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Blink. Three years!

2009-01-28 - 10:01 p.m.

Dear Grommet,

With much fanfare and the oft-requested "chocolate cake with pink icing", you turned three years old this past Saturday. I think that this means that, while you’re still technically a toddler, soon you’ll officially be a pre-schooler (for what that’s worth). More importantly, you’re turning more and more into a little person. You know almost all the letters, and are working on writing them, and you can count to nine. You can’t read exactly, but you can recognize a few words on sight, even if you can’t sound them out based on the sequence of their letters. You can spell “moon” and “Bob” out loud.

I confess that I get easily frustrated when I try to teach you to read because you talk so well and seem to know so much, yet you don’t yet grasp the concept of stringing the sounds that letters make together in order to read words that you aren’t already familiar with. The other night I just about tore my hair out over the fact that you could tell me that U-P says “up” and C makes a “c” sound, but you couldn’t say “c” then “up” together to read the word “cup”. I know that this concept will just click one day and you’ll blow my socks off, but in the meantime I think it might be easier on my blood pressure to let your father concentrate on teaching you to read.

Another confession: I lose my cool with you more than I really want to. Again, I think it’s partly because you have the verbal skills I associate with being more able to reason and to control one’s own actions. I know, intellectually, that you just turned three, but you talk like a real person, so why would you do things you know you’re not supposed to? Why would you do them right after you’ve been told not to? Your answer is that you “want to” and I know that to a three-year-old this is probably enough justification, but honey, it’s not. And it’s a drag to have to teach you this, especially when I’m trying to teach you that you can do and be anything you want to if you put your mind to it. I hope you’ll grow up to be a self-confident person who strives for worthy goals, but I also have to teach you the limits you have to operate within in terms of behaviour that’s acceptable and expected in society. I’m sorry I have to say “no” so much. And I’m sorry I sometimes do it in a louder and more disapproving manner than perhaps I should. I’m doing my best here.

And I do think that I’m not totally off-track. For all that I despair over simple lessons (like listening to your parents and doing what you’re told the first time) not getting through, the vast majority of the time you really do me proud when we’re out and about. Over and over I’ve gotten comments and compliments on how well-behaved you are, and how polite. I am so proud of the little person you’re turning into. You’re not perfect because, well, nobody is, but you’re darn good and in my eyes you’re the most wonderful little girl in the whole world – you’re bright, and beautiful, and loving, and devoted to me, your daddy, and your brother. I would never trade you for anything and my love for you is fierce and unwavering.

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