My daughter just turned three... and how does the rest of that story go...? She just turned three and then she got a car and then she graduated and then she had her own kids and then I died.
Ok, so maybe it isn't quite as abrupt as all that. But it feels like it.
Fraggle just turned three and she continues to remind me - in endless, hilarious, and infuriating ways - how quickly she's growing up and getting ready to leave me. She's quickly becoming a not-so-small person. She has (mostly) logical expectations and (usually) an effective method of articulating them. She has impressive skills and abilities. She's figuring shit out you guys. And it scares the hell out of me. I'm pretty sure I could leave her alone for, like, three or four hours and she'd be totally fine. She'd probably make me dinner. She'd at least wash the floor.
This child has an astute memory and level of determination that rivals most adults. Not just the regular adults - the bold and feisty ones. Months ago, when asked what she wanted for her birthday, she was quite clear: a(nother) pink stuffy cat, a teddy bear, and a big bucket of animal "guys" (to accompany her existing collection of no less than 80 miniature animals of various types).
When asked the same questions on subsequent occasions, she'd sometimes add something new ("And a train, Mama. And a dog. And a tv.") But despite these additions, her commitment to the pink cat, teddy bear and bucket of guys never wavered. So of course we obliged, and she was not at all surprised. She did, however, ask why she didn't get a train. (No matter that her favourite gift was actually one she didn't ask for - a collection of fake food that she sorts and hoards like she's preparing for the apocalypse.)
This child is also very self-sufficient, and she knows how to use it to her advantage. Each night after we jump through the 35 bedtime hoops, she says goodnight, all tucked in and ready for sleep. And three minutes later she emerges to announce that she has to pee. Again. For the fourth time in the last hour. She walks herself to the bathroom, turns on the light (pulling the ribbon we've placed for her), carefully (and quietly, so as not to wake her baby Warner Brother) places her stool, pees, wipes, washes her hands, dries them ("I dry dem berry berry way-o so I don't get all my fings wet"), turns off the light, and returns to bed.
Now, you may say that's great - and it is - but it's also frightening. This is a prime example of my daughter very strategically working the system. This child knows we will not - nay, cannot - say no to pee. She knows she gets to leave her bed, no matter what, and that we have to like it. She knows. She reads it in our eyes. And although her voice says "I have to pee, ok Mama and Dada?" her eyes respond to ours with "Yep I'm going pee. Right? You're not gonna do anything about it, are you? Nope. See you in a few, suckers."
There are a million other examples of this little three-turning-thirteen masterpiece that are equal parts impressive and terrifying. She breastfeeds her baby doll. She finds the exclamation points in her books. She spells CAT. She weeds the garden. She climbs the rock wall at the park and swings on the big-kid swing, by herself. She knows the name of our street, city, province and country. She dances at weddings. She even watches Full House.
On the bright side, she may need me for a few more years - at least to help her pronounce anything with a second consonant after an S, and possibly to log her into Netflix. So at least there's that.