11 Great Things About Preschoolers
When my oldest son was a baby, I couldn’t wait for him to reach the next milestone, whatever it was: I wanted him to roll over, crawl, walk, talk, play nicely, pick up his toys, do long division. Now he’s ten, and those early milestones are but a faint memory (except for the long division thing, which is daily torture).
These days, I’m finding myself struggling not to fall back into that “let’s get big already” mode of thinking when I assess my current three-year-old.
Because tweens are really great. They can make their own lunches, take snacks, ride their bikes outside without you standing there watching—even fold their laundry if you’re super lucky. You can reason with them. As in, when you’re at Target, they don’t shriek because you won’t let them out of the shopping cart. For that matter, they can actually walk nicely in Target.
They can shovel the walk after it snows. They can beat you at strategy games like Chess, or Axis and Allies; not just Candy Land and Uno. They can ask you questions about current events. Their reading level is high enough for them to choose books based on their own interests, and they might even know a thing or two about a subject that you are entirely unfamiliar with (like, say, aircraft carriers and destroyers).
It is not hard to imagine the day when I’ll be able to ask my son for real advice or assistance in his special area of expertise, and he’ll happily provide it.
Yet, I wish I had savored my son’s preschool years the same way I am enjoying his current tween phase. Ten is great, but he’ll never be three again, and that makes me feel a little…not sad, quite, but wistful, perhaps. Because three-year-olds have a lot to offer, too.
So, in an effort to slow myself down and focus on cherishing the fleeting moments I am blessed to presently share with a vivacious, spunky three-year-old girl, I’ve compiled a list of eleven great things about three-year-olds:
1. They love to cuddle.
Just for fun. Just because it seems like a good idea at the moment. Even when they were all but spitting fire at you in a frenzied rage just a moment ago because you said, “We can’t play outside when it’s zero degrees and there’s a blizzard.”
Maybe sometimes you don’t want to have a small person plop themselves onto your lap like they own the joint. Don’t worry. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself engaged in expert hostage-level negotiations just for the privilege of planting a good-night kiss on their sweet little pre-adolescent cheek!
2. They love to bask in your glow.
If cuddling isn’t an option, say, because you’re standing, they just want to keep you company. Wherever you are. Cooking, dressing, shopping, you name it. Sure, there are times when my twisty moves would impress a contortionist—necessary to avoid tripping and breaking my funny bone. Generally, though, it makes me feel all fuzzy inside when I look down from the sink where I’m washing dishes and find Princess hosting a tea party with her “babies” right between my feet. When she starts preschool in the fall, I know I’ll miss my little sidekick.
3. They think you’re beautiful.
Even when you’re having a bad day—a sleep-deprived, makeup-free, unwashed-hair day. You can see it in their eyes as they ask you thought-provoking questions regarding the color of your crocs or ancient hoodie; as you watch them blow kisses to your framed wedding photo; or when they co-opt your hairbrush, and only yours.
Please don’t tell anyone, but sometimes, it’s a nice little ego boost.
4. They don’t get irony.
Same goes for sarcasm, snark and eyeball rolling. They don’t get it and they don’t intend it. Everything is just what it is. “Mommy, there’s crumbs sticking to the bottom of my feet. We need to clean up.” Not a touch of irony!
If only I could say the same for myself.
5. They sleep twelve hours every night.
Of course, you always knew that older kids would have later bedtimes. You just never quite consciously made the connection between their bedtime and your alone-time. If having the evening to yourself was something you’ve always relished, well, just know that those nights are numbered.
Enjoy them while they last.
And that, I say without the least bit of irony.