We have a real, live kid in our house now. I suppose Samantha is still a toddler, but she seems to have crossed some kind of divide in the past month or so. I had to look this up to be sure, but the next stage of childhood is called being a “pre-schooler,” and it includes 3-5 year-olds. What a horrible designation: pre-schooler. It’s like saying, “You’re not anything in particular, and the most fundamental thing we can think to say about you is that you’ll spend 2-3 years preparing for school, which will prepare you for life, which will come later.” I suspect this term would not exist if it weren’t for the fact that we have a public school system, with its rigid definitions and timelines for each child. I’m tempted to make up my own term for this age, but it’s pretty hard to make up a new term for something you’ve never experienced before!
Smell is the sense of the moment. Samantha must smell everything. And she almost always says, “Mmmmmm,” after a good sniff. So we get to hear things like, Mmmmm, PICKLE. Mmmmm, TOBY PAW. Mmmmm, COFFEE. Mmmmm, WINE. I like to take out the spices and let her smell them all. Mmmmm, CLOVE.
I think Sam has caught up with her peers, developmentally. As I mentioned last month, she recently came through a huge gross motor skills development cycle, where she learned to crawl (yes, she was unable to crawl until a couple of months ago!) and dramatically improved her skill at jumping, climbing, walking while bent over, and other such things. She has also improved her skills at pouring, carrying objects, pulling and pushing, and lifting. This spurt of growth, and the daily physical injuries that came with it, seems to have passed, which is a relief. (Check out the bruise in this photo…ouch!) Now I just get to enjoy the results. Tonight, Sam spent a good few minutes just walking a circut through the kitchen, dining room, and playroom, carrying one of her plastic chairs. Outside, whenever there is a slight incline, she likes to run up and down it a few times just to make sure gravity still works. She can also do a cute little skipping run and she is fast. Sometimes she holds hands with the the two kids who live next door and the three of them “gallop” down the sidewalk.
Sam’s verbal skills continue to improve. She uses words like both, another, before, after, later, want, mine, like, and (my favorite) love. It is not unusual for her to say something like, I WANT GO PWAYGWOUND MAYBE AFFER NAP…MAYBE? MAYBE LATER? I LIKE PWAYGWOUND. She can almost always express herself now, and incidents of frustration are fewer. However, when she does get frustrated, the intensity of the emotion is higher than ever. It can be almost frightening to see her get so mad and wild. But Positive Discipline continues to work well for us and I feel much less conflicted about how I’m handling these issues.
Both sets of grandparents get to see Samantha this month, which is so wonderful. I love to “share” her with them. I obviously love to share her with the entire world, as evidenced by this blog, but there is something so meaningful to me, just to know that they are seeing her grow up. I know that they see her in a way that is just a little bit like how I see her and I’m just desparate to show somebody: LOOK! DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE THE MIRACLE? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE JOY? I’m reminded that they went through all of this with me and with Adam, and that they see us in that way too. Before Sam, I never could have imagined these feelings in my wildest dreams, and I’m still not totally convinced that I’m not the only one who has them. Because if every parent feels this way, what keeps the world from exploding with happiness?