Three and a half!

Today is Laurel’s three-and-a-halfth (is that a word?) birthday. She’s long since said goodbye to her baby days. Some days she says she is a “big girl,” and some days she says she is a “little girl.” Maybe she’s beginning to understand the fluidity of time and age, particularly when you’re growing. Or maybe it’s just my imagination.

Laurel started a new preschool August 1. Even though she’d had great fun at her old school, and was attending 4 days a week at the end, we still worried about how she’d handle a full-time program, and one where we weren’t in the classroom with her a couple of days a week. Actually, she has adjusted fairly rapidly. Although she does have times when she says she misses us, her teachers tell us she pretty much has fun all day, every day. Above, you can see them on a walk they took today to the Ferry Building. No, I don’t know why she is the only one looking at the camera! They got to talk to one of the ferry operators and ask a lot of questions. Laurel already loves going to the docks and looking at the boats, so I know she had a good time with this outing.

I’ve heard a lot of dreadful things about three and a half, particularly that kids get more oppositional. Certainly we’re seeing some of that, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s the age or the disruption in her schedule from the change in schools. Right now it’s really too soon to tell.

At home, we are reading a lot, listening to records, and doing a little gardening. Last weekend Laurel helped us dig out a small (2’x3′) garden bed, where we added new dirt and planted a row of radish seeds and a row of spinach seeds. (That’s what will grow this time of year, but she definitely said she wanted “salad.” Tomatoes and corn were her other choices — she seemed to accept, eventually, that they won’t grow well here.) She did some gardening at her former preschool but this is the first time we’ve planted seeds at home.

Bedtime has been one of our biggest struggles lately — she is tired, but she wants to stay up and read, read, read. She can’t actually READ her books, yet, but she loves looking through them all, lingering on the pictures, and calling us back into the room to ask questions or tell us what she sees. Does anyone know if night-owl tendencies run in families? If so, she’s kind of doomed.

— Beth

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Another imaginary friend

Thanks to a friend, I was able to buy a really nice turntable recently for not a lot of money, so I’ve been playing records for Laurel in the evenings after dinner. I have a big stash of Beatles records from my parents’ collection, so that seemed like a natural choice.

One day, as Laurel came home, I said, “Hello!” She meant to say hello back, but instead she said, “Goodbye!”

Devin pointed out that there’s a Beatles song about that.

So, we’ve been listening pretty often to the second side of Magical Mystery Tour. Between “Hello, Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and “All You Need is Love,” it’s a pretty kid-friendly record.

(As an aside, “Hello, Goodbye” sums up the experience of parenting a 3-year-old perfectly. Am I right?)

One day, as “Strawberry Fields” came on, Laurel asked, “Who sings this song?” And I said, “It’s John Lennon. Paul McCartney sings, ‘Hello, Goodbye,’ and John Lennon songs this one.”

Since then, she’s been talking a lot about John Lennon. For example, we were hanging out in bed and she pulled out one of Devin’s sci-fi pulp novels and began “reading” it aloud, making up a story about John Lennon. And she’s been asking to look at our copy of Real Love: The Drawings for Sean.

I haven’t yet told her anything about John Lennon’s life (or that he’s no longer alive, or what happened). For now, she seems to be enjoying the version of him that exists in her head, and that seems just fine.

— Beth