tags: steelykid, steelykid: developmental updates

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