I am still a little shell-shocked that Willow is now a three-year-old. How did time go by so quickly?
I really understand the expression “The days are long but the years are short” now. When you’re stuck in the trenches of parenting sometimes the days seem to drag by at snail’s pace, but then you blink and your child is three!
This last year was a fun one. Willow pushes and challenges me in ways that I cannot even begin to express. Some days I feel like every single on one my personality flaws are laid bare. I have more than a few occasions where I just haven’t dealt well with the situation at hand. I get irritable and shouty when I don’t mean to be. I have found the consistent discipline to be the hardest thing to achieve.
But then there are the bright, shining days where she is just so adorable my heart melts. She can get me laughing till my sides ache. She’s witty and so smart. And I look at her in complete disbelief because we made her. It’s difficult to fathom that this person with this strong will and definite preferences didn’t exist three years ago.
Here’s a snapshot of what we have been doing over the past year:
Willow is very strong-willed and sassy, yet sweet and compassionate. We went through a definite ‘mine’ period, but more and more I am seeing a really generous spirit coming through. She likes to share her things with other people, but she likes to do it on her terms. You can’t make her share, but when she does share it’s so truly sweet. She loves babies and children younger than her and seems to take them under her wing and look after them. It’s very cute.
Willow is incredibly musical and loves to sing. She’s singing a song about 90% of the time. They are usually ones she knows the tune for but she has made up her own words to. She’s still very partial to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but these days you’re very likely to here the Wheels on the Bus, Baa Baa Black Sheep or the Finger Family Song. I love it when she sings that because she sings the names of her family as well. One of her favourite toys is a plastic microphone we got in a lucky packet and she walks around singing and making noise all the time.
We’ve seen more temper tantrums through the end of the year and into this one. She does seem to be a lot more emotional these days, but they are usually short-lived and a quick timeout to her room is all that is needed in terms of discipline. That said, however, we have had a few times when we have had to take a firmer stance. I’m very grateful that this behaviour is not the norm, however. She’s a pretty happy, polite little girl.
We’ve been working on manners a lot recently and I’m starting to see some progress here. She needs to be reminded to say please when she asks for something, but she’s very good at saying thank you and will spontaneously say thank you for something you have done for her. We try and lead by example in the manners department and I think this has been helping a lot. She also says You’re Welcome which she sort of sings. It’s adorable.
We have entered the ‘All my Own’ period where she insists on doing everything herself. I try and indulge her as much as I can. I think it’s important that she develops confidence in her abilities, but I won’t lie, things get difficult when she wants to do something that is beyond her current abilities and could be dangerous, or that she can do, just not well. She’baulks at the idea of you assisting her in any way and this often leads to conflict. We’re working on it
We’re starting to see pretend play becoming more and more of a thing in our home. She loves to dress up in costumes and look after her babies. She’s also cooking up a storm in her kitchen a lot of the time.
Watching the iPad – we need to be very strict about her screen time.
Disney movies, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Dora the Explorer – she particularly likes movies and shows with songs and music in it. It’s so cute watching her watch Dora because she is starting to respond to the prompts.
Music – she is always singing and dancing
Swimming and the swimming pool – She always wants to go to the pool. Even when it’s freezing out. I’m really glad we have her swimming lessons every week as that provides her with an outlet. She loves her swimming teacher and now enjoys being in the pool even when I’m not there which is great!
Willow has had a major vocabulary explosion recently and she now talks almost from the moment she wakes up to when she falls asleep. She’s making pretty big sentences at least 5 to 7 words at a time. I can also understand her 90% of the time. She is difficult to understand when she whines and she does this thing where she speaks really softly when nervous or shy. I am amazed that she uses pronouns. She says ‘me’, ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘us’ and very seldom refers to herself in the third person. She can also say some pretty big words like ‘ballerina’. When I’m at the sewing machine she will often come up to me and ask what I’m making, enquire if it is for her. I’m frequently left to pick my jaw up off the floor.
We had a period where we had a lot of night waking, but that hasn’t happened in a while. However, my really great sleeper now fights going down for the night and wakes up super early (Well, not as early as some other kids we know, but too early for my liking.) I think she feels that she’s missing out on stuff and that sleep is for the week. She’s also trying really hard to drop her nap, which I am not ready for. I always put her down and enforce quiet time. Whether she will actually sleep is a gamble.
This depends on the day. In general, she has a very healthy appetite and eats very well. But we have days where she eats like a bird and I don’t know how she is sustaining herself. She loves most foods but still refuses to eat sweet potato. She will eat cucumber now, but not the skins. She loves sweet things and we really need to watch how many snacks she consumes during the day. The child has never met a package or hummus or cream cheese that she didn’t love. As its summer right now, ice lollies are a huge hit in our home. I make our own by essentially making a smoothie with fruit and yoghurt and freezing it in ice lolly moulds.
I consider Willow fully potty trained these days. I can’t remember the last time she had an accident. She is very good at communicating her needs, although I do find it helpful to ask her if she needs to go every now and again. She tends to get wrapped up in a game and forget about needing the loo until it’s just about too late. She still wears a nappy at night but wakes up dry the majority of the time. It’s incredibly liberating to have a potty trained child!
Height: 101cm tall
Clothing size: 3 to 4years or 3T
Shoe size: Mostly UK size 9! It’s a little crazy to me. It feels like her feet are so big!
Sleep: Approximately 10 to 11 hours at night. She will sometimes have a 1 to 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.
6.30am: wake up. She’s usually content to snuggle for a little bit and she gets a quick bite to eat and something to drink while I get ready for work.
7.30am: Get Willow dressed and get ready to leave for school/work. If its a weekend we may stay in bed a little longer and I may let her have some screen time before we get up for the day and I make proper breakfast.
8am: During the week this is when I drop her off at school. On the weekend this is when we will do an activity before we go out for a little bit. I like to take her out in the morning to go and let her expend some energy, as this will usually result in a nap later. We go somewhere with a playground or will go run whatever errands we have on the books.
11.30am/12pm: lunch time. Willow would have had some kind of snack mid-morning, but I like to keep snacks lower so I can be sure she will eat well at mealtimes. Lunch is usually some kind of leftovers from dinner or picnic style veggies with cheese etc.
12.30/1pm: Nap time. If I’m lucky she will go down without too much fuss. But if not then this is an enforced quiet time. The general rule is that she doesn’t have to sleep but she must stay in her room. She has books and toys to entertain her.
3pm: Afternoon activity. If it’s cold or really hot then we’ll stay indoors and play her dolls, do puzzles etc. If I can’t entertain her at all I may let her have some screen time. But as its summer time now afternoon time is usually spent at the pool. During the week she has two swimming lessons (Monday and Wednesday).
5pm: This is when I usually let Willow watch some TV. This allows me a little bit of space to start getting dinner ready.
6pm to 6.30pm: Dinner time and a little bit of play time before we start getting ready to wind down.
7pm: bath, stories and bed. How long it takes to achieve all this varies from night to night.