three years old

Oh, my sweet baby Jujubee.

Actually, I can’t call her a baby anymore.  I was calling her my baby all this time, but when I started potty training her a few weeks ago, I consciously (albeit sadly) made the switch to calling her a “big girl.”  She didn’t like it at first, insisting to me that she was a BABY, but eventually it caught on, and now she says that she’s not a baby, she’s a Big Girl.  (She has often continued by saying that Lyd is a big girl, and Momma is a big lady, and Daddy is a big J_____.  I don’t know how she got the idea to call me a lady, but it has stuck.  Like it or not, I am a Big Lady.)

So, Oh, my sweet big girl Jujubee.

She’s three now, and I don’t know if it’s the fact that she’s completely potty-trained now or what, but she just seeems so different.  She seems older and more mature and more like … a little girl.  She can amuse herself quite well on her own in the mornings while I try to get a few things done around the house.  Some mornings I take a little time with her to do some directed play, and during those times I’ve started teaching her the alphabet.  She’s starting to recognize more letters than just the letters in her name.  She also is finally catching on to the concept of counting.  She has known the order of the numbers for a while, and can even identify numbers, but the idea of actually counting things was not registering with her.  But, recently, she’s gotten it, and she can actually count things now.

She’s starting to do imaginary play, making up simple stories with dolls and other toys.  It’s neat to hear her talking to herself as she uses her props to tell a story.  She also impressed me last week by thinking of an animal to pretend to be.  She comes along and participates in the music class that I teach the Kindergarteners at our school once a week.  This past week we did a song where I asked each kid to name an animal that we should pretend to be for one verse of a song.  She understood the concept of “coming up with an animal to pretend to be,” and she knocked my socks off when on her first turn she chose to be a monkey, and on her second turn she chose to be a dinosaur!  She also really enjoys doing puzzles, and she will specifically ask me to bring out certain puzzles.  Right now, she likes one with dinosaurs, which is probably where she got the “pretend to be a dinosaur” idea from.

When she was sick last week, I spent some time rocking and singing to her in the evenings, more so than I have done in a long time.  One of the songs I sang to her, a song that was a staple when she was a baby, was “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb.”  Just today I heard her singing that melody to words she had made up on her own, causing me to be once again amazed at how musical her little brain is.  She still can keep a very steady beat, although she could do that already by 18 months of age.  However, her pitch is improving all the time, and her singing is becoming more in-tune, as evidenced by the fact that I could tell she was singing to the tune of “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb.”

She still imitates her big sister completely.  She will copy whatever big sister does, good or bad.  She can also be quite assertive, pushing big sister out of the way when she wants whatever big sister has.  But she’s also getting much better at truly playing with other kids her own age.  Yesterday, I hosted a little birthday party/playdate for her and three other girls her age.  I really was quite impressed with her.  The girls all played with playdough together, and Jujubee did pretty well with the sharing.  She had received some new playdough toys that she was enjoying, but the other girls wanted a turn, too.  Jujubee initially did not want to share, so I told her she had one more minute to play with them, and then she had to share.  I put 60 seconds on the timer, and I told her that when the timer beeped, then she had to let the other girls have a turn.  Well, I was amazed to see her give the toys to the other kids on her own at only about 20 seconds in.  In other situations, too, I’ve definitely seen that she gets the concept of sharing.

She also understands being patient and standing in line.  Whether she’s waiting behind Lyd to wash her hands in our bathroom, or whether she’s lining up with the school kids at the end of recess (although she can’t go down to the classrooms with the kids; she’s always disappointed about that), she knows what it means to stand in line.

What it all comes down to is that she is really growing up.  In many ways, she is much less of a baby than Lyd was at this age.  I have probably over-babied my girls too much physically, but Jujubee, by virtue of being the second child, hasn’t experienced that as much as her big sister did.  So, at three years of age, she’s able to do more things on her own than Lyd could at this age.  And from a certain perspective, it makes me sad.  I don’t have a baby in the house anymore, and I miss it.  😦

But, she’s still got some elements of baby-hood remaining.  She still sleeps with Blankie and Nukker every night, and I have no idea how to make her give up that nuk (pacifier).  She still wants to hold my hand when we walk anywhere outside.  While she likes to watch the big kids play outside at recess, she often prefers to watch them from the comfort and safety of my lap.  She’s not completely over her baby-hood yet.

But she’s growing.  Oh, my, is she growing.  And she’s growing more beautiful every day, both on the inside and on the outside.  Her looks have been gradually shifting over the past few months, and once again her eyes are looking bigger than ever.  We used to call her Little Miss Big Eyes when she was an infant, and lately I’ve been noticing her eyes again.  She has copious thick, dark lashes (that I can’t help but envy a bit) surrounding her golden brown eyes.  With her rosy lips, curling golden brown hair, and adorable chubby cheeks, I think she’s just amazingly beautiful.

Even better, she has a kind spirit and a loving heart.  She still can’t stand to see children or adults sad or in pain.  Today we stopped at the library to return some books, and an infant was wailing away.  She couldn’t get that crying baby out of her head, and wanted to keep talking about it.  She even brought it up to her father at supper an hour later.  When her big sister gets in trouble, Jujubee almost always chooses to share in the punishment with her, or at least offers her hugs and kisses to make her feel better.  She is showing the beginnings of a very tender heart, and I hope that my husband and I can cultivate that appropriately throughout her growing-up years.

My sweet little Jujubee is such a blessing to our family.  I am so incredibly thankful that she arrived safe and sound in body and mind, especially considering her rather harrowing birth.  It’s been three years, but every time I tell the story of her birth (Lyd asked me to tell it to her and Jujubee as a bedtime story on the night of her birthday), I get weepy.  I came far too close to losing her before I ever knew her.  As time goes on and I see what I would have lost — I can’t imagine not having this amazing little girl in my life.  She is such a blessing.

I can’t wait to see how her life unfolds.  I have no doubt she’s going to grow up into an incredible woman.