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Archive for January 2012

Little Neave, you’re growing up so fast. These are my favourite things about you at this age:

1. You are learning words very rapidly now. You’ve got to the fun stage where you’ll repeat nearly everything we say, so you’re picking up at least five words a day. Some new additions that I heard for the first time recently: doe (toe), dankie (blanket), sit, why? (I can’t believe you’re asking why already!), dock (sock), tuck (truck), bike, fine (find). You even put two words together the other day. You came to me and said, “dankie, fine?”, and then you showed me your empty hands and shook your head and said, “air?”, which I think meant ‘where?’ When I put it all together, I translated it as ‘I can’t find my blanket, where is it?’ So we went to look for your blanket together and you were overjoyed when we found it – partly because you wanted your blanket, obviously, but I think you were also very happy that I’d understood you straight away. It was a really nice moment of communication between us.

2. Your language skills even extend to giving us a serve when things don’t go your way. If it’s something you’re only mildly annoyed about then you’ll have a go by yelling “Da da da da da da da da!” Then you’ll give us your adorable grumpy face. Recently, Tiernan was swinging back on his chair at the dinner table. You were concerned for his safety, as you have fallen backwards doing the same thing more than once, so you were telling him to stop by yelling, “Da da da” at him. Then you pointed to the seat and said, “Sit!”

3. You’ve taken a big interest in Molly’s doll pram. You like to tuck your teddy in tight under a blanket, and then take him for a stroll down the hallway. You usually grab your handbag before you go, and wave and say “Byyyyyye!”

4. You love to help pack up. It’s one of your best features (kidding). But I do love it. It’s great because when I’m trying to get Tiernan and Molly to put their things away, all I have to do is praise you for the fine job you’re doing, and they start pitching in, too.

5. You love to put my shoes on and clip clop around the house, just like Molly does still. You’re surprisingly good at it, too, even when the shoes are so big that they end up backwards on you.

6. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but you are not afraid of the trampoline. Whenever your brother and sister go out for a jump, you are right behind them. You climb up onto the chair, open the zipper, pull yourself up (I don’t even know how, you’re such a strong little thing), make sure you shut the zipper behind you, and then run around in circles yelling, “Dump, dump, dump!” We have to watch you, because sometimes you get too close to the others and they knock you down (sometimes accidently, and sometimes not). You also like just getting on and off the trampoline over and over again sometimes, skipping the “Dump, dump” part.

7. You seem to be taking an early interest in the toilet. I don’t know how long it will last, but you occasionally like to go to the bathroom, saying “Wee” as you go, and then you take off your nappy and ask for help to sit on the seat. You then sit there looking very pleased with yourself for a few minutes, before pointing to the paper so that we know to give you some to wipe yourself with – well, really you just chuck it into the bowl with no wiping involved. You’ve yet to actually produce anything in the toilet, but we’re happy to go along with you for now. It’s kinda hard to believe that one day we won’t have anyone in nappies!

8. Whenever you hurt yourself, you always come to your Daddy or I and want a kiss to make it better. You must have seen us do this with Tiernan and Molly a few times, so now that you know how it works, you make sure you get your magic kiss every time! You come to us saying, “Ow, ow”, and hold up whichever part is sore until we kiss it. Then off you go on your merry way.

9. You love to play with dinosaurs, just like Tiernan and Molly do. I love it when you say, “Didor, raaaaah!” Very cute.

10. I’m finally Mummy! All it took was for me to go away for a weekend, and by the time I got back I had graduated from being ‘Daddy’ or ‘Teddy’ to a full-status ‘Mummy’. Aww.

Asleep on Mummy

Not so great:

1. Your favourite game is climbing down in between the two lounge chairs and getting yourself wedged in there good and tight. Then you say, “Help, help,” until someone comes and rescues you. Then, two minutes later, you’re back in there, asking for help again. Boring and monotonous for us, exilharating for you. I’m over it.

2. Since you learnt the word ‘bikkie’, you have been coaxing anyone and everyone into the kitchen with you, then pointing your little hand at the biscuit cupboard, putting on your angel face and saying sweetly, “Bikkie.” If a bikkie doesn’t land in your hand pronto, then, on a good day, you might add a belated, “Pease,” and an expectant little smile. If still no bikkie is forthcoming, then a mighty tantrum will ensue, one that involves a lot of pathetic flailing and throwing yourself backwards. On a bad day, you skip straight to the tantrum. This act gets repeated several times a day. All too often, you get the bikkie.

