Tuesday, September 4, 2007

THREE is the magic number.....

Yes, I now have Jack Johnson singing in my head :) The girls love his music and we felt especially blessed when he did the soundtrack for Curious George-another favorite in this household :)

Mara has been waking up on and off since I put her down. This may be a looong night for me! Her teeth have been bothering her all day, so I had a feeling tonight was going to be tough.

My sweet Analese is such an intense child, and the age of three has brought about many changes for her. It has brought the concept of fear into her life, and she has had some problems sleeping. A few weeks ago, she kept seeing a crocodile in her room, and it caused her to keep getting up and turning her light on. We came to realize she was seeing what she thought was a crocodile in a shadow on the wall, so Greg did some rearranging and the croc went away. Now she just doesn't like the dark. I am hesitant to bring in a night light because of the shadows it will create. Last night she was up several times and was up at 4:45 this morning. When I came in to her brightly lit room, the first thing she said to me was "I don't like the dark". I told her to close her eyes and she wouldn't see worked!

Being three has brought out some very raw emotions. It is often surprising to me just how upset she can become because something is a bit out of place, or her train fell off it's track, etc. Often I have to help calm her down before I can even learn exactly what the problem is. Over the past few months, the intensity of these emotions have become even more elevated, and I am often at a loss as to how I can help her. For one, I feel like she has a right to feel whatever emotion she is feeling. It bothers me when people try to downplay her emotions, or tell her to stop. But then I have even been guilty of doing this after the tenth outburst of the day! I usually try to give her clear messages..."it's OK to feel angry, NOT OK to kick, push, throw5", etc. Sometimes its successful, sometimes not. I feel like she will eventually "get it", and learn how to self-regulate herself. We just have to be patient with our little monkey :)

When she first becomes upset, my first goal is to remove Mara so she doesn't get hurt, and then move Analese to a location where she will be safe (and away from things she can throw). I usually give her a minute to scream, cry, etc. and then ask her if she would like a hug. This usually works-she'll come lay in my lap and cry. Often she'll tell me "I can't stop crying" so I just tell her to cry. The biggest cause of these situations happens when Analese is trying to play with something a certain way, or build something...and little sis comes and wants to help. My biggest challenge seems to be finding the balance...finding ways to give Analese some alone time, but also requiring times when they need to play together.

It is often funny to see how others interpret one of Analese's outbursts. You can tell what they are thinking just by the look in their eyes. For those with children age three and above, I often see a sense of understanding.....they have been there and it doesn't phase them. This is such a sense of support for me, and keeps me grounded that this is indeed a phase. Then there are those with a) no children, or b) children younger then 3. I often get the sense that they truly do not understand, that Analese is misbehaving, being a brat. I get the sense that they feel I need to do something, to stop her, put her in her place. I feel like saying "just you wait!" but that wouldn't be very nice now, would it? (and of course no one would ever believe that this could be their child one day)

Today was one of those particularly tiring day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I just found Analese laying outside her room in the hallway, her bedroom light on... Yes, this may be a really, really long night.


Chris said...

I feel your pain, Julie. I remember thinking, when the kids were younger, that 3 was the hardest age. Actually, Tanner was the most difficult. I think it was because they want to be independent, and yet still need their Mom--which they hate admitting at that age. Hang in there and take one day at a time.

Peace is every step said...

What a little firey spirit on that girl! She makes me laugh. Ahh, three. I remember. Aidan has the imagination the size of (Texas? I don't know the right's big). Three was a challenge, but so much fun!!!

The Daily Rhythm said...

It is so much fun, and I do love this age...emotions and all! It's amazing to hear how her mind is working, and what she is thinking about. Yesterday when I told her it was time to stop washing her hands, she told me the mirror was talking to her and she had to listen :)