As Theo hurtles towards three, the age where he ceases to be a toddler and magically becomes a preschooler, I want to slow the clock, keep tabs, document, get it all down before this charming, nerve-frying, adorable, chaotic, mind-boggling period comes to a close.
He’s two years and ten months, which makes him to my mind: “almost three.” Here are some of the things I find charming.
Words: The somersault of words, the jumble of phrases and the slow buildup of comprehension is fascinating and hilarious. Theo rose from a nap one day with “Good morning everyone! How are you?” Enroute to pick something up, I told him that we were going “somewhere.” Him: “Reaaally? … somewhere? Oh! Somewhere!!!” From our balcony, he shouts”Goodbye sweetheart!” to our neighbour’s mother. He runs up to older girls greeting them with an exuberant: “Hello little boy!” Of course he’s obsessed with body parts and functions but still, I remain charmed.
Imaginative play: I’m used to the machine obsession now but recently, Theo’s discovered small characters such as monsters, transformers and superheroes. We inherited a bucket from our friend, and he’ll happily immerse himself in play. The same goes for stuffies. Just as I was about to toss them all out, he started naming, playing, and sleeping with a small menagerie. He just added a giraffe puppet to his entourage who he hangs out on the front balcony where Giraffe eats bugs and seeds or chats with the neighbours.
Hanging with friends: At a visit to his little friend Anna’s house, Theo was greeted by a small Shepard who asked if he’d like to “Come to her village.” Guaranteed Theo had no idea what Anna was talking about but he took her hand, grabbed a “staff” and followed her lead. He actively requests meeting up with other children even when the most recent visit was a disaster (thank God for short memories!).
Sociablility: Toddlers aren’t terribly concerned with public appearances. Theo launches headlong into most social situations with unbridled enthusiasm. He’s a full-blown participator and while he can go overboard (what you didn’t want to be knocked over?). He also has a way of entering a room. The other day, when met with a room full of adult strangers, he looked at everyone and roared at the top of his lungs once and then again for good measure causing everyone to burst into laughter.
Sense of compassion: Toddlers can sense sadness perhaps because they are so volatile themselves. Theo is quick to ask a small child what’s wrong, pat a crying child on the back, or comfort a, eh hem, parent, who looks beaten down. A kiss, a hug, a what’s wrong Mama? All in a day’s work for sympathetic toddlers!
Simple things: Structured activities are overrated at this age. It’s often the little things that enchant and delight like riding the bus for no reason at all, a visit to the duck pond, a pile of dirt; a hose and a lawn, a bike ride down the sidewalk, a bubbling water fountain, a caterpillar amid the pine trees; a run up the slide, a barefoot squish in the grass in the pouring rain.
Toddler clothes: I enjoy deal-hunting for Theo. It fulfills my desire to poke around in interesting little stores. As a result, I have stacks of hand-me-downs, second-hand and fire sale items that are super fun and cheap. I have a lineup of next-size-up shoes and shorts galore. I often pick up steals at thrift stores for friends like little converse high tops for my friend’s son ($3).
What delights you about your toddler?