3 under 3

10 things about Tiernan, aged 4 years and 3 months

Posted on: September 28, 2011

1. Yesterday morning, you made your own breakfast!! I talked you through each step, and you completed it to perfection – took the weet bix out of the box, squeezed a little honey on top, took out the milk, opened the bottle, poured it in (very carefully – didn’t spill a drop), put the milk away again, grabbed a spoon, and ate it all up. Then you went back for seconds because you thought you were so special. Which, of course, you are. I can’t believe how proud I am – I’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll teach you to make toast. Then we’ll move on to cups of tea, and you can start making my breakfast!

2. Things are looking up at preschool again. Lately, you’ve been asking if you can go to preschool today, and you seem disappointed when I tell you that it’s not a preschool day. You’ve also been saying that you’d like Molly to start coming to preschool with you, which hopefully will be happening next year – probably not at the start (because it depends on finances), but at least part-way though. I had an interview with your teacher last week, and she loves you to bits. I loved hearing all of the wonderful things she had to say about you – how clever you are, how sensitive you are, who your friends are, and how you’re finally settling in. She really seems to ‘get’ you, and I’m so glad she’ll still be your teacher next year because you two seem to be developing a nice relationship. I’m so proud of you.

3. We recently moved your bed into Molly’s room, and you didn’t take it very well at first. I felt so guilty. I never realised how attached to your room you were. We made a deal with you that you would try it for five sleeps, and if you still didn’t like it then you could move back into your own room. However, after the first sleep we never heard another word about it. I think you enjoy having Molly for company in there. Since moving in, you’ve been coming into our room a bit less. So maybe two nights a week instead of three or four. I love how mature you’ve been about the whole thing.

4. Some Tiernan-isms that I’ve been meaning to write down for a while, before I forget them: attay (today); amorrow (tomorrow); asploded (exploded); bloon (balloon); scusting (disgusting); marlo (milo); ankoo (thank you); gurk (burp); elect (collect).

5. Taking you to playgroup, on the odd occasion that we actually make it, is becoming less of a chore, because you are a bit more familiar with the routine. For example, you know that the morning tea table is off-limits, so you don’t even bother trying to steal the food anymore. You’re also very good at involving yourself in whatever activity that takes your fancy. I’ve seen you playing alongside lots of different kids, with no troubles at all. Whether you’re playing with them, or just next to them, I’m not sure. Your preschool teacher says you have started to play with your preschool friends for short periods, before drifting away again to play on your own. At playgroup, I think you seem much more comfortable and able to engage with your peers without prompting. Maybe this is because you know I’m still there… not that you really need me much, only for food!

6. It’s kind of amusing, and kind of embarrassing when you walk up to people we don’t know (usually adults), and just have a chat. Amusing because you’re so cute and friendly, but embarrassing because sometimes you just won’t leave people alone, even when they clearly don’t want to talk to you.

7. As you get older, you’re getting a bit better at accepting the rules and boundaries we have in place. That doesn’t mean you don’t question them, or test them out, but you seem to have decided it’s better to just do as we say, at least 70% of the time. For example, your Dad and grandparents brought you, Molly and Neave to the river last weekend to watch me in the regatta. It was very busy, and also quite dangerous, with people carrying very long boats in and out of the water. We told you to stay on the grassed area, and keep out of people’s way, but apart from that, you were free to come and go from where we were standing. I watched you flit about for about 10 minutes, doing exactly as we had asked. Mostly, you went around chatting to people, which was funny to watch. Then you would come back to touch bases with us before running off down the hill again. It was nice to let you have some freedom, even though we were in such a busy environment. It’s something that we couldn’t have done a year ago. Also, because you were setting such a good example, Molly also decided to stay within the boundaries and romp around with you, rather than run away and get into mischief (which she generally does less often than you at the same age, but often enough to make things difficult!)

8. I know I say this every time, but kisses and cuddles with you. Often with, “I love you”s thrown in. Last night when I was tucking you in to bed, you said, “Mum, you’re beautiful!” Aww.

