My husband and I talked about having three children from the time we knew that we would be getting married. Well, initially he wanted to have six kids, but I managed to talk him down—thinking that six might be just a bit too much to afford. Three seemed like a nice number.
When our first child was eleven months old, we decided to start trying for another baby. Nine months later, we welcomed our second baby girl. The first couple of years were difficult, with basically raising two babies while working full-time as well, but once they got a bit older and able to play with each other more easily, we hit a stretch of fairly smooth sailing. They are close enough in age that they tend to hit the same milestones at around the same times nowadays.
Enter baby number three … She was born when our oldest was almost five and our second daughter had just turned three. Now, her big sisters adore her and there’s really been very little sibling rivalry. But “baby” has now turned to “toddler,” a very independent, stubborn toddler no less—and life has gotten much more interesting.
Her favorite words at the moment are “mine!” and “me too!” She not only wants to do everything that the “big girls” do, she thinks that she can and it’s extremely difficult to convince her otherwise. Tears and tantrums are more common than I like to think about, usually resulting in a sobbingly frustrated little girl finally turning to someone for help with whatever she was trying to attempt that she wasn’t quite ready for anyway.
Did our older two girls put their own boots on before age two? I don’t remember for sure, although I very much doubt it. Could they use a “big” spoon or drink from an open cup? Our youngest does. Oh, not always very neatly, but she wants to try. She knows how to ride a three-wheeled scooter—not very far or fast, but she’s got the idea down pat. She’s also let us know that she’s much too big for the “baby” swings—last summer at eighteen months old she surprised us by showing that she could hold on and swing (gently) in the “big kid” ones. Keeping her off of the soccer field at her older sisters’ games was a challenge and I still think that she was convinced that she was on their teams as well.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Having a toddler who is very interested in this whole potty idea (because big sisters use it, of course!) isn’t something I am complaining about for sure. And little miss independent is quite happy to work on dressing herself and other tasks that she sees bigger kids doing themselves. It’s just taking some getting used to on our part. I keep finding myself saying, “you can’t do that yet!” only to revise myself shortly afterward as I realize that often, she can.
Where this will take her as she grows older, I don’t know. There will be many times where she is just plain “too little” or “too young” yet, and she’s going to have to learn to accept that. Gracefully, I hope. Because while screaming ‘me too!’ at the top of her lungs with tears pouring down her face may be (at least somewhat) understandable for a two-year-old who is just learning how to communicate, I’m thinking that it’ll be much less so when she’s twelve.