Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What to love about Three yr olds

As strong willed and opinionated as twos (sometimes more so), threes grasp the concept of taking turns even if they don't always want to do it. Sometimes we have to get hold of ourselves to try not to be the wicked mother.

Just so smart! Threes can follow multistep directions. ("Go upstairs, find Mom's book, and bring it here.")

Becoming an individual Kids' unique characteristics really start to surface at 3, says Jennifer Walker, coauthor of The Moms On Call Guide to Basic Baby Care. "Are they bossy or shy? Itching to explore or content to sit? At 3, they give you a pretty good idea where they're headed." At that age, for example, my son, A.J., was developing into the class clown (never mind that he wasn't part of any class yet) -- always cutting up, wanting to be the center of attention. At the same age, his sister Mary Elena loved to sit quietly and play with baby dolls, content with her own company.

Fanciful thinkers A whole world of make-believe opens up at 3, Hobson says. "It's a much more complex level of play than at 2. A piece of string isn't just a string anymore. It can be a dog's leash or a snake. My twins recently spent an entire afternoon pretending to take the dog for a walk -- taking turns being the dog." Threes will chatter to themselves, get lost in fantasy play with a toy castle or workbench, and mimic their favorite TV characters or superheroes. (I have a friend whose 3-year-old son spent at least six months being Superman.)

Real conversations New York City mom Kelly Ramirez noticed that her daughter Sophia had a marked increase in vocabulary from 2 to 3: "We have these long chats in the car on the way to preschool." Since the family is bilingual, Sophia's wordplay can get pretty complicated. "Whenever she's talking to me and feels I'm not understanding her, she throws in a few Spanish words to emphasize her points."


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