Yes darling girl, three. Not four. I know you’re absolutely certain that you out to be four so that you can start catching up with your big sister but it’s only been three years since you arrived into our lives at speed and they’ve been wonderful years, don’t wish them away!
So what can I say about you at three?
Well you are Little Miss Determination, if there’s something that you’ve decided you’re going to do then nothing will stop you until you’ve achieved it. It usually means copying something that your big sister can already do because she’s bigger, but if you’ve decided you’re going to swing on the big girl swings then the big girl swings it is, and you’d protest loudly and vigorously against any suggestion that you’d want to play on the baby swings.
And for all that you still love to copy Kitty and follow her lead in your games together, this year we’ve seen you come out from behind her shadow. When we took you out of nursery in January I hoped it would give you the chance to be just the big sister not the middle sister, and to build your own relationship with your little brother so that when Kitty went off to school in the autumn you two wouldn’t be sat there thinking “what now?”. It worked better than I could ever have hoped and I loved my days with “the littlests” through the Spring and Summer, watching the two of you play and gang out and about as a trio, discovering gym class and your beloved playgroup.
At the beginning of the year I made a little video of you wobbling around your gym class, you were having so much fun but you could see that you hadn’t quite got the hang of jumping and bouncing, you just liked running around in circles on all the different surfaces. Fast forward a year and this week you collected your fourth badge and certificate (a pink one!) for completing another set of ten early years activities. While you were all sat around the parachute at the end of class your gym teacher called out your name and you went running up for your certificate; completely amazed and thrilled. I’m reliably informed that your expression was such a gorgeous “what me?! Really!!” that everyone in the room gave a collective “aww!”
Having spent a happy summer in one playgroup class, you and Pip (and Daddy) moved into the other class in the autumn because it worked better with your sister’s school times and I’ve loved hearing about your activities each week. In our summer class you’d loved playing with the toys, climbing and digging in the little garden, and sitting round to sing, but you’d not really got to the stage of playing with any of the other children. When I came with you to your new class the other week it was so lovely to see how confident you now are, running in and heading off to play with your friends. And you we so excited to see your playgroup teacher too, as we climbed the stairs you told me “this is the way to my Annie! I love her!”.
You wear age 3-4 clothes mostly, though you’ve got a few favourites that are aged 2–3 and even on 18-24 month dress/now a top that you won’t be parted from and your feet are a nice neat 6 1/2 in smart new red shoes that you are very very proud of. Height wise I get the feeling you’re a little above average for a three year old, but not by the same sort of margins are your brother and sister. To put it in context, at three your sister had size 9 feet – I think she’ll always tower over you in the same way I do your auntie. Mostly you just feel so petite compared to your siblings, I doubt there’s much between you and your brother in weight, even if you have a good few inches on him still in height
You still love to climb everything and anything (that’s where gym club comes in handy) and you’re a girl of extremes, you’re either running around in circles never stopping fit to burst, or I’ll find you curled up in a corner, calm and still, reading a book.
Your favourite games to play at the moment are dressing up (Batgirl, Elsa, or Anna), making up adventures for your little people (Orlon and Rain-or-Shine) and lots of colouring in and drawing. You still adore books, and a familiar sound to our evening is the thud as whatever bedtime book you’ve been snuggled up with slips free of your sleepy grasp and hits the floor.
But I think the biggest change this year has been the explosion in your language. You were just on the cusp of it at your last birthday but as the year has gone on you’ve put together more and more complex sentences, and borrowed more and more phrases from the rest of the family. We’ve had lots of discussions about who can come to your birthday supper (Wagamama for “Chinese New Year Food!”); it started with Mummy and your sister coming “just only girls Mummy”, but then we asked about your brother and you added him, “and my Daddy coz I love him!” And then everyone else in the family, grandparents, uncles and aunts, the lot.
I can tell what Daddy listens to during the day because you potter round the house singing “BBC Radio Twooooooo” jingles and I think we all knew who you were channelling when you turned around to your brother when he was trying to thwack you with something and said sternly, “I am not impressed!”
You get tired and hungry and cross and sad and teary like the rest of us but you are for the most part a joyful little girl, so much fun to be with and to chat to, I never know quite where your imagination is going to take us next and it’s wonderful to be along for the ride.
These photos were taken on a very windy afternoon up by the playpark on a five minute detour on the way to collect Kitty from school. You were so excited to be taking your birthday pictures and you ran around for five minutes with the balloon, played with it, cuddled it loved it, and then after five minutes decided that it would be much more fun to go on the roundabout instead so no more pictures Mummy. And yet in five minutes it feels like I’ve captured so much of your personality, and that sums you up in a nutshell.
Happy Third Birthday my darling girl, and many more of them.