Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Independent

At 19 months, Mia has decided that she's old enough to handle her own grooming, thank you very much. And most other aspects of her care, too.

These are the tasks she's ready to take over. My interference in any of these areas will not be tolerated.

  • Fingernail cutting and toenail cutting (as shown in this photo).
  • Deciding when and if to use her highchair. And climbing into and out of it at will.
  • Hairbrushing and the affixing of barrettes.
  • Clothing selection and dressing (as evidenced by her dress-on-dress combo, here.)
  • Face-wiping.
  • Tooth-brushing.
  • Dispensing of "bitees" (vitamins).
  • Feeding the cats.
  • Folding clothes.
  • Freeing herself from the horrible confinement of her diaper.
  • Reading bedtime stories.
  • Turning lights on and off (even--especially--when this means perching precariously on top of something to reach the switch).
  • Zipping and unzipping of jackets.

She would also like to handle all incoming and outgoing cell phone calls, faxing, putting stamps on letters, and writing with pens. Oh, and she doesn't need baths anymore. Those are for babies, mom. Sheesh.

Next, she'll be asking to drive and wear heels. Sigh. They grow up so fast.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Fearsome Fours

I’ve heard new moms quip that “three is the new two”—and it’s true, three-year-olds can dish out tantrums and power struggles that make the twos look positively angelic by comparison. But really, from my standpoint, the threes have nothing on the fours. The whining, the back talk, the sulking! So I’d like to propose an amendment to the saying du jour: I think four is really the new two.

What makes four so tough, I think, is that they’re really like little teenagers. Some parts of their development haven’t caught up with others. Their little minds seem to go non-stop and they spit out questions with alarming speed. They have overwhelming feelings and opinions that they can’t always articulate. And they’re increasingly conscious of the big, unfair, sometimes scary world they live in.

At four-and-a-half, Bianca is acutely aware of HER own needs, wants, and feelings, but she hasn’t yet learned to appreciate the feelings of others. It’s exhausting—some days, it seems like all we do is discipline, guide, redirect, comfort, reason, explain, answer, and repeat. Over and over again.

On the upside, four-year-olds can be insanely endearing. B makes tents for her sister. She treats the cats like her babies. She can help make dinner and clear her plate from the table afterward. She’s 100 % responsible for dressing herself and she usually does an amazing, if colorful, job. (I’ve been told she’s a “fashion icon.” She doesn’t get it from me!) Her understanding of the physical world is impressive, but still na├»ve enough to be adorable. Case in point: the other day she said, “Mom, please unbutton my dress. But don’t unbutton my belly button.”

So we’re halfway through the fearsome fours. I’ve heard five is better—is that when empathy arrives? Anyone have tips for dealing with this super-adorable, super-trying age?

B's had a big case of birthday fever, so I made her a cake for her half birthday this week.

Mia: our four-year-old in training.