I know I’m not supposed to have favorites. I know I am supposed to love each year and cherish it as it comes, valuing each one for all the beauty it has to offer.
Truth be told, though, I have quite a soft spot for the age of three. I find 3-year-olds positively enchanting. If I had it my way, I might even go so far as to fast forward a bit through the terrible twos and linger at three just a little longer.
My niece just turned three. After her birthday party, she wrapped her sticky little fingers around my neck and whispered “Can I come to your house now, Autumn?” I swooned.
My 7-year-old son, typically annoyed at nearly all of the shenanigans of his young cousin, thought it sounded like a great idea. My sister and I are always eager to jump on the rare moments where he adores her. So we agreed on an impromptu playdate at my house.
I marvelled at her newfound ability to carry on a conversation (all the way home). I appreciated how sharp her aim was getting when she whacked my son with the pool noodle lightsaber. I loved that she was well on her way to using the potty all by herself and we only had pull-ups to contend with now.
I sat back on the couch, sipping an ice tea and rolling the video camera. Three is aweome! Don’t get me wrong, I have adored her all along, but ...
Well, one and two were tough years. Once she could walk, I couldn’t leave her alone for a second! I was also not a fan of the way she put everything in her mouth for a while there. Eating was a much messier endeavor, as was bathing, changing, playing. Somehow it all ended with my house looking like it had been hit by a tornado.
Then there was the whiny period and the "no" period. I found them quite trying, as the mother of a then 6-year-old who had forgotten all about how rough the toddler years could be.
But three! Three is the beginning of so many new adventures! Preschool often begins at three, where little ones begin to move beyond parallel play into engaged interraction. Three-year-olds have greater motor control and can climb, run, jump and sometimes even ride a tricycle!
Yes, three seems to be much more my speed. The house still looks like a tornado when my niece leaves, but now the tornado kisses my fingers and says “I love you” before she departs.
I think we’re in for a fun ride.