Liam Turns Three

December 27, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know, I know, all moms say it. But seriously, how is it that my little baby is three already? Every day he amazes me with smart new observations. Every day he drives me crazy whining and throwing fits, too. But I’m finding that while the temper tantrums have subsided somewhat, I’m getting a barrage of questions in their stead. A constant, “Mommy, what’s that?” and an emphatic point. Pretty soon it’ll be, “Mommy, why?” Welcome to Three.

What amazes me about this stage is how his life-long personality is forming. I’m getting a glimpse of the kind of child he’ll become once he starts school, and maybe even what kind of adult he’ll be. Here are a few of my observations:

  • Liam will never be comfortable with crowds. I really thought he’d outgrow his wariness of strangers and bustling activity, but I think Liam has inherited his father’s introverted tendencies. Since we’ve moved to Florida I’ve stopped attending so many group functions and focused more on either one-on-one play dates or activities for just Liam and me. Anytime I’ve tried to branch out –- going to story time or to a public toddler play space — I can tell Liam is way out of his comfort zone. I’m sure he’ll gain confidence once he starts school, but I suspect he’ll be that kid playing in the corner on his own most of the time.
  • He may be introverted, but I wouldn’t call Liam “shy.” Once he’s comfortable with a person or situation, he talks nonstop! It’s so cute to watch him play, giving a running narrative of what he’s doing. “Mommy, I’m gonna put this guy over here. And then I’m gonna open the door. Make the car go uuup the hill! And down again. Whee!” When people come to visit, he runs around the house like he’s showing off. He’s introverted, but talkative. An interesting combination of both his parents!
  • Driving has become a test of my patience. Liam is such a back-seat driver. I make a turn, he says, “No, Mommy, I don’t want to go this way!” I stop at a red light, “Want to goooo, Mommy!” And no amount of reasoning seems to help. “Honey, we have to go this way,” or, “Red light is stop, remember? We have to wait our turn,” is met by more whining. Last year he happily played with his singing alphabet toys, but now he’s very much concerned with where we’re going and how fast we can get there. I am NOT looking forward to Liam at 16!
  • Liam’s eating habits also drive me crazy. He’s gotten so picky that I’ve given up trying to feed him what we’re eating for dinner. Instead I fix him a plate of what I call “Rabbit Food,” dried fruit, nuts, crackers, freeze-dried peas and corn. He’s even turning his nose up at his former favorites, Tyson Chicken Fries and Chef Boyardee Forkables and Meatballs. Every meal turns into a whiny 20 questions, “Do you want fruit snacks?” Noooo! “Do you want goldfish crackers?” Noooo! If I ask him what he wants, he usually says he doesn’t want to eat, then complains two minutes later, “I’m huuuungry!” I thought giving him his own space in the pantry would help. But for some reason he still doesn’t register that he’s hungry and he needs to stop and get something to eat. He just gets progressively more upset until I suggest maybe he’s hungry.
  • As he’s approached three, Liam has gotten more interested in music. He can name almost all of the songs in my repertoire, and he frequently makes requests. He’s even started singing some songs of his own! I’m thinking of trying out a toddler music class if I can find an affordable one. Free would be even better, since Liam’s fear of large groups will likely trump his love for music. Sigh.
  • Liam’s also getting more interested in art. When I picked him up at the Y last week, they handed me two paintings he’d done. My boy is painting! I hung them up on the fridge, and every time he passes them, he remarks, “I painted those.” I hesitated to try him out on painting because he’s such a neat, finicky kid. But perhaps it’s time to break out the paints!
  • This could just be a phase, but this kid is obsessed with cleanliness. He complains when food falls on the floor, insists that I wipe his hands after he’s eaten (even when changing from one food to the other!), and has a melt down when his clothes or his blanket get wet or dirty. Today was a bit of an exception, as you can see in the above photo. But he he did get rather upset after the cupcake was gone and he realized he was covered in messy chocolate.
  • People keep telling me that kids this age want to be independent. They want to do things for themselves. But our infanthood nickname for Liam has held up: Lazy Liam. I’ve had to entice him with stickers for his sticker chart to do most anything for himself: take his own shoes off, feed himself with a spoon, brush his own teeth. So far teeth brushing and removing shoes has become a habit. But we’re still struggling with using utensils. This kid is going to insist I spoon feed him until he starts kindergarten! He hasn’t shown any interest in trying to dress or undress himself. But I think it’s like everything else he’s achieved…he has to feel confident he can do it before he’ll give it a try. I’m sure he’ll get there, but he has to figure it out at his own pace.
  • Potty training is going…painfully slowly. Most days he refuses to sit, even when I offer stickers and prizes. Then some days he’ll actually suggest sitting on the potty himself. We’re keeping up with potty videos and books, and we talk a lot about it every day, so I’m hoping someday this will all click. Someday before he turns five.
  • And lest I complain too much, Liam is the most affectionate, sweet-natured little boy you’ll ever meet. James and I get showered with cuddles, hugs and kisses every day. Liam loves to be held, carried, wrestled and tickled. He loves to climb on us like his personal jungle gyms, riding on our backs like horsies, or sliding down our legs on his tummy. Every day I think how freaking adorable he is, wishing he could stay this size and this age forever. He’s clever, surprising me by mentioning something I was sure he’d long ago forgotten. He loves to count, mischievously throwing “eleventeen” into the mix and laughing when I mockingly scold him.
  • Oh, and his laugh. That is my very, very favorite! It’s such a raucous affair, emanating from his belly and erupting from his toothy little grin. His whole face lights up, his little dimples twinkle, and I can’t help but laugh right along with him.
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