Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear Gwen: Thirty-Five Months

Dear Gwen:
Today, you are thirty-five months old.

Your Terrible Twos are very nearly at an end, and right behind them is your third birthday. I’ve heard that Three is even worse than Two: same inability to control emotions, coupled with an even stronger willpower and expanded height, strength, imagination and ability to get into trouble. Time will tell, but in the meantime there are definitely some positive changes.

You are getting ever more competent at daily routine tasks, and at following instructions. You have always loved to “help Mama” bake and cook – I put “help” in quotations because really, a two-year-old’s assistance is generally the opposite of help – but in the past couple of weeks, you’ve actually become helpful. You spill less, you keep your hands to yourself when instructed, you are happy to do whatever little chore I assign you no matter how mundane. The balance has finally tipped and now, I actually prefer to cook or bake with your help instead of without.

We’re also encouraging you to become more independent. Now that you are potty-trained, it seems natural that you should learn how to dress and undress yourself. A conversation with a good friend helped me realize that you probably view these tasks as things that are done to you or for you, not things you should co-operate with and eventually do yourself. We are trying to encourage your participation and assistance with these things, and I think it’s working. You are even – hallelujah, cue the fireworks – starting to play independently for short periods. This is new and it’s VERY welcome, as you are generally a pretty intense kid. You still prefer me or Dad to be in the room with you while you play, and if we get up to leave your independent play collapses as you ask to come with us. But still, it’s a start, and I’m really glad.

You are crazy about music these days, especially the CD-DVD set that Uncle Mikey bought you for Christmas, “Here Come the ABCs”. You know an astounding amount of lyrics to these songs, including “The Alphabet of Nations”, which begins: “Algeria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Dominica, Egypt, France, The Gambia, Hungary, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Libya and Mongolia…” It’s kind of incredible to listen to these giant words (most of which must be completely meaningless to you) coming out of your mouth. You love these songs and insist that we sing them repeatedly, especially at bedtime. Which means that Dad and I have to learn all those crazy complex lyrics, too.
Speaking of bedtime, you have started to push your boundaries pretty steadily. For a couple of nights we were locked in a spiraling cry-fest where you refused to sleep in your own bed and got hysterical when we insisted that you do so, thus being unable to hear our calm assurances that you could snuggle in the big bed the next morning. It got to the point where you would just say “I want to snuggle in the big bed,” over and over and over, in response to absolutely anything that we said. I’ve heard of “not taking ‘no’ for an answer,” Gwen, but I had no idea that it was an option to just refuse to acknowledge ‘no’ as a concept, which is what you seem to do:
Gwen: I want to snuggle in the big bed.
Mama: I know you do, sweetheart, but it’s not time for that now.
Gwen: I want to snuggle in the big bed.
Mama: No, Gwen, we can snuggle in the big bed tomorrow morning. Please go to bed.
Gwen: I want to snuggle in the big bed.
Mama: No, Gwen. Go to bed, now. Gwen: I want to snuggle in the big bed.
Mama: Gwen, I said no.
Gwen: I want to snuggle in the big bed.

Repeat until one or both parties are hysterical.

When we do manage to get you into bed, often as not you are up again a few minutes later with requests for a drink of water or a trip to the potty. I don’t think I’d mind these quite so much if you didn’t insist on being tucked in again after each exodus. If you’re big enough to get out of bed and walk to the door by yourself, I think you’re big enough to tuck yourself back in after Mama’s one-tuck-in-per-night quota has been reached.

You are a really active kid, and often scare the heck out of me with your near-miss accidents and injuries. You take off at a run (indoors or out) without the slightest attention paid towards your destination or any obstacles that might lie in between. It’s kind of a miracle you still have both your eyes, as I’ve seen you nearly topple into the corner of our hutch more times than I can count. Growing up, I was always told I was “accident-prone,” and I actually thought that was a real thing, like having asthma or freckles. Turns out, it just means not watching where your fool self is going. And it’s hereditary.

In addition to wondering if you have some kind of inner-ear disorder, I also wonder about your endearing little speech impediment. I know most children have difficulty with the letter R, but the difficulty you have is not the typical “W for R” sound, i.e., “wascally wabbit”. No, you are good at pronouncing Rs, but in any word with an R, the vowels around the R become … strange. For example:
Horse = hearse
Store = stir
Car = cur
Door = dur
And so on. I’m sure you’ll grow out of it in time. For the moment, it doesn’t prevent us from understanding you, so it’s pretty harmless. Or hermless.

One final thing I will brag about, and then I’ll end this letter. A couple of weeks ago, we were reading a book together before bed. It was about shapes, and as usual you were pointing to various shapes and identifying them: rectangle, triangle, circle, and so on. Then, you paused. You pointed to the letters underneath the rectangle and asked, “Mama, does that say ‘rectangle’?” “Yes it does, honey,” I replied. You then pointed to each letter in turn and identified it: “R – E – C- T – A – N – G – L – E.” “That’s right, honey!” I crowed. “That spells ‘rectangle’. Well done! What a good reader you are.” I was so proud that my heart felt physically full, and I was sort of tearful as well. Just think – this was your first dawning realization that the letters of the alphabet can be grouped together into words, and that those words relate to objects around us. In this case, you made the association that the picture – a shape of a rectangle – and the letters – the word ‘rectangle’ – were two different ways of expressing the same thing. Gwen, that is HUGE! You may not know it right now, but you are on the verge of a breakthrough into the world of reading, and it’s going to open all kinds of wonderful doors for you.

In all, it’s been a pretty neat month for you and it's really fun to see all the ways in which you are growing and changin. As always, I’m so glad that I get to be your Mama. I love you a million billion kajillion and two, and can’t wait to see what your next month will bring.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the speech is about the R specifically? Because it seems to me that she is transforming open vowels into closed vowels in all of your examples. Just a thought.

I'm so glad that you're getting to a place of helpfulness, and also of independant play!! Proud of you all.



Related Posts with Thumbnails