Happy birthday Lena, you are 3 today!
It’s such a cliché but how are you turning 3?! You still seem like such a baby to me. Which is funny because your older brother seemed so grown up to me at the same age. At this age with Arlo you were inside me still, around two months from being born. I guess that’s why he seemed older, as I prepared for a newborn, he seemed like a big pre-schooler. However, realistically, you are probably a fair deal more independent than he was at the same age. You are certainly much better at independent play. I guess I’ve played with you less than I did your brother. Partly because you don’t nag me to as much as he did but partly because you play with him so much.
I love watching you both play together, for the blissful period before it inevitably descends into fighting. You are comical, adorable and sometimes vicious with one another. I’m so pleased I was able to give you to each other. I hope you are always so close.
I feel like the past 3 years with you have just flown over. I feel like I’m struggling to keep up with it. I’m loving watching the girl you are becoming whilst simultaneously pining for the baby that you were.
In some ways of course you do still feel like my baby and we all call you baby – we probably always will. You’ll be like Baby in Dirty Dancing. You still breastfeed (you are truly obsessed with ‘minkies’ and are LIVID if I ever try and tell you to wait), you still bed share with me every night (waking and nursing frequently), you still nap, you still wear a nappy and you still like being carried around a fair bit. But there are signs of you leaving toddlerhood and becoming a pre-schooler: you are using your buggy less and less, you are starting to sleep a bit better, you are starting to not take naps about as often as you do, you occasionally use the potty, you now speak in sentences and can communicate pretty well. I’m loving getting to know you better and seeing who you are. You are pretty fucking cool.
What are you like at 3?
You are a little firecracker, a force to be reckoned with and an utter delight. You know exactly what you want and power to anyone who won’t give in to you. You have a fury in you that you like to unleash when you don’t get your own way. You are quite hard to placate when you don’t get what you want. You are a tinker for not eating the food we give you, or eating much at all. You have a strong sweet tooth and would happily eat cakes and chocolates all day. Although you do like yogurts, cheese, dairy and pasta too. I’m often tearing my hair out trying to find something nutritious that you will eat and not just say ‘yakky, take it away’. Like your dad, you LOVE a takeaway Dominoes pizza. You mainly want to eat snacks all the time which you will ask for by asking for ‘something else’.
You like to dress yourself and you choose the funniest little outfits. Either full on ‘princess’ where you say ‘I be pretty’ which means a fancy dress princess dress or you dress in Arlo’s old pjs or clothes and go full ‘tomboy’. I just let you choose what you want and that’s how we go out – society will try and control what you wear as soon as you are old to understand so I’ll be giving you this freedom for as long as I can. It’s led to some funny Instagram stories that I caption with #bemorelena.
You give the loveliest, biggest bear hugs and kisses but they have to be on your terms and when you are in the mood otherwise we all just get pushed away and told no. You’ve started to tell us to ‘go away’ when you poop, which would be great if you didn’t still do it next to us and tell us we can’t change your nappy.
You love to dance and sing. You love animals, especially horses. Your favourite TV shows at the moment are Mia and Me (unicorns) and Spirit (horses). For your birthday we are celebrating with a pony party at a local stables. You seem to be growing out of the HUGE Shrek phase you were in earlier in the year. You love to watch people open surprise eggs on YouTube. You like to read but get impatient at turning pages so I never get to read the stories properly.
You love to go out – you love visiting family, going to shops and playing outside, especially the park. You enjoy exploring every nook and cranny on our twice daily school run walks. I’m so looking forward to the weather getting better and us being able to get out and play in the fresh air properly. We also have a couple of holidays booked this year (Lanzarote and Butlins) and I can’t wait to see what you think of them.
You still love to take toys around with you and up to bed. I’m constantly finding I’ve slept on little toys in our bed.
The year ahead (3-4)
I’m really excited for this year with you. When your brother was 2.5-3ish I was pregnant with you. When he was 3-4, I had you as a very young baby. But for you, this age will be one of the first ages that you get more attention than Arlo did at the same age. I remember this time with your brother as really special, the last year or so before you begin school. I’m excited for adventures with you this year when you drop your nap and we have more freedom. You are going to be able to follow instructions better, communicate better and I’m going to soak every last minute up with you before you begin school and I no longer have you home with me most days which I’m already sad thinking about.
We have some change coming in April as you get your free government nursery hours and we will put you in nursery an extra day a week so I can work a little more. This means you will go to nursery for 2 full days a week instead of just one. Currently you love nursery so I hope that this is a good move. I’m trying to build a business and this will be the first time I’ve taken time away from you to do that. I feel guilty about it but I hope it’s ok.
This year I have some hopes for you. That you continue to stay as confident as you are – you are starting to become more fearful of things and a little shyer which I’m hoping is a phase. I hope you learn to use the potty in both the day and night. I hope you finally learn to sleep through the night and if you can do that in your own bed even better. It would be nicer if you self-weaned at some point in the next year but I will continue until you feel ready. I won’t force you to do any of these things. I’m wise enough to know that you know yourself better than I know you, and I have complete trust in you. I understand I’m not your boss. We are a partnership, from the moment we worked together in labour and hopefully forever more. But pity the fool that tries to control you!