Amy lately

“Milk! Minty! Do they rhyme?”

I forget the original word, but I was listing rhymes like “pail,” “whale,” and “avail,” and she said “available.”

Looking at my recipe box, talking to Mark, mentioning the Miscellaneous category, Amy wanted to know what kind of food Miscellaneous was, and then she thought maybe it was a girl’s name. Then she said, “CAT-e-gory! Cat! Cat! Gore! Do they rhyme?”

She notices the beginning and ending sounds of words — “Puh! Purple! What starts with purple?” “Burp — burPuh — burp starts with p!” She asks, “What does p start with” when she wants to know what starts with p.

She notices names — “Grandma calls Grandpa ‘Gene'” — “My last name is Prochaska” — gradually learning that Michelle is her middle name.

She can count one, two, or three objects pretty accurately. Sometimes even four. She can recite numbers quite high — sometimes into the thirties.

She likes to turn to the table of contents in her storybook and pretend to look for the story she wants.

She still recites a lot of books sometimes, especially in her room after bedtime.

She’s been asking me to sing “The church’s one foundation” over and over — she’s memorizing it. She’s already memorized most of “Hark! The herald angels sing.”

She doesn’t yet do the typical “Why?” or “Watch me” things, but she often asks us to say specific things like “Can Mama say ‘Look at you’ while you dance?”

She’s using “I” and “me” more consistently, although she still refers to herself as “you” often, especially when she cares so much about the content of what she’s saying that she doesn’t think about the form.

She’s often quite polite — “May I please have more milk?” in a nice tone.

She’s still plenty fiery, though, too — “MILK!!” and sometimes is so bent on what she wants that she’s unable to slow down and speak clearly so that we can figure out what she’s asking for. That’s especially true when she says something like “Want it,” or “Mama do that,” and she can’t understand why we don’t know what “it” or “that” refers to.

She can scream when she wants to — a scream full of fire and injured rage and upset. She has to be buckled into her booster seat for timeouts, because the battle would never end if we tried to make her sit on the chair of her own volition. I think the buckling actually helps her — it frees her somewhat from the inner obligation to resist. She can voice her upset instead of climbing it out.

She hits, lately; sometimes when very upset, and often when a timeout is announced or when it’s time to leave the playground. (I do give advance notice of time to leave.) She doesn’t hit very hard, and I suspect it’s much more about expression than about trying to hurt anyone.

She asks about wearing undies for nap — we talk about how her body will let us know when it’s ready. When we have five dry nap diapers in a row, we’ll give undies a try.

On the other hand, she just about refuses to try to poop on the potty before bed. We were fighting her over it, and just a few days ago decided that it was counterproductive. Now she’s been emerging just minutes after we put her to bed, asking to poop. We sit her down, then she decides she doesn’t have to and would rather go back to bed. The second time tonight, we told her she needed to sit for five minutes. A poop was produced, and announced with much toddler hand-clapping. We’ll see how it goes. (It’s not that we care what time she poops — but she seems to poop around bedtime anyway, and it would be nice if it would happen before the diaper goes on.)

Edited to add: tonight, and I think last night, she came out minutes after bedtime, asking to poop, and she did, and it was all quite fine. She also pooped earlier today on her own initiative. Backing off seems to have helped.

Today (Um, four days ago now) at the beach she played with two other little girls her age — they held hands and sang “Ring around the rosie,” and worked out the sharing of buckets and shovels with minimal parental intervention. I thought I heard the other girls tell her “no” about something, and she seemed to handle that okay — no running to me upset, no hitting or grabbing.

She’ll go right up to a strange kid and reach for a toy, not necessarily grabbing it, but clearly indicating her desire for it. I’m a little ambivalent about how to manage that — I want her to feel free about making friends and expressing her interests, and I suspect that letting the other party deal with the request will teach her more effectively than me intervening would, and yet I hope the other party understands that I don’t expect them to just give in to her.

She still loves to discuss everything that has happened. Multiple times. Usually in the form of questions — “Where did we go tonight,” and that sort of thing.

She likes to look at, hold, play with CD cases. She thinks Christie Burns looks funny (ha ha funny) on her CD cover, and names the other people and instruments she recognizes, and names the CDs, and talks about any song titles she knows. She could listen to her favorite CDs over and over all day every day. Gets upset when someone wants to listen to the radio instead (in the car) or have silence or listen to an unfamiliar CD, although sometimes she grows to like the new one, too.

———

I think she is definitely my child — intense, willful, and sensitive. I think my parenting mantra of “compassion and respect” is a good one for her — she needs firm guidance that doesn’t just directly oppose her (opposition begets opposition), she needs sympathy and understanding even when she can’t have what she wants, she needs to know that she is safe, accepted, and loved, she needs help learning how to manage herself and the world.

I need to be careful to keep paying attention — she may share many of my characteristics, and deeply so, but she’s not me and I should avoid merely projecting my own experience on her.

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