the big one

gus learned how to play candyland recently, and it’s awesome. just out of the blue he suddenly got the concept and now we can play the whole way through (several times, in fact, as someone is always getting sent back to the damn gingerbread tree or peppermint forest just when i think we’ve finally made it to the candy castle). and he somehow transferred that knowledge to the curious george zoo game that ezra got him for his birthday. formerly the most hated of all his board games, that one now possesses a certain amount of charm when gus actually sits down to play it right. it’s not that i am a huge stickler for playing by the rules, but let’s face it, these damn children’s board games are mind-numbing enough as it is without them stretchy on for hooooooours and hoooooours because someone thinks it’s funnier to kick the pieces under the couch instead actually playing. at least if i know he knows how to play i know there’s a finite amount of time that i have to play it. it’s really pretty cool, playing games together.

his nana got him this little metal box of charades cards and he LOVES that one too. it’s pretty fantastic — there are just pictures of things that 3+ yr olds would easily recognize. you pick up a card and you act it out without saying what it is (or showing anyone your card). we haven’t moved onto the “no sounds” bit yet, that’s a little advanced for gus’ playacting skillz, but it’s pretty impressive what he comes up with to mime the pictures. on friday lucas was over and he and just had some kind of jedi mind trick going on — they could guess each other’s actions right away while the grownups were left floundering. it was hilarious and awesome.

he’s suddenly started eating a small variety of new foods. he ate all the mango, then tofu, then carrots out of my fried rice on thursday on the bus. he eat a good half of my broccoli risotto (and stopped checking to make sure there wasn’t any broccoli in the bites i was feeding him). he ate a bunch of the jamaican curry and peppersteak jeremy bought on our way home from CT on saturday. i don’t think it’s anything we’ve said or done, but it sure is nice to see him eating a few more vegetables here and there. and just being more interested in different kinds of foods in general. he’s always been willing to at least try a bite of things, but lately he’s just started to dig right in. perhaps because he’s HUNGRY from playing super hard. or who knows? 3 is a very mysterious age. lots of crazy things i don’t understand are happening around here left and right developmentally.

i just put your 3 yr old: friend or enemy on my library queue. in a review online the reviewer pointed out that the authors repeatedly suggest that the best way to deal with your three year old is to get rid of the child as often as possible. basically, the kid is a demon spawn, and as much as you can make it someone else’s problem right now, the better for you both. i LIKE that attitude! ha! we are actually in an upswing right now, but i can definitely see how taking lots of breaks and giving each other lots of space can really help. i think 3 yr olds are just dealing with A LOT developmentally and so they kind of lose their minds a lot. the hard part is to not take it too personally. but i’m excited to read the book — i think learning more about what is developmentally appropriate for gus to be doing right now with help all of us. part of the problem for jeremy and for me is that because gus speaks so articulately we often forget just how little he actually is. and we ask behaviors of him that he is just not ready to perform. but like i said, right now we are doing really well. woohoo! plus we had a fantastic weekend together as a fam.

the saddest part about lately, though, is that gus is really worried about dying. we probably talk about his schemes to cheat death 3 or 4 times a week. it’s pretty heartwrenching. he cried and cried the other day at lunch when i said, trying to make him feel better, that one day he might be so old that he’ll say, you know, i’m just ready to take a rest. he WILL NOT ever be ready to take a rest HE. WILL. NOT. he said he thought that when his time finally came he’d just say “i don’t want to rest now, thanks” and keep saying it every and then he will live forever. i wish it were so, buddy. he also thought perhaps when we die our bones could go into babies and we could come back again. that’s pretty creepy and also doesn’t work either. we’ve just been encouraging him to be as healthy as he can (eating good healthy foods, exercising, getting good rest, and making a conscious decision to lead a fulfilling life) to try to live as long as possible. but it’s so sad, trying to help him not worry so much.

we’re also, hliariously, trying to explain the concept of today and tomorrow. he thinks it’s totally crazy that it is never actually tomorrow and that it’s always today, but that we still tell him about things he can do “tomorrow”.  there are so many concepts that we take for granted as grownups that we don’t remember having to figure out back in the day.

yea this age is pretty crazy, but it’s also pretty freaking awesome.

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4 thoughts on “the big one

  1. Yeah, I’ve been trying to teach today/tomorrow/yesterday to some of my patients. It’s tough. You have to start with a calendar and get a transparency that has 3 squares horizontally connected labeled yesterday on the left square, today on the middle square and tomorrow on the right square. Then every morning talk about what day it is (Sunday through Saturday- skip the month and date right now). Slide the transparency over to the next square everyday so he can see how “today is Tuesday and yesterday is Monday and tomorrow is Wednesday” etc. If he can get the days of the week down and visually see the strip move everyday then it becomes and easier concept to understand. You have to do it everyday though.

  2. My niece Maddie is three and she is obsessed with trying to figure out the “concept of time.” She gets confused by “today, tomorrow, and soon.” Whenever I come to visit, she must confirm with me exactly what day I am leaving, and then she makes sure that it isn’t tomorrow, or today, but another day somewhere not existing yet.

    She’s also like a little teenager sometimes–she gets really emotional and upset over something teenytiny, but it’s huge and significant in her world. Her new favorite thing to say is “I have a better idea…” followed by a made up idea that isn’t actually better, but DOES benefit her in some way. She’s also making up songs while she plays and she’s really starting to loooove to explain things, which is just hilarious and awesome.

    Anywho I’m babbling. I was just commenting to say: yeah. Three year olds are all sorts of awesome. 🙂

  3. I used to stack the deck in Candyland when playing my mom. You could probably do the same to make it end more quickly. :-p

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