Thursday, April 9, 2015

Letters to Tory: 3 1/2 Years

Tory Girl,

You're 3 1/2 years old now (3 years and 7 months, to be exact), so I thought it was time to check in and record a bit about life with you lately.

Age Three has been a wild ride for us as parents: fun and challenging all at once. Dare I say as much as you can test our patience and be a royal pain in the you-know-what sometimes, this is also one of my favorite times in raising you? You're blossoming into a little girl now; the baby and toddler days long behind. Surprisingly, it doesn't make me sad those days of babyhood are over because you're so much fun to be around now. I love spending time with you! You're always making me laugh with amusing observations and anecdotes, and it's neat to watch you interact with the world around you.

The beginning of Age Three was a very emotional time for you. You seemed to cry at the drop of a hat, and were both learning how to feel and cope with complex emotions like frustration, anger, worry and sadness. There were lots of ups and downs as we treaded carefully around your delicate heart. Now at Age 3 1/2, you seem to be more confident in yourself. Most days you're happy, talkative, inquisitive, outgoing and compassionate.

You show great independence in some ways -- like dressing yourself and buttering your own toast in the morning, you have to do those things all by yourself -- but also require gentle guidance and reassurance from Dad and I in tougher situations like solving conflict with your little brother. You and I have great conversations together, and I'm amazed by how curious and observant you are about things in everyday life. Your imagination is in full bloom and you'll sit for hours and play dollhouse. Usually the dollhouse people are sick and you have to take care of them. You like to pretend you're the "mommy" to your baby dolls, and ask me all the time how much longer until you can be a mom like me.

You absolutely love preschool - love it. Your favorite parts of school are craft days (Tuesdays), playing kitchen and drafting letters and pictures at The Writing Center. We haven't had any issues lately in parent/child separation at school or with our weekly babysitter, Sue. You shout, "Bye, Mom!" and run off to play with your friends or with Aden. We just finished music class and started swimming lessons. You like the water, but are cautious about putting your face under. You keep trying though! You listen to the instructor well and practice each week.

A new behavior I have to note about age 3 1/2 years: you've started talking in silly voices and using made-up words. Other parents were talking about this behavior in their own kids at ECFE preschool a few months ago, and I thought to myself how interesting it was that you weren't doing it. Now, here we go! Apparently, it's very common for kids age 3-5 years to talk in baby talk or use make-believe words. Some mornings I'll ask you what you want for breakfast and you'll respond "Wah-wah, woo-woo!," then just laugh and laugh. You seem to think it's hilarious; I just want to know if you want a waffle or toast.

Not much is new in this category. You're still about 28 pounds and around 36" inches tall. You wear 3T clothes and size 7 shoes. You're all about dressing yourself in the mornings, and I've tried to step back and let you express your personality in this way. You'll only wear dresses (with leggings because it's cold outside) and always want to know if it's warm enough to wear your "Mexico dresses" which are the short-sleeve ones you wore on vacation last February.

Dare I say sleep is going well for you? A few months ago, Daddy promised you a pet fish if you could successfully sleep through the night for 20 nights in a row. You did it, and ever since then you've slept in your own bed at night without an issue. Sometimes you do have to get up to use the bathroom (which doesn't count against you, in my opinion) but will go right back to sleep afterwards.

You've recently dropped napping all together which means you go right to sleep around 7:30pm each night. You're exhausted by the end of the day, so bedtime is usually easy-peasy. Quite the achievement considering your past sleep habits!

Well, sleeping through the night consistently is a big one! Pitiful that it's taken us 3 1/2 years to get to this point, but it has. Otherwise, I'd say your independence is a big achievement. You fully undress and dress yourself now. You can use the bathroom by yourself (though sometimes still ask for help). You pick up toys in your room and put your plate in the dishwasher after meals. You can identify all the capital (and some lowercase) letters in the alphabet. You can write your entire first name: T-O-R-Y. You're getting much better at cutting with a scissors.

Mostly the same favorites -- Lambie your stuffed lamb sleeps with you at night, along with a pink and purple blanket. Your favorite cartoon is Team Umizoomi and you love all things princess, especially Cinderella.  

You play dollhouse daily. You like to play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, put puzzles together, dress up as a princess, paint with water colors and make crafts. You love going to the lake cabin on the weekends and truly enjoyed our vacation to Sayulita, Mexico in February. You talk about our trip to Mexico a lot, and ask often when we'll be going there again. You like to stay busy and every morning ask me, "Where are we going today? Who's coming over?"

You're a creature of habit and survive mostly on butter sandwiches (yes, just butter and bread) or sometimes butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and dinner. You also like frozen waffles with butter or cream cheese and yogurt which is what you eat for breakfast most days. Sometimes, I can get you to eat chicken for a meal instead. Surprisingly, you'll eat beef burritos or enchiladas. You like raspberries, bananas and grapes. You won't touch any sort of vegetable. You still don't like milk. For the most part, I don't force a bunch of food rules and restrictions on you. You're a really good eater so as long as you get some food in your belly, I'm happy.

Your best friend continues to be Ashley, despite the distance as she now lives in Kentucky. Ashley's family came to Minnesota for a visit last month and the two of you picked right up where you left off last. I think it's adorable how much you adore her. Your other little friend is Hannah whom we see at the cabin on the weekends.

You're quite obsessed with your uncle Adam (my brother), which is strange since we very rarely see him. You're always asking me when we'll get to see him next. Though, funny enough, when we're at a family get-together with Adam you really have nothing to do with him. I think it's his height that amazes you so much. You always say things like, "My uncle Adam can do that because he's SO HUGE!"

Grandma Janie is one of your favorite people and you simply cannot get enough of her when you're together. You had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house a few weeks ago and they said you did great without us!

Of course, I'd say Aden is your best friend. The two of you have such a special sibling relationship. He idolizes you, and you're so sweet and gentle with him. I'm in awe of how accepting you are of him when you're playing dollhouse or princesses. You never seem to care if he grabs one of your toys or plays in your bedroom. In fact, you're great at including him and often say, "Here you go, Buddy!" handing him something to hold.


Tory, you're an absolute joy and I feel so fortunate to have you as my daughter. Every day with you is a gift. Looking forward to many more wonderful times together ahead.


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