This one crept up on me! 3 1/2 seems so much older than just 3. Just as I was shocked to realize a year ago that my BABY wasn’t Caelan anymore, but Leah…now I am realizing that my TODDLER isn’t Caelan anymore, but Leah. Caelan is my PRESCHOOLER (omg)!
The past 6 months were full of all kinds of craziness in our home life. We moved twice during that time, we went on a family vacation, and Caelan started in a new classroom at school. He handled all the change pretty well, but there were a few bumps here and there. Caelan has also learned a TON in those few months!!
Our trip to OBX in August was Caelan’s 2nd beach trip in his life. He loved playing in the sand, collecting shells, taking long walks, and eventually playing in the surf. He was fairly afraid of the water and it took several days for us to convince him to even touch it, but once someone suggested jumping in the surf, he came around.
When the first day of school rolled around, Caelan moved up to the 3 year old classroom. He’s the youngest in his class but so far that’s been great for him. He’s already learning so much.
Caelan has made a lot of progress with counting. He can easily count to 30, and he can count objects up to 30 as well. He can count to 100 by tens and I’m sure as soon as it clicks in which of those tens comes after 29, 39, 49, etc he will be counting to 100 in no time! He’s beginning to recognize double digit numbers as well. Sometimes he gets them backwards and sometimes there are a few hilarious mistakes (“fivety-five”, “onety-six”) but he’s learning :)
At this point, Caelan has long since known all of his upper and lower case letters and he knows the sounds for almost all of them. We’ve started sounding out a few words here and there but he is often impatient and/or frustrated with it. He does know how to spell his name and knows what letter many words and names start with. Since starting preschool, he’s started learning how to write/draw shapes and letters. One of the goals of his 3-year-old class is to be able to write his name fairly legibly by the end of the year. Right now, he is able to trace his name and he can write it on his own, though not clearly. Still, just 3 months ago, he could barely draw a shape of any kind so this is a huge step!
A few months ago, Caelan went through a serious “why?” phase. The volume of questions that came out of his mouth was staggering. And frustrating. Why is a hot dog a hot dog??? I just… ::head desk:: Caelan also started interrogating everyone on things they liked or didn’t like (“Do you like mustard?”). He’d go around the dinner table and survey everyone about certain food items. At other times, it would be more random. He’d pick up a toy and ask “You like this toy, Mommy?” Sure, I love toys.
Caelan still asks plenty of questions, but he’s also entered a new phase of nearly constant whining. He’s been extra emotional in the past few months and everything seems to set him off. Part of it is his age, I assume, and maybe part of it has to do with the upheaval in our home life. Though Caelan appeared to handle the moves well, I’m sure it was stressful on some level.
The number of stuffed animals in his bed has tripled as has the number of nightlights in his room. He also now requests that his door be left open at night. He had a few nightmares and night wakings in the first couple of weeks in the new house, but those seem to have passed now. We still usually leave the door open though.
Caelan has gained a lot of independence since we’ve been in the new house. He can get dressed and undressed with very little assistance from us. He can brush his own teeth, go to the bathroom by himself, and he is learning to bathe himself as well. He goes up and down the stairs by himself, clears his plate after dinner, and sits at the table without a booster seat. In the interest of keeping it real…while Caelan is capable of all of those things I just mentioned, getting him to actually do something in a reasonable amount of time is often a battle.
At school, Caelan is doing so well academically. We met with his teacher last week and she told us that Caelan is well ahead of his class, despite being the youngest. Socially, he’s on track with the other 3 year olds who are all going through spurts of minor aggression and bouts of potty mouth here and there. He doesn’t nap regularly anymore so he gets his cot set up next to his teacher so he won’t disturb the other children who ARE napping.
About a month ago, we enrolled Caelan in a gymnastics class for preschoolers. It’s a Saturday morning class for 3-5 year olds and he seems to enjoy it a lot. I’m glad we found an activity that he enjoys and a way for him to burn some energy on the weekends!
Everyday when Caelan comes home from school he tells us who his best friend is. It varies depending on who he happened to play with the most that day, but I think his real best friend at the moment is Leah. He often tells us as much (“Leah’s my best friend. I love her.”) Those two have SO much fun together! Leah will literally drop whatever she’s doing and run to him if he calls for her – which he does often. There’s plenty of shrieking and fighting over who was playing with which toy or sitting in whose chair, but there’s lots of running and giggling as well. Caelan is often distracted at dinner because he and Leah are too busy making each other laugh to finish eating. He’s also asked a few times to have a sleepover with Leah and if we didn’t think Leah would just fall right off the bed, that would be a fun thing to try! Maybe sleeping bags…
The past few months have been difficult with Caelan’s 3 year old behavior. There’s been lots of back-talk, the occasional swipe at us, and lots and lots of sobbing and tantrums. I can’t even remember what he was like at age 2, but 3 is much, much worse. (I’m sure Leah will remind us about 2 year olds in a few months, ugh!) Some of his bad behavior happens at school but they have a lot of rules and routines there that mostly keep the kids in check. For the most part he reserves this kind of behavior for just Bill and me (yay). We are hoping to give Caelan some responsibilities at home as well as the opportunity to earn (or lose) certain privileges so hopefully that will help.
As if to make up for the often horrendous behavior, Caelan is also extra sweet and affectionate lately. He dishes out plenty of hugs and kisses, I-love-yous, and compliments. It’s all very sweet and as much as he is absolutely driving us crazy lately, I have this feeling like he needs the extra attention and affection. I have to constantly remind myself that he’s only 3 years old and it is completely developmentally appropriate for him to lack control over his emotions. The tantrums and the limit testing is all normal and he is struggling to gain more maturity as much as we are struggling waiting for him to get there.
In the meantime, I love every extra hug and “I love you” and even though the tantrums over nothing are bewildering, it’s nice to know that often what he needs is a hug from Mommy or Daddy. At this point in his life, we can still hold him and that usually makes it better. I know there are going to be plenty of things in the future that we won’t be able to fix as easily, or at all. So for now I’ll try to be thankful that his problems are usually only as serious as not being able to get his shirt over his head. I can handle THAT problem :)
Caelan’s 3 1/2 Year Stats
- Wearing 3T and 4T tops, 24m/2T pants (a few are still 18m!!), size 9 shoes
- Weight: 32 lbs
- Height: 38 inches (3′ 2″)
- Loves playing catch, running, reading, writing and drawing, wrestling, playing with Leah