You’re most often Miss Christine; sometimes you’re Grandma, sometimes you’re Miss Xenia. “Miss Christine can’t play the boo game because she needs to eat.” “Are you (still refers to herself as ‘you’) Miss Christine?” You chose four rocks from the driveway that were all Miss Christine, and five that were all Daddy.
You love to play about eating and food. Outside the dining hall you gather sticks, and sometimes rocks and leaves, to “pretend to make lunch.” Sticks at the park are bones, and we peel off the bark, pretending it’s the meat. Sometimes sticks are fruit rocks. Or blankets. I’m always finding that you’ve put a cup with a spoon, or a plate and a fork, or some fruit, or something else, on the computer desk or my nightstand or dresser or a stool. Often you bring something “for mama to eat LATer.” Later never comes.
Speaking of bringing things, you often want me to hold something for you. Sometimes it seems to be about security — when another child is present, and you want to protect more toys than you can hold yourself. I suppose other times are about security, too — to know that your stuff will be safe, or to know that I’m participating, paying attention.
You don’t like it when I have to take a shower, or when you have to clean up, or some other things. You’re getting much better at using words to express your feelings — “You (that means Amy) don’t like that,” “You don’t want mama to do that.” Sometimes your face crumples up when you say it — sometimes there are tears — sometimes wails — sometimes screams that are so raw I know it hurts your throat. Those screams are when you’re over-tired, especially, and especially when mama’s tired, too, with patience running thin.
You use words a lot. Particularly words in the form of questions. “What did Amy / mama / Miss Christine / daddy / (name) do / want / say?” Sometimes it’s cheerful, a way to relive the fun of something — sometimes it’s sad or whiny or anxious, like when someone says no — especially if the no has to be repeated several times. Sometimes you’re just making conversation — you use questions perhaps because we’ve used questions so much in talking with you, in order to give you opportunities to talk, notice, answer, consider.
You also sing — some real songs, some bits of real songs, mostly babble with a few words and phrases. One recurring song has “Up and down a day” as a chorus. (Is that from Where the wild things are? We haven’t read that in months, memory girl…) Your singing is starting to vary in pitch a little, and often you get rhythms right. You still recite stories, but not as much as you used to. You talk on your pretend phone — you’ve called a website, Grandma and Grandpa (“May I please speak with Grandma?”), and you’ve answered the phone (“Hello, this is Marcy”) and hung up (“See you later”).
You still love books. Sometimes you get distracted, especially with a new book that hasn’t quite caught your interest — you try to turn pages, or pick up something else to look at, or you want to get down and stand instead of sitting in a lap.
You continue to love your blanket. You like to find your “part.” Usually somewhere on the wrong side, near the middle. It gets licked, chewed, sucked, and held close around nose and mouth while thumb-sucking, and cuddled with the other hand. You bring it wherever we go, although much of the time it’s tossed aside while you play, and you’re okay with it staying inside when you’re out. Then there are long moments where you just want to sit or lie down or be cuddled while you hold your blanket and suck your thumb. You like to play and suck your thumb with all four blankets when I’ve done laundry; I fold everything else first and then you let me fold the clean blankets.
You are beginning to care more about what you wear. You love your nightgowns. You love khaki. You love your dancer’s dress, even though it’s just a brightly flowered muumuu from Grandma. And you like skirts — but you like the ones from the store better than the ones I tried to make, at least so far. Mine aren’t as soft or ruffly. You can put on your own undies, although you need help pulling up the back. Pants and shorts and skirts, though, you can pretty much pull up all the way.
You wear a diaper for nap and bedtime. Sometimes after nap it’s still dry, or almost dry. You cry a little and complain about not wanting to wash your hands when we’re out, but I think that’s mostly because you’re still a little afraid of hand dryers and paper towel machines. You often go to the potty, or ask to be taken, when you need to. Sometimes you still have accidents, but now they’re the exception, not the rule.
You still mostly like to play by yourself or with mama, or occasionally with daddy. Sometimes you’re able to share graciously with other kids, but you’re still clearly in the stage of life where you need to feel secure about yourself and your things. You’re just starting to learn that when you play with someone, you need to let them make some of the decisions. You like to have your personal space. Sometimes you’re not so respectful of others’ personal space or their things. You are more attentive to other adults than to other children — did you inherit that from me?
You’re learning to play the memory game. To do a simple jigsaw puzzle. To ride your tricycle. To climb a ladder. To pump your legs on a swing. To drink from a water fountain.
Your delays and defiances and disobediences sometimes earn you timeouts. You’re not malicious — your testing of the boundaries is a normal part of this stage of life.
After a nap or in the morning, you often wiggle your doorknob, then come running out all full of energy. Your walk is more like a stomp. Sometimes you dance. Sometimes you run. Sometimes you jump with both feet. Sometimes you exercise.
You are charming and challenging, as you always have been. I love you.