Tuesday, November 18, 2014

P is 3

Once upon a time, I had a baby. A little tiny baby (well...an 8lb 12 oz baby, so maybe not SO tiny...) And then I blinked, and she turned three, and became a full blown PERSON, and despite hearing all the cliches in the world regarding how fast the time goes, it still blows my mind to be the mother of an actual walking/talking/independent-thinking little being, when I could swear she was just a little lump of newborn deliciousness like five seconds ago.

Don't get me wrong, I like the three year old version of Piper (plus...I love her) but it's just surreal that I have a child. Not a baby. Not a toddler. A kid. I didn't think I would get all sappy about it, especially considering that some things about this stage that make it my favorite age yet: she's funny, and creative, and sweet, and smart. But more importantly, she's all of those things on purpose. Before, I felt like we couldn't quite tell the difference between "stubborn because I'm a headstrong little girl, you guys better get ready" and "stubborn because I'm two, this to shall pass". It was hard to attribute actions or traits to her real personality, because it could have also been a developmental stage. But something about three has solidified who she is, and how we see her in a new way. Sure, she's still innocent, and curious, and short tempered and impatient the way most young kids are....and some of those things may stick, while some of them she'll grow out of. But I feel like we're getting to know her better on an individual level, and that is just so much fun.

Wait- but the sappiness? Well that's the other side of the coin, because every time she does something independent, or thoughtful, or just plain big-kid-like, I'm reminded that she's not a baby anymore, and never will be. Most of that is awesome....But you can't blame me for being just a teeny bit nostalgic for the Piper of days gone by- that little ball of chub who used to sleep on my chest, the two toothed grinner who constantly babbled incoherently/adorably, and the fiesty toddler who would "gump" without leaving the ground. (go ahead...click that last one...it's worth all 14 seconds...)

So what is our little 3 year old pistol like these days?
Well...She's sweet. She's constantly surprising me with how thoughtful she can be. She has so much love, and is so giving to us, her sister, her grandparents and her friends. She certainly has her fits of selfishness (sharing and taking turns can be hard) but she also has so much empathy. When we ready books, it's common for her to ask "Why he not happy?" about any character who appears less than overjoyed. And she's always thinking about ways to cheer people up (typical solutions are sharing her snack, or giving them a toy...) Recently she's been extra sweet, chiming in randomly with an "I love you mom and dad." I will take that anytime.

She's also spunky. Half of the words out of her mouth are complete nonsense, just because she thinks it's funny. She's remarkably loud when she wants to be (regardless of if I want her to be). And the most notable development over the last few months is the constant declaration of "I do it alllll by MYSELF." That is said in reference to...everything. She certainly knows what she wants. We're able to reason with her to some degree, but she's quite the negotiator. It's not uncommon for her to sell us an idea- "We can go to the park after lunch, mom. That's ok. That's ok if we do. We can." Thanks, Pipes.
And she's smart. She can memorize books after hearing them once (ok...she makes up some of the words, but catches on to the gist remarkably fast). She's repeats things I never even realize I said, which can be somewhat dangerous. But besides her steel trap mind, I'm stunned by her thoughtfulness. We used to tease that she had perma-judgy face, and while that's softened a little (she now splits time between an epic smile, and a furrowed brow of concentration), she is definitely a watcher. She prefers to take things in rather than be the first to jump into the action. She surprising us more and more with how brave she can be (previously anything from a loud noise, to a strange texture could set her off) but she still tends to observe first, seeing how things work, and then electing to join in. A friend of ours commented at her birthday party that he had never seen a kid open presents so thoughtfully and deliberately. I didn't notice much until he brought it up, but he was right. There wasn't a mad flurry of paper ripping, with presents flying one after the other. She ripped into each one excitedly, but then paused to ask "What is it? Can we open it? What does it do? Can we play with it now?" There was no rush to the next box, she practically had to be reminded that there were more to open because she was so enthralled with the one she had.

She's a great and many things, that Piper Jane. Thoughtful but wild. Sweet but stubborn. Independent but loving. Responsible but silly.

 And what is it to have a 3 year old? I'd say it's bittersweet...a word that I'm starting to think is just synonymous with motherhood. With a big emphasis on the sweet.

Mama: Why are you so big?
Piper: Because I growed.
Mama: When did that happen?
Piper: When my birthday coming up. That's when I was bigger!

(P.s. I asked Dustin how he would describe her, and he responded, "Awesome, wrapped in cuteness." So there's that.)
(P.p.s. For what it's worth, we decided then we would describe Fin similarly: Awesome, wrapped in bacon, wrapped in cuteness.)

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