This month was all about stories for you. Suddenly you were interested in all the classic tales, as if some developmental pin just dropped, causing you to want books about threes (pigs, billy goats, bears) with repetitive phrases and a clear beginning, middle, and end. Panicked by my inability to remember the plot to the Three Little Pigs, I found a kind children’s librarian who showed me the whole aisle of folk tales, so now I know where to go for your next pile of storybooks.
It’s not just stories in books these days, either. You suddenly love pretending things. Making a giant cardboard box into an ice cream store. Turning spangly scarves into an ocean or a bed to sleep on. And for the first time, you’re interested in making up stories with me. Here’s one we made up last weekend in Michigan:
Ezra and the Blueberry Monster
Once upon a time there was a boy named Ezra. He wanted to go blueberry picking. But when he arrived at the blueberry field, he found an enormous, ugly, scary blueberry monster. The monster said “who’s that tramping through my blueberry field? I’m going to gobble you up!” But Ezra said, “not if I gobble you up first!” and began to chase the monster through the blueberries. The monster was wily and knew all the secret passages between the blueberry bushes, so Ezra almost couldn’t catch him. But then, at the very last blueberry bush, Ezra caught him, and…gobbled him up! And he was delicious.
You are a masterful wordsmith, constantly adapting phrases you hear us use to fit your needs. Not always 100% accurately, but always 100% adorably.
Me: One more minute and then we’ve got to leave the beach.
Ezra: No! We can’t leave the beach. That’s the deal, Sarah.
Me: It’s time for your quiet time now.
Ezra: No! First I’m going to go potty and then Nana and Papa are coming over and then I can have quiet time. Those are your choices, Sarah.
Me: [Something Ezra doesn’t want to hear]
Ezra: What? [pauses for me to repeat] What? [pause] What, Sarah? What?
You are outgoing with strangers, often telling them long stories about your day that I have to translate for them. You recently started using this line on new friends: “My name is Ezra. This is my friend Sandy. What’s your daddy called?” You like to point at Zella and say, “that’s baby Zella.”
You are fascinated by Zella and her new words and skills. “Zella said Mommy,” you’ll tell me. “Zella climbed up on here with me!” You love playing with her right up until the moment you don’t, at which point it’s all “No, Zella! Stop!” followed by one or both of you screaming. If I can teach you one thing in month 38, it will be the benefit of occasionally letting her play with something she has stolen from you (happily, independently, out of your hair), rather than trying to take it back (tears, wailing, nobody can play).
While most days (squabbling with Zella over trains aside) end up being pretty fun, the truth is that being three is also very, very hard. Each day brings some new tragic disappointment. Choices are beyond confusing, and usually lead to bitter regret.
Me: If we read three stories, we won’t have time for songs. Do you understand? No songs. Just stories.
Ezra: Right. Just stories.
Me: [Three stories]. Ok! Time for your nap!
Ezra: But I want songs.
Me: Remember? We decided to do stories instead of songs.
Ezra: [Lip quivering, tears welling up, puppy eyes] But…I want songs. I want them, Sarah. [Weeping]
You do turn on a dime though. You can be sobbing your little heart out in utter devastation, but let your dada or I identify some positive alternative — “getting your toenails doesn’t hurt, Ezra, it just tickles!” — you immediately burst into a huge grin and say with complete commitment, “Oh! I’m happy now.”
The counterpoint to all the regret and despair this month is your newfound love affair with love. You have developed crazy crushes on a babysitter, a friend’s cousin, and some of our friends. You become moony-eyed and insane in their presence, showing off new tricks and trying to snuggle up close. Sometimes too close. My motherly heart breaks a little when I see a new crush try to extricate herself from your sticky clutches. But you don’t seem to notice, so I have to remind myself to just let you enjoy yourself.
Trip-trap trip-trap, little Billy Goat Gruff.