The length of a presidential term. The wait between February 29ths. The time between Olympic games. That’s how old she is now.

I also had a milestone birthday last week. To celebrate our birthdays, we rented a house in Sonoma County and took Laurel to some of the places we loved as kids. She really loved them too; impressed by the tall redwood trees, eager to throw rocks in the Russian River and dig in the wet, rocky sand. At the end of the weekend, we realized she thought we had decided to move there, and she had a total meltdown when she realized we were leaving.

She is learning and doing so much every day. She loves puzzles and has memorized the ones she got at Christmas, so she has new, more challenging ones. She and Devin have been talking a lot about the planets, and space, and watching videos from inside the International Space Station (she even knows the names of some of the people on board). She’s really interested in trucks, especially the book of trucks with German words that we got in Zurich when she was barely 1, and still passionate about her fire truck.

She’s curious about everything, beginning to practice writing some letters, and starting to become more cooperative again (sometimes!). We’re doing our first sticker/reward chart, to smooth out the rough spots at bedtime and encourage her to fall asleep on her own, and so far it’s going well. Some nights, though, we go in to turn off her light and find her asleep with one of Richard Scarry’s books tented over her head. It isn’t because she fell asleep reading, but because she says it helps her “not see the dark,” which she’s afraid of.

Her drawings are becoming more representational; she even drew a self-portrait recently:

We recently had a bout of illness which resulted in Laurel developing a wet, chesty cough that turned out to be a touch of pneumonia. Who knew three-year-olds could get pneumonia? (Okay, dumb question.) Fortunately, the antibiotics worked quickly. Laurel only felt lousy for a couple of days, and she kind of enjoyed exaggerating the gravelly noise her chest could make when she exhaled. (I told her to make the noise when we saw the doctor, and she did; the doctor was duly impressed). She’s all better now. :)

She also continues to be really funny and sweet. Some recent Laurel-isms:

With reference to Laurel’s bedtime sticker chart, I said maybe I should do one to encourage me to go to bed on time. Laurel suggested Devin should do one, too, “so that he will go to bed in the nighttime and not sleep all morning.”

Some of you may know the “goodbye song” that many preschools sing. Recently, Laurel sang, “Goodbye, Cesar Chavez, goodbye, Cesar Chavez, goodbye, Cesar Chavez, we’ll see you here next time.”

And, a couple of months ago, after Devin returned from a trip to Zurich, Laurel brought me the toothbrushes that Devin and I used while traveling, and made them snuggle. She said: “Zurich and New York love each other, just like Mommy and Papa love each other!”

— Beth