It is spring break and Tessa is too young for camp. So I work from my couch and she entertains herself.
It goes better than you’d think. Too young for camp is just right for her dollhouse and the train tracks and the coloring books and the puzzles and all these other toys we’ve managed to accumulate over the years.
Her pretend play interests me to no end. There is lots of “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “Baby,” with plenty of animals and Frozen characters thrown in for good measure. Her chatter goes something like this:
“You want hot dog? Yes, Mom. I want two. Okay, two hot dog. You want hot dog, Kitty? Yes. Okay. Why you leaving? Because. Over there hot dog and train. Put on coat. Okay put on my coat. Aaahhh I falling! Oh, I sorry.” And on and on.
It says a lot about where she is right now. There is lots of “why” and lots of “because.” Lots of “please” and asking politely. Lots of “hello” and “bye bye.”
Being more aware of the world around her means sometimes she gets shy and quiet and even clingy. She still asks to be carried downstairs in the morning or picked up when we’ve walked for a while. But she’s also finally started talking about herself more as a “big” kid and less as a baby, which she pronounces “beebee.”
She has a silly disposition that Graham didn’t have at this age. He is just learning to love jokes, but she is already all about making funny faces.
Two months into school and while I still don’t get anything resembling a reliable report of what happened from her, she does reference her teachers by name and takes great pride in her art projects.
She does not sing at school but she will do hand motions. She will only sing at home if no one sings with her.
She often refuses to hold my hand even when she has no choice in the matter. But I usually let her hold Graham’s hand instead, and she’s always up for that.
Like Graham, she went through a long period where she refused and avoided cuddling and hugs. But she’s getting past it. It’s not uncommon for her to hang on my leg when I’m sitting down and requests to sit on my lap are common. Even sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she just reaches out and waits for me to sit with her and hold her for a few minutes before she’ll go back to sleep.
Tessa is stubborn… but easily distracted. She’ll stand her ground for a couple of minutes, then you can almost always get her to do the thing she was so strongly against seconds before.
She is not exactly toilet trained. She is happy to use it on her schedule, which is usually just once or twice a day. This morning, with both of us home for the day, I thought we’d give underwear a try. She was down with it for five minutes, then cried and asked for her diaper back. To her credit, she said maybe she could try again tomorrow. While I won’t miss the diapers, I will miss the little crinkly sound of her walk. Assuming we ever get there.
No longer an easy eater, but not picky either, she often just won’t eat her dinner at all. There’s not a huge fuss, she just won’t do it. And every success is usually followed shortly by failure. Like the pasta with cherry tomatoes I made on Sunday, which she ate enthusiastically (3 bowls!) only to reject it with tears on Monday.
She is still, in most ways, my easy kid. Graham cannot let 3 minutes pass without asking for something. Tessa does make requests, but there’s usually 20-30 minutes between them. She forgets about the TV, forgets about snack, forgets about a promised outing. It’s a pretty great deal for me, since 2 kids asking that often would probably make my head explode.
She likes pink and hearts and butterflies and princesses. She also likes dinosaurs, Spiderman, and trains.
I used to think of her as bold and fearless. But she is becoming more cautious as time passes and I haven’t figured out yet if that’s good or bad. Graham offered to let her try his balance bike and she sat on it only to immediately get off. I think it’ll be a while before she tries again.
She still falls asleep in the car if it’s afternoon or evening and we drive for more than ten minutes.
She calls Graham “Grammer” or “Graham Cracker.”
Some mornings she can be plagued by a funk of feelings, but it happens less and less. She can get stuck sobbing, but it happens less and less. I still have to say “Use words, please,” but it happens less and less.
This is the go-with-the-flow child. This is the child who doesn’t make requests about what we eat for dinner or where we go for the day. She is the classic younger child in that way. If she did get it in her head that she wanted one thing and then we end up doing another, she usually responds by thinking for a second and then saying, “Later?” I tell her, “Yes, we can do it later.” And then she says “Okay,” and she’s fine.
There is still a lot she doesn’t understand. She’s made so much progress in the last year that I forget that a lot. But I’ve officially made the switch from assuming she doesn’t understand me to assuming she does.
She is called Tessa and Tessy and Tess. I’m still not quite sure which one she’ll feel most herself in, but for now, at 3, getting to be such a big girl, she is Tessa to me as long as she’ll have it.