3. You have added pinching and biting to your repertoire, which is bad news for anyone who crosses you and happens to be standing too close. Although, I sometimes can’t help feeling just the tiniest bit proud of you for standing up for yourself when your big brother and sister give you crap! I’m not quite so proud when I’m the one being pinched for simply trying to fasten your seatbelt in the car, however.*

4. You’ve developed a weird habit of never eating with strangers. Well actually, they’re usually not even strangers – if anyone, even your grandparents, come to eat a meal with us, you won’t eat a bite until they have left the table. Then you’ll happily eat your whole meal, all on your own. I’m not sure what to make of it.

5. I said before that you like to pack away, but the truth is that you like to make a mess equally as much. If not more. You delight in taking things out of boxes and tossing them over your shoulder. You also love to pull books off shelves, empty clothes out of drawers, and pull vertical blinds down. Ho hum.

*UPDATE: Since receiving some negative feedback about this particlur statement, I feel compelled to explain myself more clearly here. I can see how the wording above may lead people to believe that I allow Neave to bite people willy-nilly, and this isn’t the case. I have never witnessed Neave biting or pinching unprovoked; it is usually in response to one of her siblings taking her toys or being too rough with her, which, being still very young themselves, they are bound to do from time to time. I have never allowed Neave to ‘get away’ with pinching or biting, no matter what the situation; she is always given a stern ‘no, biting hurts’, and sometimes I will get her to say sorry to whoever she has bitten. Any further discipline would be inappropriate – she is too young to fully appreciate what she is doing. As I stated above, she has, on occasion, bitten me while I was trying to put her in her carseat, and while I am not happy that she does it, I can see why she would find it necessary – she is, afterall, being firmly placed into a seat against her will, and strapped down so she can’t move. In her own mind, why should she have to put up with that??? I have never witnessed her bite another person oustide of our immediate family. This makes me feel that, while she may not be able to control the urge at home amongst her family just yet, at least she does understand not to do it in other social settings, such as playgroup or daycare. As for my feeling proud of her, perhaps I should clarify that I’m certainly not proud that she pinches and bites – however I am proud of her willingness to defend herself. Once she learns (as she will, in time) that pinching and biting are not appropriate behaviours, then I hope that she will continue to stand up for herself, in other ways.

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I decided not to write about Australia Day this year. You can go here to read my last year’s post, my stance is still the same.

However, comedian and broadcaster Meshel Laurie did write about Australia Day this year, and she did it brilliantly, here on the Mamamia site. It’s worth a read, if you’re interested. I agree with everything she says!

Tiernan was at preschool today. After I picked him up and brought him home, he ran off to play with his trains in the toy room. He then came back to me and exclaimed, “Oh, I’m so happy to be home, Mum, and I’ll tell you why… it’s because I love you. You’re so cute.” He then scrambled into my lap for a big cuddle.

Aww.

There’s a downside to relying on the internet for recipes… at any time, the publisher of your favourite recipe may decide to remove it from their website, without even having the courtesy to warn you about it first. Then you’ll be forced to find an alternative one. You might get lucky, and find a new recipe that is as good as, or even better, than the one you lost. Or, you might get major pizza dough failure…

C’mon Jamie, put your pizza dough recipe back up please. I thought we were friends.

Okay, so Tiernan wasn’t the easiest kid to toilet-train. It took about a year, from start to finish. During that year, he would show signs of interest for a while, progress slowly to weeing and sometimes pooing on the potty, graduate to full-time undies for three days and manage without any accidents for most of them, and then completely back off and refuse to have anything more to do with it. Back to square one.

This happened several times, and by the time he was 3 and 3 months old, we decided enough was enough. We called in the Nappy Fairy. She came and took all of Tiernan’s nappies away, and gave them to other children who needed them more (she’s generous like that, the Nappy Fairy). In their place, the Nappy Fairy left a big box of bribes I mean prizes, for doing poos and wees on the toilet or potty. It worked a treat, and Tiernan never wore a nappy again after the Nappy Fairy’s visit.

When it came time to teach Molly to use the toilet, I was sure she would be easier, because everyone says girls are, and I knew we wouldn’t have to resort to blatant bribery this time. Except, Molly remembered the Nappy Fairy and her big box of goodies! (A definite downside to having them so close together). She wanted in. There was no way she was going to wee and poo for free! So, the Nappy Fairy came and visited again, and several months later, Molly seems to have got the knack. By the way, sooooooo not easier than Tiernan!