9. We have recently re-introduced ‘time out’ for you and Molly. We tried it just before Neave was born, but I think you were too little to understand the concept, and I really didn’t have the time or patience to implement it properly. I’m easing you in – at the moment you’re only expected to sit by yourself for two minutes (and Molly gets one), but you’ve taken to it pretty well, so I’m going to have to think of a way to increase this without upsetting you too much. Maybe in steps. Really we could call it ‘time in’, as you usually just sit to the side of wherever we are, within sight but not involved. I try to not to use it too much, but the behaviours that I’m targeting are hitting/pushing, bullying and rudeness/back chat. So far, you have responded really well, and you seem to understand that the point is for you to settle down and think about what has just happened and what to do differently next time the same situation arises. I’m so happy that we now have a more peaceful strategy for dealing with conflict. Not that there isn’t still yelling (on everyone’s side), but with practice, I’m hoping we’ll all get better at sorting ourselves out more quickly and quietly!

10. You’ve become quite good at answering the phone when I’m otherwise occupied (which is most of the time!) This reduces the number of missed calls I get, and has the added bonus of scaring away telemarketers who don’t stick around through the 20 questions you pose on answering the phone: “Hello, this is Tiernan….pause…..who is it?……pause……. ah, okay. Who is it?……..pause……..Hello, who is it?…….pause…….yes, my Mummy is here……..pause……who is it?” It goes like this no matter who calls, but if it’s your Gran or Nanny, they know to stick around until I get there. Everyone else just hangs up. You’re pretty good at talking on the phone when you know who you’re talking to, but you seem to have trouble recognising their voices if I haven’t told you who it is first, and you also seem to have trouble listening to them tell you who they are! Funny stuff, but really handy for screening calls.

With Gran's puppy, Barney!

Not so great:

1. I suppose it might be time to start weaning you from your ‘barty’ soon (blanket). At preschool, they have got you used to leaving it in your bag and only taking it out when you’re upset or tired. I’ve never really tried to stop you from using it. At home you are free to snuggle with it whenever you please, but I do only allow you to bring one barty with us when we go out, and I also usually try to get you to leave it in the car these days, in case we lose it. I’m curious to know, is there a certain age when comfort items are a ‘no-no’? Or do kids naturally lose interest as they get older, or start school? My only real concern is that you also suck your thumb when you cuddle your blanket, which is obviously something we don’t want to continue for too long. The affect on your teeth and palate is already in evidence – you have a cross-bite that will need braces when you are older, although this probably would have happened without the thumb-sucking anyway, since both your Dad and I had underbites and needed braces, too. For now, I still think the barty and thumb-sucking are cute, but I wonder for how much longer?

2. Some days you are brilliant at getting dressed and ready to face the day, and some days you are…. not. I get so sick of my own voice, trying to coax you out of your PJ’s so we can just go and do something! Sometimes the only thing that works is to just get Molly and Neave ready and then walk out the door without you. Then we have the panicky tears and the heart-broken look on your face as you wail, “Mama, don’t leave without me!”, and the frantic rush to get dressed because Molly and Neave are already outside, which means we have less than 10 seconds before they erupt at the delay. But do you learn for next time? No.

3. I mentioned above that you listen to us about 70% of the time. The other 30% of the time you really don’t. In fact, rather than do what we’ve just asked, you go ahead and do the exact opposite. Sometimes I think it’s only because we asked you. You’ve still got that smart-arse attitude about you, too. Although, it’s not as bad as it was.

4. We’ve only had one car for the last six weeks, which means your Dad gets home later than usual, as he’s relying on public transport to and from the train station now. He often gets home just before, or during dinner. And you go berserk. You might have been lovely all day, behaved reasonably, had a great time, no stress. But as soon as Dad gets home, you just get so silly. Hyperactive, all wound up, won’t listen to a thing we say. Inevitably, you end up being given a two-minute ‘time out’, which usually lasts at least ten minutes because you won’t settle down long enough to do it properly. It happens every night, and it sucks. I really hope that, since our second car is now back (First World problem, I know), that you will stop reacting so strongly to your Dad’s arrival home, because it will be earlier again and you won’t be so tired.

A teeny tiny beetle

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