Friday, February 1, 2013

Musings of a 3-Year-Old

Lilly spends her entire Saturday in her ballet clothes :)
Just as Jack is growing up faster than I thought was possible, so is little Lilly.  Even though I still call her, "little one," she's quickly approaching four and not really so little anymore.  She is truly a funny little girl.  Her stories are full of imagination and details that I didn't know were possible.  Lilly and Jim spend hours every weekend telling each other stories that they've made up.  They do the same thing with songs.  Lilly's most recent song, which she was singing to Jim the other night before she went to bed was, "There once was a frog...who sat on a log...who had possibilities..."  Possibilities?  Really?  I was smiling when I heard it from downstairs and Jim came down from putting her to bed laughing, asking if I'd heard her newest creation.  In passing conversation while she was playing with Jim last weekend, she said, "Dad, I wonder who I'm going to marry?  I think maybe Jack.  When he's bigger.  Or maybe you."  This started another whole conversation--again, Jim didn't really know where to start. You can't marry your brother?  I'm already married to Mum?  Conversations with three-year-olds are never dull.

A weekend afternoon with Dad
Every day, her teacher tells me some little snippet of Lilly's school day that makes me laugh.  She's sharp and quick and keeps us on our toes.  On Wednesdays at school, Lilly has French.  She figured out that she has French on the same day that Jack has his swimming lesson.  So this past Wednesday, while I was getting Jack ready for swimming, Lilly was talking about what she thought she was going to learn in French that day.  When I picked her up, Miss Reilly told me that as they were sitting down to snack, which is the last part of their morning before recess, Lilly said, "Hey, wait a minute...when are we going to French?"  According to Miss Reilly, Lilly was the only one who noticed that something was a little bit off with their usual routine.  Her sharpness amazes me and scares me at the same time.  She remembers everything and doesn't let anything slide by.  She's learning how to sound out words and is extremely proud of this newfound ability.  The other day when we were on Skype with Mum and Dad, she was sounding out Papa and Gigi and typing it to them.  I can't believe she's old enough to start reading.

But, as quickly as she's growing up, I have to remind myself often that she's still so little.  She calls coat hangers, "hanger coats."  As with so many things, I know she won't do this forever, and it makes me smile.  So we let it be and enjoy her hanging up her "hanger coats" in her closet.  Lilly wants to know what every word or phrase she hears means.  At night, I'll hear Jim reading to her and her little voice chimes in with, "Dad, what means ______?"  She calls Monterey Jack cheese, "Montessori Jack" cheese.  Lilly does what every inquisitive child does and asks questions about other people while they're standing right next to her.  So at my doctors appointment a few weeks ago, as we were walking out, Lilly pointed to an elderly man and woman who were using walkers and said (in a voice that everyone could hear...), "Mum, why are those people old?" I wasn't quite sure how to get into the whole, "we're all going to be like one day," discussion, but we did talk about how people get older, before she was distracted by a puddle that she could jump in on the way to the car.

After an exhausting afternoon of playing at a friend's house.  Still so little..
As much as she loves learning about the continents and moon, she adores coming home from school and playing.  She loves her ballet class and the strawberry frosted donut with sprinkles that she gets on the way home from ballet.  She loves going to church--I think she loves anything social.  Last weekend, we tried a new church and went to the children's mass.  The priest called all the children up for the homily and had them sit on the alter while he was talking to them.  His homily was about talents, so he told them what a talent was and then explained to them what his talents were.  Then, he asked the children what talents they possessed.  One little boy said he was good at soccer.  Another girl was good at gymnastics.  Lilly's hand shot straight up and she proudly declared that, "I'm a good listener!"  You could hear the quiet laughter throughout the church, as the priest responded, "Oh good...we need more therapists in this world!"  Of all the things to choose, Lilly chose listening.  Probably because it's been a hot topic around our house.  Again, she knows what to say to grownups, and Jim and I just shook our heads and laughed.  She also mentioned today, when she heard me retelling this story, that "the priest wasn't good at drawing, and that we all have to use the talents that God gave us."  If only she'd listen to us like she listens to the priest!

We've had a few months where Lilly has tested every limit, every boundary and challenged almost everything we've asked her to do.  It lasted from about October, when she turned three and a half, until a month or so ago, when I think she figured out that we're not budging on any of these rules.  She has accepted the fact that sometimes she has to wear things other than dresses; that she has to eat her dinner, even if it's not her favorite food; that she has to brush her teeth before she goes to bed.  We had battle after battle after battle, and there were days when I felt like all I was doing was correcting her behavior or telling her she couldn't do something.  Thankfully, I think those days have passed.  For now, anyway.  Lilly can't wait to be, as she says, "another big sister" to this baby, and I can't wait to see her with this brand new baby.      

A mother's view of Lilly's 3-year-old ballet class

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