Thursday, January 8, 2015

Letters to Tory: 3 1/4 Years

Tory Girl,

You're three years and four months old now, and growing into a delightful young girl. Monthly changes in your physical, mental and emotional development may not be as significant as they once were in earlier years, but I still plan to check in from time to time to record what's new with you.

I'd heard plenty of warnings about having a three-year-old, or "threenager" as some people call it; raising a child with near-constant mood swings, complaints and the general attitude of a teenager. Oddly enough, that definition sums you up fairly well these days. Oh, the drama! You've tapped in to your inner feelings since turning three years old, always telling Dad and I when you're feeling mad or frustrated in the grandest form of expression, or devastatingly sad when something doesn't go your way. One minute you're pouting in your room and the next minute nicely playing toys with Aden -- so polarizing! -- it's hard to keep up sometimes.

Other times (many, many other times), Tory Bean, you are an absolute joy. You're witty, compassionate, love fiercely and so gosh darn smart it makes my heart burst with pride. You can read and recite the alphabet, count from 1-20 (sometimes higher) and from 10-1 consistently. You recognize the spelling of your name and can write T and O without assistance (we're still perfecting R and Y) and you have the memory of an elephant. (I like to boast you get that trait from me).

We dealt with a fairly large spell of separation anxiety in the early part of Age Three. You started preschool two times a week this past fall and absolutely despised separating from me on those mornings. It's not that you didn't love your time at school, or your teacher for that matter, because you'd later talk nonstop about the things you experienced there, but you'd also lecture me for days about leaving you and how it made you feel. We also have a regular babysitter who comes to the house once a week for a few hours and you'd panic the minute the doorbell rang. There was no rhyme or reason to the madness; one day suddenly it stopped and you've been fine with separating ever since. Now, you love school and adore our babysitter which is so much easier on everyone.

It's amazing to me how strong, yet different, your relationships are with Dad and I. You are a mama's girl for sure, always insisting I be the one to help you dress, refill your water glass or read bedtime stories to you at night. But, you're also Dad's little fishing buddy; his constant shadow on the weekends. You're the best snuggler around and sometimes around 5:00 or 6:00am come sneaking into our bedroom, peer over the side of the bed and ask, "Is Daddy at work yet?" because you know I'll let you in bed with me to cuddle.

Other things to note about you at 3 years and 1/4 months:

You weight 28 pounds and are 34 inches long, which is a bit on the smaller side for your age. You wear 3T clothing and size 7 shoes. You insist on wearing dresses and leggings daily ("Mom, can I wear a beautiful dress today?"), and pajama dresses at night for sleeping. You've got a closet full of shirts, pants and jeans that you mostly refuse to wear. No matter, I suppose, because most days you wear a play princess dress, plastic high heels, bracelets, hair clips and necklaces over your clothes anyway.

Sleep continues to be an on-going struggle with you, Tory Girl. You're not consistently sleeping through the night and usually wake up in hysterics anywhere from 1-4 times a night. You often talk and thrash around in your sleep and generally don't seem to be resting very peacefully. We started a bedtime routine chart around the time of your third birthday and it's been the most successful method in getting you to sleep through the night. Given your natural first-born, driven-to-achieve personality, you love earning stickers on your chart for good sleeping habits like staying in your bed all night and not calling out for one of us. It helps ... sometimes. I dream of the future when Teenage Tory sleeps for hours on end. You're also taking a 30-90 minute nap most days, though you can go all day without one on occasion.

You're now fully potty-trained 24/7 which seems like the biggest milestone to report. You're a bit lazy when it comes to bathroom habits and insist on needing "help" cleaning and washing up afterwards, but you haven't had a bathroom accident during the day or night in ... I can't remember when.

In the last year, you've developed a deep attachment to a stuffed sheep called "Lambie" (from the Doc McStuffins television show) and a pink and purple baby blanket. Your favorite things to play are dollhouse and "fashion show" in princess dress-up clothing. I continue to be amazed how well you'll play independently in your room with toys, or with your dollhouse figurines. Whenever Grandma Janie stops over, you insist on playing fashion show by dressing up and having her announce your entrance into a room. You also love princesses and the colors pink and purple.

Call it a result of your surroundings, one of your favorite activities lately is going ice fishing with Dad. Actually, I think what you most enjoy is spending quality time with your dad while exploring the world around you. You live for weekends at the cabin just as much as we do, and ask repeatedly throughout the week how many more days until we'll go there. You also enjoy drawing, painting with watercolors and making construction paper crafts. One of your favorite things to do lately is "make lists" about anything and everything (what you want for Christmas, what we're planning to do that day, etc.)

Goodness, girl, you love to eat! Most days, I am amazed by the amount of food you're able to consume. Though, you are quite particular. Some of your favorites foods are frozen waffles, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, butter toast, raspberries, bananas and chicken. Any sort of green vegetables? Forget about it.

Shortly after your turned three we took a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to visit your best friend Ashley. She moved away in October and though it's been four months since you've seen or talked to her (except for our one trip there in November), you talk about Ashley near daily. You often tell me you have two best friends -- me and Ashley -- which melts my heart into pieces.

Grandma Janie is another favorite person of yours and you practically burn tracks into the floor the minute she walks through the door. Your steel-trap memory often recites memories of places we've gone with Grandma, including Mexico last year and a recent trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin this fall.

And finally, I can't forget to mention the special relationship you and Aden share. I hope the two of you remain as close as you are right now because your sibling bond is so strong. You take such good care of him always running to retrieve his favorite blue blanket when he's crying or giving him his "pass" (pacifier) as you call it for short. You include him in every activity, share all of your toys without question and are so aware of his needs and of others.

I suppose I could go on and on writing humorous things you've said or recite cute stories and events in the last few months, but I'll close by saying how wonderfully blessed we are to have you as our daughter. I love you more each and every day.


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