Getting my three-year-old out the door in the mornings can be a slow process. Even when I think we’re on time, those last few steps of using the bathroom, putting on socks, deciding on shoes, getting into the van and carseat can take much longer than I expect. A couple months ago I realized I should start doing some big sister training exercises to help our out-the-door process get a little quicker before little Isaiah is added into the mix. (I’ve had a combined practice of 7 months of having two children to get ready in the mornings from our last four foster children so this is not all new.) With Ali approaching four years old, she’s capable of much more independence than we often expect or require of her. Undressing and dressing herself, including shoes and socks, was the biggest process I wanted to help her master before Zay’s due date. I made a sticker chart with a list of tasks, including some she was already routinely doing (staying in her bed all night, putting her dirty clothes in her laundry basket), and those that I wanted her to work on. It took her two months to fill the chart because we forgot about the stickers most of the time! Especially the ones that happen in the rush as we’re going out the door. But the great news is that she’s capable of doing everything on this list now. (Getting her to do it quickly and without requesting help is still a work in progress…) She earned the prize of her choosing: Candy Land. I’m really proud of her. She’s so excited to be a big sister to Isaiah and to do all of these “big girl” things without help.
[Disclaimer: I typically do “hair night” every other day…this was after skipping it for two nights…4 days without detangling and moisturizing. Don’t judge me! I’m 9 months pregnant and my husband was out of town for several days! 😉 ]
Three years! Oh this age is fun! There is testing and yelling and sassy attitude (see Return of the Threenager. Run for your lives! or 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out). But there is also imaginative play, learning to draw people and spell words, real two-way conversations and ever increasing independence.
Ali Mae, I am so thankful that you were born and that you were placed in our family. It’s a joy and a privilege to be your mommy. It doesn’t seem possible but you continue to get more beautiful everyday, inside and out. You love people. You always have but it’s been so fun to see you interacting more and more with “friends,” AKA everyone you met. When we go to the playground or the pool or church, you’re always delighted to see other kids—even if they’re older than you—and you quickly go up and ask them “What’s your name?” and “What do you want to play?” I’ve never seen a toddler command an audience and organize activities quite like you. We’re often told by others how polite and considerate you are. You pick up on every nuance of conversation and social interaction. I’ve witnessed you seeking out the loaner and then pulling him into the group of kids with everyone else. You often ask me, “How was your work today?” or “How was your day?” and always listen intently to my response. I love to hear you communicate your thoughts, feelings, questions and discoveries so clearly. You’re always ready to learn and eager to try again when you make a mistake. When I apologize for letting you down or losing my temper, you’re quick to forgive and offer me another chance, too. “That’s OK. Just try again,” you say. You have an incredible memory. I do not so I’m learning to rely on you a lot. You remember names when both Daddy and I forget. You recognize where we are when we’re driving around town. You love trivia and memorizing all kinds of facts. You’re a foster sister and that’s a heavy, important job. This past year you’ve said goodbye to three foster siblings—Buzz, Bee and Firefly. Your heart is big. I know you’ve experience a lot of heartbreak in your three years but yet you’re always quick to love again. I think you’re an amazing person and I learn a lot from you. I’m so thankful that you’re my daughter. I can’t wait to discover what this next year will bring, one day at a time!