A three-year-old, or Threenager, is a magical creature transitioning between caterpillar and butterfly. Not exactly overnight, your clueless run-into-the-road toddler becomes a child that is able to wait while you go to grab something out of his direct line of sight. Oh sure, you can’t really trust a three-year old, but the developing comprehension is beautiful. And often hilarious.
My three year old is all of these things, sometimes at the same time:
Chatty. A baby can keep many secrets but a three-year old will rat you out. If my preschooler catches me sneaking chocolate cake, swearing, or saying mean things in the carpool line, he will tell any interested bystander. Count on it.
Curious. Yes, inquisitive with a capital I. Sawyer has the vocabulary and curiosity to ask about any topic at any time: love, football, warfare, robots, butterflies, and oh… why is the sky blue. It is time to bone up on both answering and deflecting skills, people.
Cunning. Yes, he could sit there patiently while I run to the ladies room, but I’m better off bringing him along, because this guy thinks has become a master escape artist. He is bold and smart enough to get in real trouble now. And he probably can climb that thing I told him was impossible.
Capable. The “I wanna do it mah-self” thing has reached a whole new level. Take advantage and get your small person setting the table and wiping up messes so all that pent-up independence is not wasted on you waiting for him to figure out how to zip up his jacket while your parking meter is running.
Creative. I love to see a little one’s personality start to emerge at age three. Each of my sons has such different interests and abilities. Watch and observe to learn if you’ve got a builder, a drawer, a dramatist, or a collector on your hands and the use her passions to your advantage. “If we put our shoes on quickly, we’ll have more time to count doggies before we leave!”
Cute. He has to still be cute because of all the stuff he gets up to. Nature is still protecting him with adorability for a little bit longer.
Crazy. Still crazy after all these years? Sometimes when I am hanging out with just my kids, the conversation is exactly the same as it would be if they were stoned adults. Observe this phenomenon in your house. Seriously, send me your notes from a meal and prove me wrong. This is a transcript from part of a recent dinner at my house:
“You’re a sink!”
“You’re a doorknob!”
“You’re a sheep!”
“You’re a sun!”
“You’re a baby sun!”
“You’re a mommy sun!”
“Yes, and then we are both suns and we try to kill the bad guys!”
(And, scene. Please pass the quesadillas.)
Age three is an incredible transformation from the baby-toddler days into a real “big kid.” I can tell as my son’s cheeks are slimming and we say goodbye to the trappings of a baby – namely diapers!! – I already miss parts of it. I find myself looking longingly at infants and romanticizing those sleepless, screamy nights as a brief phase.