You are three years old now! Happy birthday!
This time of year always tugs at my heartstrings as I reflect on the days before and after you were born. If I close my eyes and think of that time, I remember "walking you out" in hot and humid weather at the Minnesota State Fair (to no avail, I might add); marveling at your minutes-old face and tiny fingers as we met you for the first time; and, among other things, the smell of our three-season porch on cool mornings days after we brought you home from the hospital. You made Daddy and I parents when you were born, Tory Bean, and turned our lives upside down in an instant. What a wild ride it's been with you in the past three years.
Tory, you are a wonderful blessing from God. You are so full of personality, independent, courageous, caring, intelligent and beautiful. You know exactly what you want in life, and you're already figuring out how to get it by using the world to your advantage (in a good way!). Everything you do has to be your idea, and we often joke how much you're alike Daddy in this way. For this reason, everyday life with you is all about choices -- peanut butter and jelly sandwich or ham and cheese for lunch; the books we read to you before nap time, the pair of shoes you wear with an outfit; or, the cup you drink from at meal times -- you're a girl who knows what she wants, and you are sure to let us know exactly what you prefer!
Most of the time you're very sweet, Tory, and one of the things I love most about you is your nurturing side. You love others with all your heart -- especially your brother. Aden is your little buddy and 24/7 best friend. The two of you light up with excitement when you see one another in the mornings and you're always doing things to make him happy. Just last week, Aden was crying in the living room and you dashed off to the kitchen to find his pacifier. When you couldn't locate it, you brought back one of your toys and handed it to him without hesitation.
Let's see what else is new with you at Age Three:
(Milestones from the last year: 2 1/4 years; 2 1/2 years; 2 3/4 years)
Your official 3 year well-child doctor's visit isn't until later this week, but I estimate you to weigh about 26 pounds. (I'll update with actual stats when I have them.) You are moving into size 3T clothing and wear size 6 shoes. You're a little peanut compared to other friends your age who are suddenly growing much taller than you. You're petite in stature with big, brown eyes and light brown hair reaching to your shoulder blades.
Big news in the sleep department! A few months ago, Daddy bought you a sticker chart to help teach you how to sleep through the night and guess what? It worked! Something about earning a sticker every morning for a good night's rest was incentive enough to keep you in your bed all night long. This is huge, Tory! You haven't consistently slept all night for any period of time in your entire life. You now typically sleep from 8:30pm - 7:00am and take one afternoon nap from 1:30pm - 3:00pm. Not every night is a night without wake-ups, but we're on the right track. You're still very much a "schedule" child. Deviate from routine sleep times and there's a price to pay with a very whiny and demanding Tory Girl on our hands.
Another recent development for you is potty training. I've documented at length your yo-yo journey with learning to use the toilet over the last year, and last month you finally nailed it. One day you asked to use the toilet and essentially, that was it -- no turning back. You're doing remarkably well with it all, with close to zero bathroom accidents. Now you're three, I'm going to move you from Pull-Ups at naps/bed time to underwear as you've been staying dry during sleep for weeks already. Big girl, Tory! We're so proud of you.
In other areas of development (for my own record's sake), you can count from 1-16 and 10-1 without much trouble, and can also count from 1-10 in Spanish. You know all of your primary colors and know about half the letters of the alphabet. You can also spell your name T-O-R-Y and can write the "T" and "O" by yourself. (We're perfecting "R" and "Y" now.)
After Aden was born and developed a fondness for his favorite blue blanket, you, too, have shown preference to "snuggling toys" as you call them. You now have a favorite stuffed lamb toy called "Lambie" and a brown and pink dotted baby blanket you sleep with at naps and bed time. It's so funny to me because you were never a child attached to anything for sleeping (except, me. ha.) and now - because Aden has one - you suddenly have something, too. Your favorite television character is Dora the Explorer and your favorite game to play is hide and seek. As I mentioned above, one of your favorite toys is your dollhouse. You'll sit, play and imagine an entire world for your tiny dollhouse people for hours on end.
THINGS TO DO
Some of your favorite activities are swimming at both a local pool for lessons and at the lake cabin. Daddy and I are so proud of your swimming progress this summer. You can now dive for rings in the swimming pool and aren't afraid to submerge your eyes and nose in the water. This summer, you also learned to jump off the dock into the lake and tread water while wearing your life jacket. You also went tubing behind the pontoon for the first time last month, and you loved it!
We took many trips to various parks around town this summer, and one of your favorite things to do was have a picnic lunch there. I think you liked picnics more than actually playing on the playground equipment! You love snacks and sandwiches, that's for sure.
Speaking of food, you continue to be a very good eater. Your favorite things to eat are anything called "snacks," toast with butter (you'd eat butter right out of the container if we let you!), yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, popcorn, and smoothies. For some reason, you're still very confused about the meaning of breakfast, lunch and dinner and often call breakfast foods "lunch" or dinner time "breakfast." No matter how many times we correct you, or use the correct terminology you just can't seem to catch on to the real meanings. Strange. You're not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants eater like some kids. You have to eat something for breakfast minutes after waking up in the morning, or you'll completely melt down. Same goes for Noon and 5:30pm daily.
PLAYMATES, FRIENDS and FAMIY
Your best friends continue to be your "city friend" Ashley and your "cabin friend" Hannah. The pair of you in each situation (weekdays in the city / weekends at the cabin) are practically inseparable. You love these girls with all your heart. You play well with others, are very good at sharing toys for your age and accept others into playtime situations easily.
You tell me your favorite thing to do with Grandma Janie is "play" and to "bake" with Nana Candy. You idolize your cousin Brooke and get along very well with her when we're visiting family back in Nebraska.
Finally, I thought it'd be fun to hear from you on your 3rd birthday so I asked you a series of "interview questions" to remember what you were like at this age. Here's what you had to say:
How old are you today? "Three. Three. Three!"
Where do you live? "[street name], Minnesota"
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? "Eat ice cream!"
What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? 'Go on the merry-go-round." (We just this a few days ago at the Minnesota State Fair.)
What is your favorite thing to do with Aden? "Play, and give him his pacifier."
What is your favorite color? "Brown, because I have brown eyes. And pink and purple!'
Who is your best friend? "Ash"
What is your favorite book? "Ladybug Girl"
What is your favorite food to eat? "Sandwich"
What is your favorite thing to play? "Dress up"
Where is your favorite place to go? "Minnesota"
What is your favorite song? "Minnie Mouse song"
If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? "Princess dress"
What is your favorite animal? "Lions. And I like hippos, too."
What would you like to do when you grow up? "Princess"
What do you want to do on your birthday? "Play"
Happy birthday, Tory Bean! We love you.