After the Nappy Fairy’s prizes ran out, I really expected never to hear from her again. Neave, being the third, is going to have to learn to use the toilet via osmosis or something, cos I ain’t doing toilet training ever again! (I expect after the trauma of the first two times fades, I will change my mind about this, as changing nappies several times a day isn’t that much fun, either).

Anyway, look who we ran into the other day:

Clearly this is the Nappy Fairy. She’s not exactly what I envisaged when I invented her called upon her to guide us through the toilet-training quagmire we found ourselves in 18 months ago, but hey, who am I to judge?

Tiernan and Molly agree with me wholeheartedly. This is the Nappy Fairy. We will say hi to her every week when we go to Tiernan’s speech therapy sessions – she lives across the road from the clinic. We probably should stay in contact. We might need her help again some day…

Today, Molly started preschool! She was so excited to go, and I knew that she would have a blast. She was so ready.

In the morning, as we ate breakfast, Tiernan decided to share his wisdom in the ways of preschool. He told Molly more about what goes on there in 10 minutes, than I have been able to get out of him in the entire year he’s been going! He was very informative and encouraging: “Molly, when the teacher says to come and sit on the floor, well, that means we have to go and sit on the floor!”

Molly drank it in. “Okay!” she replied, eagerly awaiting the next piece of advice.

“Molly, when the teacher says it’s time to go to the toilet and wash our hands, well, that means we have to go to the toilet and wash our hands!”

And so on.

Eventually, having exhausted routines to explain to Molly, he put his arm around her and said, “Molly, when the kids are mean to you – sometimes they are – well, I will be right next to you and I will tell them to stop.”

“Will you give me a cuddle?” asked Molly.

“Yes. And I will give you one now.” He replied, with a big hug. Aww. I nearly died of cute. In that moment, I was so proud of him. He really does love his sister, and was so, so, so excited that she would be coming to preschool with him.

Actually, as I have mentioned before, the arrangement is a little complicated. Tiernan attends preschool on Wednesdays, but Molly will be alternating between Wednesdays and Fridays from week to week. It’s not ideal, but there are some advantages. They will get to do preschool together sometimes, and apart sometimes. I think having Molly there will really encourage Tiernan to come out of his shell a little. At home, and in any other situation (playgroup, at the park, in the supermarket, etc.), he is well and truly OUT of his shell… but for some reason, preschool is different. He is shy with the other kids, until he warms up, and he is often reluctant to go at all. Molly, on the other hand, is pretty confident no matter where she is. So really, I’m hoping he might learn a little from her, and not the other way around. Molly truly is an independent little thing, and I’m worried that Tiernan might smother her a little (there was evidence of it today… which I’ll get to in a bit). So I think having a day there on her own every second week will also be good for her. She will get to make her own friends and make her own ‘place’ there without Tiernan looking on all the time.

So, as I was saying, Tiernan was being ever-so-cute and loving towards Molly, offering to protect her and look after her. He asked her to sit next to him at the table when they ate lunch (cute!). He asked her to play with him all day (so sweet!). Then he picked her up and started carrying her around the house, and I suddenly realised things had gone too far.

“Um, Tiernan,” I had to say, “Just remember that Molly isn’t a baby, and she can speak for herself and play by herself and do lots of things by herself, can’t you Molly?”

“Yes Mummy!” She enthusiastically agreed.

I asked Tiernan to tone down the helpful, protective big brother thing just a notch. He agreed, and off we went. They had a fabulous day. Molly didn’t want to leave when I arrived to pick them up in the afternoon. The teachers were delighted with her, and marveled at her confidence and independence – they had expected her to be a bit more like Tiernan, I suppose. Tiernan’s group teacher (whom I adore, and really respect as a teacher), saw immediately what was going on with Tiernan being in ‘big brother’ mode, and made sure he wasn’t overdoing it throughout the day. She was very impressed when, at news time, Molly told Tiernan to be quiet because it was her turn to talk – he kept ‘helpfully’ adding extra bits of information to her story about going to the beach, and it was annoying her, so she told him to stop!

In the end, Molly and Tiernan spent a lot of the day playing together, but also some time playing apart. Apparently, Tiernan kept trying to get Molly to play with him, but she kept wandering off to do her own thing. Eventually, Tiernan’s teacher reminded Tiernan that he had his own friends at preschool, and that by playing with them, he would be showing Molly how to make friends and play. This did the trick – he went back to his own friends and just ‘kept an eye’ on Molly from time to time. I’m really happy that they’re in a preschool where the teachers really do understand them. I think they’re going to have a great year!