Oh boy, she is quite a girl. Megan will be 3 at the end of August. The last few weeks, it seems that she gets more opinionated by the day. A couple of weeks ago, she refused to wear anything but dresses, now it is a tee shirt with a cupcake on it. Some days she is content to wear a jumper or shorts, but others are full blown dress-ups or full blown tantrums. (Not that those aren’t happening pretty much everyday no matter what.) It is alternately adorable and frustrating. She says hilarious things like “Gotta be querkel.” (careful) and “I lalu (love you) too, see-heart” as well as the not so cute “I do it!” and “No, I go first!
This is definitely an age of extremes. I think that the little girl who had a little curl must have been two or three; that is exactly how I feel about my meg-a-roni. However, it is (at least mostly) with good cause. Some developmentalists call this the adolescence of childhood. Because, like preteens, preschoolers are trying to figure out who they are and assert their independence. So, I am trying to remember to take a deep breath and let her hold onto the milk too while I pour for her cereal. A few other things to do:
~Give her a choice when possible. However, don’t give too many choices. Asking if she wants to wear this outfit or that one is great. Letting her choose her clothes, what’s for breakfast, where to go afterward, etc. is overkill. She still needs routine and the security it provides.
~Ask for (and value) her help. Let her help sort socks or wipe off the table. Don’t forget to thank and praise her for her efforts. And don’t fix it after she has done the job. (That tells her that she can’t do it right.)
~Let her make a shopping list by pasting the labels of her favorite cereal, snacks, etc. on a piece of paper. When you get to the store, let he find the Cheerios and put them in the basket.
~LISTEN! It gets busy and her voice can become more white noise than a focal point during the day, but just like you, she has opinions and views that she really wants to be heard. You’ll be surprised at how smart she is when you listen to her and she will feel validated and important.
~For me, the biggest thing is just remembering that I am a mother, not a farmer. A farmer raises animals and crops by providing all of the things they need to exist: nourishment, a place to live, and such. Mothers do this too, but they also help to shape intellects, build values, and develop personality. I am constantly relearning that this takes time and attention (And sometimes forgoing the clean floor or to-do list. ;-P) It is worth it though; even though I have heard it a million times, I do believe that in a surprisingly short time I will miss these exasperating days.