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The 3-year-old turning point
June 6, 2010 - April Leiffer Henry
For weeks, I've been pondering how much Elliot has changed in the past year. He turned 3 a week ago.
Until the month leading up to his birthday, I was convinced that he hadn't changed that much. He was still the high-energy kid he'd been since he turned 2. Yes, his vocabulary had increased, and he'd gotten taller, but in so many ways, in my mind at least, he wasn't that different.
Then, the end of April came. One evening after dinner, he handed me a small soccer ball and said, "Let's play ball. Throw it to me." Sure the ball would slip through his hands onto the floor, I tossed it. Catch! "Hmmmm, that's new," I thought. Again and again, I threw the ball, and he caught it and tossed it back to me. The kid had a decent arm too!
A few days later, he held a baseball bat, swung it and made contact with the ball. Whoa!
When I try to help Elliot pull his pants up or down to go to the bathroom, he insists that he can do it by himself. And, he does, pretty successfully usually. When he finishes using the potty, he competently washes his hands -- all by himself. One day as I monitored his bathroom routine, I found myself wondering, "Who IS this child? He is so grown up!"
On the day of Elliot's birthday, my sister-in-law mentioned to me that I'll "be able to get more done" as Elliot gets older. For months, my lack of completing chores around the house has been a sore spot in my life. There have been so many instances when I've tried to persuade Elliot to watch TV (usually "My Friends Tigger and Pooh" or "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse") for just 10 minutes, so I can put dishes in the dishwasher or sort laundry. Up until the 3-year-old turning point, this scenario was wishful thinking! Now, I may be in trouble because Elliot will watch an entire episode without moving!
In addition, he will also sit and play with one toy for an extended period of time. Elliot also likes to draw now. Both of these situations were not possibilities a month ago.
I find it amazing how development often comes in huge leaps! And, to prove my point, here is the kicker. My husband and I got Elliot a "big boy bike" for his third birthday. As soon as he sat on it and tried to pedal, frustration ensued. Elliot couldn't pedal forward; he moved his feet backward, engaging the brakes.
Well, today, we decided to take Elliot and his bike to the nearby trail. Much to my surprise, with minimal coaxing, Elliot began pedaling -- in the correct direction -- all on his own! It wasn't long into his bike ride before he said, "I want to go faster!" Although he meant the words literally, I couldn't help but interpret them in my mind and think, "No, Elliot, you are already going (or growing) fast enough!"
Slow or fast, I think 3 is going to be a great year!
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Elliot successfully pedaling his big boy bike!