Sunday, July 8, 2012

Update on Charlie

Since I haven't been blogging, I haven't really been documenting what Charlie is like at this blessed age of 3. And that really is one of the purposes of the blog, so I thought I'd do a little catch up. 

I was watching some of my flip videos the other day from earlier in the year and am realizing how much he has grown up while we have been living in London. He is.... definitely THREE now. Those of you who have or have had a 3 year old boy will most likely know what I'm talking about. They seem to be their own breed. I was ill prepared for what this would entail. 

Charlie has always had a lot of energy and been very curious. You turn your back for a second and there WILL be pancake mix all over the kitchen floor. He's also always been very physical. Climbing, pushing, pulling, running, knocking things over.... it can be fun to watch, but also a lot to keep up with. 

The age of three has brought with it an increase in all this physical activity combined with the dropping of the afternoon nap. Combined with eating less than ever. Combined with asserting his independence. Resulting in some pretty tiring and/or frustrating days. 

I realize that asserting independence is totally normal for a 3 year old. All 3 year olds do it. I would guess almost all 3 year old parents hate it! Charlie is quite spirited (a nice word for willful) and so we run through the same discussions (a nice word for disagreements) many, many times before he knows what the boundaries are. 

Some days this feels like he is fighting me on every little thing from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed at night. Even when provided with two choices, the selection is often None! Neither! Yuck! Enforcing two choices could now be listed as one of my major hobbies. 

Don't even get me started on him going to bed at night. We will be trying the big boy bed again when we get back to Richmond in September and I am *dreading* it. This child fights sleep like it is a life or death situation. I hope we can get it under control before the baby comes. 

That's not to say it's all bad with him. Some days he is sweet and loving and not so disagreeable. There are a lot of times we have so much fun together and I just want to eat him up again. He is genuinely entertaining to talk with. And watching him play soccer or tennis or climb on the playground or try new tricks on his scooter is always fascinating to me. He's so serious and determined about it! 
He loves all sports and being outside. This may be one of the main reasons he talks about going back to Richmond so much; we just finished up the rainiest June on record EVER and our opportunities to play outside have been limited. He is like a caged animal in this flat when it rains. And I am the insane zookeeper. 

I had a parent/teacher conference with his key person at preschool this week - which sounds more serious than it was. I got a binder of his artwork/drawings for the term, which was actually kind of light. She told me that he is so into the physical play that he doesn't ever sit down for long to work on those types of things. 

This was not news to me, though it's always interesting to hear it coming from someone else's perspective. As much as I would love to be able to sit down and do drawings or crafts or make cards to send people... that is not the child I have.  I feel good that his focus on things like that will improve as he gets older. Until then, he just has too much to get done and ohmygosh a fire truck! 

Because of the older boys at preschool, he is very into super heros lately and that has been hilarious. He told me a couple of weeks ago that Ben 10 is really cool and do I think Ben 10 is cool? Yes Charlie, Ben 10 is cool. (spoiler: we have never watched Ben 10) Spiderman is another favorite. Charlie's impersonation of spiderman jumping all around is quite entertaining. Well, maybe not for the lady downstairs who thinks we make too much noise. 

And I will say that one of my favorite parts of him growing up is all the talking he does. He will tell me about anything - true or make believe or plot lines from the books we read at night. Sometimes he talks the entire way home from preschool! That's about 30 or 40 minutes. 

He'll also start belting out songs out of nowhere. Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider and some of the praise and worship songs from preschool are his favorites. Everyone on the tube today was treated to a heartwarming rendition of wheels on the bus! 

So that's kind of the mixed bag we're dealing with here at age 3! While this is a tough age and definitely not my favorite, we have decided not to sell him. On days when Brad and I are feeling worn out, I point out two things: 1) the same qualities that make him difficult are the ones that will make him amazing when he is older; and 2) we are throwing a really big freakin' party for his 4th birthday - for ourselves. 

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