Three point three-seven-five

I may have escaped Hurricane Sandy in New York, but I came home to Hurricane Laurel.

We’d been warned that 3.5 is a turning point for a lot of kids — one fraught with emotional turbulence, boundary-pushing, and frustration. Just as Laurel turned 3.5 it seemed like we were in the clear; she was sweet, independent and as cooperative as a 3.5-year-old can be. But the past couple of months have been challenging — and I do mean that in the best possible way, but still.

One of the main issues recently is Laurel’s language. She’s SUCH a great talker; her vocabulary and ability to express herself surprises most of her caregivers (in a good way), but at home, she mumbles, slurs her words, uses one-word sentences (often: “WANT!”), and, in a recent move, has reverted to talking about herself in the second person. She did this around age 2.5, too. Instead of saying, “I want a cookie,” she’ll say “You want a cookie.” When one of us says, “No, *I* don’t want a cookie,” she’ll correct herself and say, “Laurel wants a cookie.”

Clearly this is developmental, it’ll pass, and when it does she’ll be composing the 4-year-old’s version of the Gettysburg address, but right now it’s frustrating to have our wonderful conversationalist reduced to grunts and taciturn orders.

We’ve had even less-pleasant setbacks, such as Laurel’s unwillingness to clean herself up after using the toilet (and making a game of her attempts to avoid such obviously unnecessary activities). Oh, and there are the tantrums. Hoo boy.

There are upsides. She’s gotten better at walking — mostly the result of taking lots of walks at school — and can now hold hands and be a decent strolling companion for a few blocks, as long as she’s not in a distractible mood. That means we have to carry her, or push her in the stroller, less. She’s learning lots of new songs, so the house is full of lusty, loud toddler singing (especially on the toilet for some reason). And her school just went through a couple-months-long lesson on donuts (their shapes, how they’re made, flavors, and even how to run your own donut shop), so she’s even more interested in baking projects.

She’s also super sweet, cuddly, and thoughtful.

I suppose we’ll keep her. :)

— Beth