When my daughter was two years old, I can’t tell you how many people said to me, “if you think two is hard, just wait until she turns three.”
Time after time, people told me that the “terrible twos” had nothing on the “trying threes.” I’m sure all of these ladies had good intentions in sharing their sentiments, but it made me anxious to see what kind of troubles might be lying ahead for us as my daughter approached her third birthday.
Now that we’re past the halfway point of the “trying threes,” I can’t say that I necessarily disagree with all of the warnings I received. My daughter has certainly been challenging at times this year, probably more challenging than she was at age two. But on the flip side of the coin, there’s so much to love about her at this age. Three-year-olds seem to have earned a bad reputation in recent years, so I’m here to tell you all the things that I LOVE about age three.
My three year old can have a full conversation with me. It’s almost like she woke up one day and was suddenly a miniature adult. She speaks in complete sentences and is full of opinions–and she can carry on a coherent conversation with me. It’s mind-boggling to think about how far she’s come in three years.
Independent play is a thing–and it rocks. If the baby is napping and I need to get something accomplished, my three-year-old doesn’t need me to constantly entertain her anymore. If I set her up with some blank pieces of paper and her colored pencils, she can easily entertain herself for at least twenty or thirty minutes. I think I appreciate this even more in contrast to her baby sister who needs to be held or entertained most of her waking hours.
Three-year-olds are hilarious. My daughter’s humor ranges from intentionally funny (i.e. putting her laundry basket over her head and trying to walk around) to unintentionally saying something that causes my husband and I to share a look and bite our tongues to keep from bursting out in uncontrollable laughter. She also loves to make her little sister laugh, which I obviously can’t get enough of and will always encourage. The comic relief my three-year-old provides is never-ending.
A three-year-old’s ability to remember things is unbelievable. I honestly believe my 3-year-old has a better memory than I do. A few months ago, we went to the Boonshoft Museum for the first time in over a year. She made a comment when we were buying our tickets about how she didn’t want to go see the Elmo show this time. She remembered seeing a Sesame Street show in the Planetarium when we had been there the year before. I was completely amazed. Similarly, she is starting to remember relatives that she hasn’t seen in a long time or places she hasn’t been in awhile. She keeps asking about going to our favorite vacation spot in Michigan again this summer. It’s fascinating to see her little mind working.
Responsibility and accountability. At three, my daughter is now old enough to start to take some ownership of her actions and for her things. If she leaves her shoes in the middle of the kitchen floors, she can understand me when I tell her she needs to put them back where they belong. If she throws a tantrum and loses the privilege of watching Daniel Tiger after dinner, she understands why. She is starting to be better about cleaning up with her toys at the end of the day. It’s nice to have some of that responsibility off of my shoulders, but even more, I am enjoying watching her exert some independence and learn to be responsible for herself in some ways.
Spending time with a three-year-old can truly be fun. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have fun with my daughter before she turned three, or that I don’t have fun spending time with my baby. Obviously, there is fun to be had with our children at any age. But now that she’s three, a girls trip to Target can honestly be an enjoyable experience with my daughter. The same can be said for an ice cream date–not only do I enjoy indulging in a treat together, but I love the conversation that we can share too.
These are just a few of the things I am loving about my daughter at age three. This age certainly presents its challenges–but don’t they all? I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what your favorite things are about your child’s age–whether it’s three or thirteen!