I’ve never been really good at doing milestone updates on my blog. Which is weird because most bloggers use their blogs as a way to catalog milestones. Now that I think about it, maybe I SHOULD have been doing milestone updates… Velly, velly interesting…
Anywho, I haven’t done any kind of developmental post on the kids in a while, so I thought I’d one on Bean today and another on Gracie tomorrow. Because they are growing like weeds, and I should probably do an update before they go off to college.
Right now Bean is three and a half years old, going on thirty-eight. The kid is like talking to a very small, highly entertaining, incredibly smart and knee slappingly funny adult. Only, he’s cooler than any adult I know. Bean’s favorite thing to do is collect things. He has little buckets of his 5,000 greatest possessions sitting all over our house. He was bringing home rocks from the daycare playground for a while, but I didn’t know about it until one day last week when I stumbled upon a drawer in our entertainment center that was FULL of rocks. When I asked him about it, he immediately emptied his pockets of the additional six rocks he had brought home that day to add to his collection. I got him one of those traveling plastic boxes that hold a bar of soap for 99 cents at Target, and now the rule is that he can collect as many rocks as he can fit in the container, but no more than that. Oh, and he can’t bring them home from daycare anymore, but he can dig them out of my flower bed anytime. It’s a win/win! Among other things he collects are tiny figurines and action heroes, DVD cases (?) and matchbox cars. Really, he likes anything that comes in matching sets or that there are a lot of.
Another thing Bean is big on right now are questions. And he’s got a million of them. He mostly asks questions about our schedule. He wants to know what we’re doing next, when we’re doing it, and what we’re doing after that. He’s big on knowing what’s coming. Not a fan of surprises, that one. On our way to daycare every morning, I feel like I’m prepping the President for his daily routine.
“Sir, you have a 9:00 breakfast, followed by a quick bathroom and hand washing break before continuing on to story time and activity centers.”
“Excellent, Ms. Brown. And how’s my evening looking?”
“Well, it’s going to be a busy one. You’re heading to the library to return some books with your sister right after work, followed by a quick stop at CVS to pick up your mom’s prescription before heading home for some face time with Spiderman before a spaghetti dinner.”
He’s a man with a plan. I like it.
Our newest thing with Bean are board games. He got a bunch of them for Christmas, and we have been playing them almost daily ever since. At first, he didn’t really want to play them, he just wanted to hold the pieces and flick the spinner and yell out, “I WON!” randomly. He wasn’t interested in the rules or taking turns or anything like that. Lately though, he has become a stickler for the rules. Now when you play with him, it’s a lot of fun because you’re actually playing the game instead of just sitting there watching him play with the pieces. His favorite games are Hi Ho Cherry-O (excellent for counting), Don’t Spill the Beans (good for eye-hand coordination), Don’t Break the Ice (good for cognitive development), Chutes and Ladders (good for color and counting practice and just an awesome game!), and Scramble (good for shapes – also, I’m not sure why Amazon is listing this as $47.00. It certainly isn’t that expensive at Target!).
Bean also loves playing outside, but he isn’t crazy about organized sports yet. He likes playing with sidewalk chalk, paddle balls, running around, water activities, and going for walks or riding around in our wagon. He also likes kicking the soccer ball around and hitting golf balls with his clubs, but he won’t play those things on his own. I think he’s just too young for those structured activities yet, and I think that’s totally fine. Right now, he’s loving being outside and exploring on his own – which is exactly what he should be doing. He got a bike for Christmas, but he is hit and miss on that yet. He likes trying to ride, but he gets frustrated after a while and just wants to play. We try once or twice a weekend, and he’s definitely getting a lot better but he would rather just run around right now.
One of the things that stands out the most with Bean is how smart he is. I know that all parents say that (and they all say what I’m about to say, too), but he really is. Bean is excellent at abstract ideas, and can apply cause and effect really well. For example, he asked me the other day where all his ice had gone in his water glass. I told him that it had sat for too long and melted. He thought about it for a minute and then said, “But my water isn’t hot, so why did the ice melt?” What’s so impressive about questions like this is that he is able to take one thing he knows (things melt when they are hot), apply it to a new situation (my ice just melted in my drink) and then ask good questions about it (but if my water isn’t hot, then why did the ice melt?). It may seem like a simple question for a kid to ask, but if you think about what has to happen in his little mind to ask that question, it really becomes impressive. I think he’s able to ask these kinds of questions partially because he is so smart, but also because he’s incredibly curious. He wants to know how everything works right now. Where does the water in the bathtub facet go when we turn it off? Why is the moon out when the sun is out in the morning? Why is the grass wet in the mornings even when it hasn’t rained? What makes mattresses so jumpy? Why do we have to cook our food? Where does Jake (and the Neverland Pirates) go when we turn off the TV? Why don’t bears get hungry when they hibernate? What are those squares with all the numbers on the back of everyone’s cars? What’s inside of a blueberry? Though it sometimes drives me nuts to have to answer 30 questions about the meaning of green lights versus red lights, I have to remind myself that this is Bean’s little brain uploading all kinds of information right now, and I’m so proud to have a son who is so interested in learning – about everything!
Bean is getting bolder and bolder in his personality, too. He isn’t nearly as quiet as he used to be. We taught him how to shake hands and introduce himself to people, and now he’s happy to meet just about anyone. This morning at the playground, he was waiting in line for the slide next to some bigger boy and Bean looked him square in the eyes and said, “Hi, I’m Michael. What’s your name?” He also likes to use small talk with strangers, and it’s about the cutest thing in the world. When he sees a neighbor in their driveways or yards in the mornings, he’ll yell out across the street, “GOOD MORNING!” or when someone runs by our house, he’ll nod his head to them and say quickly, “How are you doing?” I love that about him mostly because I know my dad would love that about him. My dad was always big on meeting people and not being shy or rude, so I know he would get a kick out of Michael’s bold politeness.
One thing he is a little short on these days is patience. Mostly with Gracie. He adores Gracie. Absolutely adores her. I think she’s his favorite person. But no one frustrates him like Gracie can. He knows just how things are supposed to be, so when they are not in order or out of sequence, he really gets frustrated. He also asks questions over and over and over again when he needs something. Even when we tell him he has to wait for a minute or whatever, he continues to ask over and over again. We are working with him on his patience level and I’ve had the most success with our “Patience Hat.” When Bean starts pushing something that he has to wait for, I will say to him in my silly voice, “Oh, no! Did you lose your Patience Hat??? Do you need to borrow mine???” And then Bean and I giggle while I pull my imaginary Patience Hat out of my pocket and try to get it to stay on his head. That’s usually good for a few laughs and diffuses the situation before either a) Bean explodes or b) I explode.
Three years old is a tough age, I’ll admit it. But it’s tough in the most incredible ways. Three years old for Bean has been about learning and understanding for himself instead of having information fed to him. It was no longer acceptable to believe things just because Mom or Dad said it. Now, he wants to know WHY things worked that way. Bean asks us why all the time, and it can get frustrating, but it really is just a way of learning for him. The human mind is incredible, but preschool human minds are absolutely fascinating!