The big 3

So Phoebe turns 3 years old this week.

I could say Where has the time gone? But everyone says that. And I know exactly where it's gone -- from tummy time, to stacking blocks, to walks to the park, to playing with baby dolls, to epic dance parties.

Perhaps it's more appropriate for me to say The time goes so fast. People say that all the time, too. But, in the context of children, the statement has only started to make sense to me. ... For much of the last three years, I've shrugged off the so fast lines because, in all honesty, our best times with Phoebe have seemingly played out in slow motion. We've managed to live in the moments and soak them up. We've also managed to record some of them on videos, which we've been watching a lot of in recent months -- at Phoebe's request.

Only recently have I realized she's growing up faster than I'd prefer. Though the seeds of her character were apparent from her earliest days, she's becoming increasingly independent, social and curious about the world around her. Oh, the curiousness.    

As she's grown, I find myself cherishing every cuddle and hug a little bit more. I love it when she walks up to me, looks up, arms outstretched over her head, and says, “I want up.” I love the way she runs to me when I pick her up from preschool or the way she shouts “Dad-deeee!” when I arrive home from work at night. I love the way she prompts me to hold her little hand when we walk somewhere together. I love those moments because I am more aware now how precious they are and that they won't last forever.

After all, she's 3. And she still has a lot to learn. ... She can fill our hearts with pride one minute and drive us completely nuts the next.

She's come a long way from those first few weeks of her new daycare after we moved to The 'Ville last summer. ... She can spell her name. She's got her colors down. She knows her ABCs, and sings them constantly, too. And she knows more silly songs than Kates and I can keep track of. It's not uncommon to catch Phoebe singing a random song while she's strutting around the house.

She's potty-trained. That came fairly easily during a week in January. Though some occasionally accidents are expected, and they're most likely when she's having too much fun playing to take a break.

She's making friends, and at night it's not uncommon for her to share the day's gossip with us about who hit who or who wasn't listening at daycare. 

Rarely a day goes by that she's not a mess when we pick her up because of some hard playing on the playground equipment. There are days when her clothes, arms and face are so dirty that I've started calling her Pigpen. For now I suppose it's a good thing that she's not preoccupied with the way she looks.

Although, those days are coming. She's taking increasing interest in her hair, and almost out of the blue she learned to put her hair in a pony tail. Now she can pull her hair through a hair band so easily and fluently, it blows my mind ... She's also entered the dress-up phase. If she's not trying on several pairs of her shoes, or swinging around one of her purses, she's pulling on a princess dress from the bag of costumes some friends gave us a few months ago.

Her spongeyness continues to be strong, and yet we can't help but laugh when she surprises us with another mannerism she learned from Kates or I. Or a word or phrase she picked up from something she saw on TV -- like when she told Kates, "C'mon, Mommy! Let's kick it!" after repeated viewings of "Enchanted," or we overheard her mutter "good grief" after a run of repeatedly watching "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." ... On the other hand, it melts my heart when I overhear her singing along to "Little Einsteins," "Veggie Tales," "Sesame Street" or one of her other beloved children's shows.

She thinks it's fun to wake me up and literally pull me out of bed on Saturday morning. "You Wake up, Daddy!" she'll say as she yanks on my arm or leg and pulls the covers off of me.

She begs to wash the dishes with me after dinner, which I think is great ... And I hope it continues for years to come.

She's also fascinated by time right now, though she doesn't comprehend how it works or or what differentiates yesterday from today or tomorrow from next week. She often recalls things that happened a week or more ago as if they happened yesterday.

When it comes to playtime, coloring, puzzles and playing with her baby dolls and stuffed animals draw most of her attention. She's got a wild imagination, and the tender care she gives her dolls and animals is pretty impressive, not to mention the conversations she holds with them. She's tightest with her big dog Woody, a smaller dog Bella, a walrus Kim, a sock monkey Pinky and a small gorilla she named Gorilla. Her beloved yellow Blankie, however, remains most important of all.

Have I also mentioned that she loves playing with bowls of beans? That behavior began last summer when Kates’ parents were visiting, with Chloe, and we noticed Phoebe was fascinated with using the measuring cups and pouring Chloe’s dog food into her bowl. ... So Kates bought a couple bags of dried beans, several bowls and a pack of measuring cups and gave them to Phoebe, who loves filling the measuring cups with the beans and then pouring them into the bowls. Similarly, I suspect the sandbox that came with our new house is going to be a big draw this summer.

She's definitely a creature of habit and routine. And any deviation from it aggravates her. ... She still prefers her milk warmed, which confounds Kates and I. We've tried blindly giving her cold milk to drink but always to sway her and a fit usually ensues. ... With all of her playtime rituals and the sole attention she's grown used to with Kates and I, a sibling is going to rock her world.

In a lot of other aspects, not much about Phoebe has changed since the fall.

Just when Kates and I think we have her greatest interests and talents pegged -- which is terribly foolish, we know -- there's another discovery to expand her mind ... There are nights when Kates and I just sit watching her play and we wonder out loud with a laundry a list of occupations we could see her doing. A musician, an engineer, a gymnast, an athlete, an actor, a pastor, an artist, or maybe even a president. The thing is she has so many interests. ...

Her world is limitless.

No comments: