Dear Vera: 3 years, 1-5 months

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Dear Vera,

I expect that this will be the last letter I write you as an only child. Your little sister is set to arrive any day now, and I think we are all ready. You have been so adorable to watch throughout this process of waiting for her. It’s funny to see you resign yourself to patience and try to understand things that I know you don’t really grasp yet. You tell anyone who asks about the baby that your new sister will be here in August. You call her ‘my baby’. You’ve been piling toys and blankets into her crib so she has a “soft and cozy place to sleep” and toys to play with. Anything you outgrow you put in her room for her. And (my favorite) you randomly run up to me and kiss my stomach saying “I love you baby!” I know you’re going to be the best big sister.

You’ve also already packed your bag to go stay with Aunt Dania when the time comes. We’ve talked about how the doctor will help get the baby out, and then you’ll come see her. You don’t really understand how everything will happen, but you put as many toys and clothes and books as you could stuff in into your tiny bag and have it sitting by your closet ready to go. I’m going to have to sneak in there when you aren’t looking and make sure you actually have a few things you’ll probably really need for the night or two you’ll be away from home. :)

I feel like in the last few months you’ve really started to look like a little girl more than a toddler. Your hair is longer and thicker, and we’ve been working on the concept of fixing it, or at least combing it, before leaving the house. Something we’ve never really had to worry much about before. You’re not the biggest fan, but pointing out that the other option is cutting it short like a boy’s hair usually is enough to convince you to stand still long enough for at least a comb.

The past month has also been much better overall for you attitude-wise, but for a while there, me and your dad were wondering where our daughter went. You definitely hit a 3-year-old phase of tantrums, kicking, and limit pushing. For a few weeks, it seemed like every time you didn’t get your way you would hit, kick, scream and cry uncontrollably, working yourself into hysterics. This could be over something as simple as your covers not being folded right at bedtime or only having green popsicles left in the freezer. Or something more important like being told that the popsicles were only for after dinner, and not before, or that you can’t go outside and play when it’s time for bed.

Whatever the tantrum was about, our course of action was (and still is, when necessary) to let you cry it out in a separate room, telling you that when you had calmed down and were ready to talk, we would listen. It was rough for a while, but it seems to have finally sunken in that tantrums will not change the outcome of a situation you don’t like, and in most cases will actually make it worse for you: i.e. Because of how you’re acting you get no popsicle at all and it’s time to get ready for bed. As I said though, I think we’re through the worst of it. We’ve been a lot stricter about your bedtime, which I think was contributing to the problem since we tend to get a little lax on routine around here when Dad’s on summer break from school. That, combined with not giving in to the ‘easy’ way out by giving you what you want when you acted up has finally resulted in you trying other approaches, with tantrums only happening now when you are over-tired or genuinely upset about something specific.

Overall, you’ve come back around to my happy, sweet girl who stockpiles toys to share with her sister and yells “Mama!” five times from her bed until I answer just so you can say “goodnight, I love you!”

And we love you too. So much.

Other quirks lately include trying to grasp numbers, as in time, weight, height, money etc. You’ll ask me what time it is a lot, and even though you don’t really understand how time works, you do know certain things like 8:00 is bedtime. You like to use numbers in context, even when you don’t always get them right. For example when you wanted me to weigh you, I asked how much you think you weigh. You responded “I don’t know. 50 pounds or something?” (‘Or something’ is a phrase you use a lot and for some reason I love it so much!) Which was impressive even if way off, because at least you used the word pounds correctly. (You’re currently 35 pounds by the way.) Other times you like to pretend to measure how tall I am and will tell me I’m 6 pounds tall, but you’re picking up the terminology pretty quickly. You’re also becoming more interested in reading and learning your letters by sight and what sound each letter makes. You like to pretend to read along with me, but sometimes get frustrated if I ask you what certain letters are and you don’t know the right answer. You tend to mix up letters and numbers right now too. Especially things like 3 and E, or 2 and S. Over the next months, I expect we’ll be working on that quite a bit, and I have no doubt you’ll be mastering it in no time.

Your dad is done with teaching summer school and was home during most of July – although school is starting up again right about now. You two have been having quite the summer though. He’s so in love with you and I’m afraid he has been spoiling you terribly. Every morning you go to daycare for a few hours to play with your friends. We pay whether you’re there or not to keep your spot, but you really like being with the other kids and get upset if you aren’t there by 9am for snack time. Haha. But every afternoon after nap time, Dad picks you up and the two of you go on adventures. Some days you go to the swimming pool. Some days to the bounce house or the children’s museum or the zoo. And some days you just come home and play together– soccer or dolls or trampoline or whatever you dream up. And you love it. It makes me happy that he’s such a great dad and really wants to spend that time with you.

I can’t wait to see you as a big sister, my little V! Any day now we’ll be a family of four and it will be a whole new adventure for us all! :)

Love, Mom

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