- breaking crayons. Why? Why do you have the desire to break EVERY single crayon in half? No more crayons for a while.
- candy. The Prairie Kid has become wildly demanding of candy. He doesn't get his way (and he never gets it when he asks for candy for breakfast) but the attitude and temper that flares up about candy is ridiculous!
- The Prairie Kid has learned to be self-conscious. He withdraws from entertaining a crowd and tries to hide behind my legs in public when someone talks to him. At a family get together he hit his head on the corner of the counter. The saddest part wasn't the injury but the fact that he ran and hid under the table like a bolt of lightening and he wasn't coming out unless Mommy came to the rescue.
- separation anxiety. Oh, I never knew this could kick in at 3. It was just before he turned 3 that he got separation anxiety. We're making progress but for the past few months it hasn't been pretty. He'd scream and cry and attempt to tear mommy's heart out with the pleas "Mommy! Come back!" "Mommy, don't leave me!" "Mommy, I can't like preschool!" "Mom, stay wif me!"
- bedtime blues. For 3 years I have had the "perfect child" at bed time for naps and at night. One time, for 3 days, he struggled to go to bed at night. But other than that, he had been amazing. We'd put him down, say "I love you," turn out the lights, and shut the door. That was that. Until 3 weeks ago. And now, every nap and every night is a struggle. I think this all started with a nightmare about a bear. One morning I went in to get him when he woke up and he said there was a bear coming to get him. Since then its been a struggle. He isn't upset about the bear anymore but he does cry and scream. This is what we commonly hear bellowing out of his room "Mom! I want wake up!" "Turn on lights! I can't see!" "Mommmmmy! Daddddddy!" Now he is doing this "self soothing" continuous moan to "rock" himself to sleep. It isn't fun to listen to this all take place down the hall. I long for this phase to end.
- cozy cuddles. The Prairie Kid was not much of a cuddler until 3. Now he enjoys laying with Mommy; holding, hugging, snuggling and giving great "smacky" kisses. He nests his little body into mine and hangs out. We hold hands. We rest our heads upon one another's. Ooooh how I love to snuggle.
- potty trained. Amen! Sure, we still have the occasional accident but we're regularly going poo and pee in the potty. We call this "clean and dry." YEA!!! We have only 1 or 2 accidents ALL week now! Woo-hoo!!!
- creative play. We pretend to be kitties, puppies, bears, snakes and more. We build forts and houses. We are learning to play hide and seek.
- jokes and sillies. The Prairie Kid learned how to do "give me five, on the side, up high, down low-too slow joe!" And he tries to tell knock-knock jokes. And he plays games like going back and forth calling me silly, and me calling him silly, and him calling me silly, and me calling him silly-willy, and him calling me silly-willy, and so on. I get a real kick out of this.
- praying. Oh how sweet the sound of a child's prayers. He says "dear Jesus. Kank you daddy workin' on the ranches and food, a-men." And sometimes he adds other fun things that are important to him, like thanking Jesus for football, or J'rmy, for the fun thing he got to do that day, or the people that might be sharing the meal with us.
- faith. I have often told The Prairie Kid that Jesus is with us all of the time. The other day he said, "Mom, I playin' with Jesus!" He asks in various locations like driving in the car, "where's Jesus?" And he talks about Jesus calming the storm when he sees a boat. And when he hears us slip up and say "holy cow!" he says, "No talk like that to Jesus!" And we have to set the example of repenting and asking for forgiveness.
- manners. This has always been a big one for me. My ultimate goal as a Mom is to teach my child to love God and love others. And I think respect and etiquette shows love to others. And now the manners have become so natural to The Prairie Kid that my heart leaps with joy every time I hear him use them without being prompted.
- recognizing God's creation. "oh! it's so cute!" was The Prairie Kid's response to seeing a picture of a baby. "Mom! Its sunny out!" "The clouds are pretty!" And my favorite was last week: I was strapping Doodle Bug into his car seat and he put his hand in my hair gently and said, "Mom, you're so cute! I like your haircut, Mom." And he took my sunglasses off and said, "Let me see you." NO JOKE! WORD FOR WORD! My 3 year old swept me off my feet!
- bless you. The Prairie Kid actually says "bless you" when you sneeze and expects the same courtesy to be given in return.
There are probably many more things that I could reflect on but I think I am going to change my reflections to food now because I am feeling hungry! I will not claim that 3 will be bad. It is always our choice to praise God for the good things, thank Him for the challenges that grow us, and remember that each of these developmental stages is important and normal. I love this child more than words could ever, ever express and I am thrilled to walk each stage right by his side.