In some parts of the country, school has already started. In less than four weeks, Nora will be headed off to preschool two mornings per week and I’ll be truly committed to homeschool preschool three more mornings. In three weeks and two days, Nora will be three years old. Before we know it, our baby (who refuses to be called a baby) will be a big sister.
I’ve been amazed at how much has changed in the past few months. There have been moments when I marveled at developmental milestones happening one after another in quick succession or months when we saw big changes in independence and personality, but nothing quite holds up to this transition from toddler to preschooler. Some days, I’m fairly certain that I’m getting a preview of what Nora will be like at 16.
Who is this moody girl who manages to grump her way through a play date with one of her best friends? When did she start responding to playful questioning with annoyed exclamations of, “I told you already!” and how is it that she already has exasperated “I don’t know”s ready to answer any question about her morning at play group? Where did this camera shy, picture refusing girl come from?
What happened to my easy going, eager-to-please two year old who only had to be asked or told something once? Forget terrible two’s; two was easy, it’s three I’m worried about.
But other days, her independence is a godsend as she “reads” to me for hours while I cook and clean. Her excitement over Peach’s corner in our room (I never realized just how beautiful a pack’n’play can be until seen through her eyes) and her joy at her “marvelous” new bed is refreshing. Nora’s sense of style still makes me smile with her love of color and mismatched shoes, but now also with the realization that she can accessorize, by matching a stuffed animal to a shoe.
I love her curiosity and this newest stage of questioning and examining every little thing. And I love watching her personality deepen, seeing the hints of disposition there from infancy blossom into layered emotions, likes and dislikes.
Each day we get to know Nora a little bit more. Each day I see in her how ingrained traits are in our genetics, and I learn a little bit more about what it means to parent my particular child. Each day, I think how lucky we are to have our Eleanor and no one different, even when the days are tough. And each day I remind myself that, even if I sometimes feel lost following Nora down a path only she can see, today is good practice for tomorrow. If I’m not the best, most patient parent I can be, there’s always tomorrow…and the day after, and the day after that when things are bound to be even more complicated and full of preschooler determination.