Saturday, August 18, 2012

Annie at 3 1/4

It is helpful in any situation to know which Annie you're dealing with: Sweet Annie or Terrible Annie.  It can change in an instant.  I hear her door open when her nap is over, and I hold my breath, not knowing which Annie is padding across the floor, and what she's going to want.  She's been finding herself in time-out a lot lately because of being defiant.  Sometimes I don't know what to do with her.  She can be so difficult.  She is moody and petulant, and her sudden screech of rage makes me cringe.

I still say she's better at 3 than she was at 2.  Tim disagrees, thinking she's worse now, but then I tell him, "You weren't there last summer when she took off running during Mass!"  At 2, she could not be reasoned with at all.  Now she has boundaries, and I know I'm dealing with a little girl instead of a monkey.  In fact, when we're out and about is usually when she's at her best, most obedient and charming self.  We get smiles everywhere we go.  People think she's an angel.  So in that regard I'm kind of glad she saves her worst behavior for us at home.  And I do know that her worst could be much worse.  She is overall a great kid, even though her bad moments can be so memorable.
Not pictured: when taking turns was no longer working out, and the frog nearly lost his life in the ensuing dispute between the sisters
She loves to watch "bee-dee-os" on my phone.  Her favorite seems to be the one from the end of vacation bible school, when all the kids were singing a song.  Interestingly, she can't see herself in the video -- she was hiding behind another child.  But she can see Delaney in the front row jumping and singing away.  She also likes a video I took of Timmy playing with the recorder that Auntie Karen gave her for her birthday.  In the video, Timmy plays with it for a few seconds, and then she (Annie) swoops in to take it, growling through clenched teeth, "Eeeet'shh miiiiinnnne!"  Then the video ends, probably because I scolded her after that.  I don't know why she likes to watch such an unflattering video of herself, but I hope that when she sees it and chuckles at it, she's realizing how ridiculous she's acting.  So far I see no sign that this video is inspiring her to change her ways.
But sweet Annie?  Sweet Annie is the best.  I want to squeeze her.  She is so easy to get along with.  She shares.  She speaks slowly and thoughtfully.  She puffs up with pride when she successfully writes a number. She says things like, "Mama, you look very pretty."  She brings up memories that start with, "Remember, a long time [ago], we went to the store, and we got new straws?"  She always wants to help in the kitchen, something I'm sorry to say that I'm almost never enthusiastic about.  She'll pull her little stool over, and she loves to pour ingredients out of a measuring cup into a bowl.  I'm always baking delicious things, so she gets to do this all the time (haha).  She always wants just a "tiny piece of pizza dough" so she can play with it and eat it.

She's carrying Lovey around again, as of just the last couple of weeks.  She went months without it.  This is my fault.  She asked for it one night, and I could have said I didn't know where it was, but I didn't.  I got it down from its hiding place.  There's no harm in it.  She sleeps with it and sometimes bring it for rides in the car.  She doesn't take it out of the car when we go out, that's my only rule.

After her recent ventures with vacation bible school and swim lessons, I feel confident that she's going to do just fine in preschool, even though she's very timid in those kinds of settings.  It will be good for her.  She'll go to the same preschool Delaney did, just two mornings a week starting after Labor Day.  We drive by her school often, and I always say, "There's Annie's school!"  I'm glad that she gets to start preschool in a place that's already familiar to her, from when we took Delaney there three days a week last year.
She's very particular about how she dresses and how she wants her hair fixed.  She only likes "pretty dresses."  She won't even wear skirts, and at first I tried cajoling her into wearing them because she has such cute ones, and I hate to see them not get worn.  But for the most part I have given up on that, and getting her dressed is now a cinch.  I follow her to her closet, she points at the dress she wants to wear, I get it down for her, and she puts it on.  Her favorite dress is her "fruit dress" pictured below.  Her favorite way for me to fix her hair is in two braids.  She's never happier than when she puts on this dress, I braid her hair, and she picks out some pretty shoes.  I predict in a couple months, she'll be be wearing lots of dresses and leggings, and shoes with buckles.  Maybe she'll pick a favorite and want to wear it every time she goes to school.  If that happens, I'll either complain about it and beg her to wear something else, or I'll just have that outfit clean and ready for every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  Or both.
Annie's favorite ensemble, complete with two braids.  I've gone back and forth about Gymboree over the years because of their prices.  But I LOVE this dress, and it's been worn and played in by two children, washed and dried countless times, and shows no signs of wear whatsoever.  
I'm hoping that this fall we see more Sweet Annie and less Terrible Annie.  For my part, I've been trying to remember to pay attention to her when she does good things, and to give her a word of praise or encouragement whenever possible.  She wants to be a good girl, a big girl, and a helper.  She gets frustrated easily, and she doesn't want to play second banana to either Delaney or Timmy.  With Delaney in school every day, she should have a few more opportunities to be the big kid.  Not that she doesn't have the opportunities now, but I think that a lot of the time, she feels like she has to compete with her big sister.  It's exhausting sometimes, the way the simplest, stupidest things, like who gets to shut the car door, can escalate into fights. Maybe she's worried she'll be forgotten if she doesn't throw an occasional fit.  She's a physical girl, so I try to remember to give her a hug from time to time, just because. 

Here's a sort of strange thing about Annie that I only add here because this knowledge could come in handy some day.  Whenever she tells me she's cold, it means she needs to poop.  This just started within the last few months.  It's odd.  She'll argue with me that she doesn't have to, but sure enough, she does every time.  So there's that.

I might be jinxing us here, but I also want to mention that Annie has woken up dry in the morning for so long that I've lost track of how long it's been.  Two months at least.  She and her sister have started wearing undies to bed.  And now that I've said it, there's going to be a big bedwetting incident.  But at least it seems we've moved in the right direction.  We still get them up to go to the bathroom every night before we go to bed.

This little girl might drive us crazy, but we sure do love her.


  1. Oh my gosh, I could write the exact same post about Allie (also 3.25). Seriously, there are times when I look at her and ask her where my sweet girl went? And, then there are times when she's just SO cute! Three is kind of a maddening age for me.. we didn't have too much trouble at 2, three is much worse!! Also, I'm with you on Gymboree - I LOVE their clothes, but the prices are ridiculous! However, the quality is amazing, almost all of Allie's baby stuff looks brand new despite countless washings. FYI - they usually have a 20% off coupon in most parenting magazines, I try to never buy their stuff full price.

  2. Sounds like Annie and Allie could be best buds. I won't pay full price for Gymboree either. A good friend of mine got that dress and a few others at bargain prices a couple years ago, and sold them to me. (If you read this, thanks Maureen!) I love those dresses, and I'm sad that that after this summer they'll be outgrown by both girls.

  3. Miles did the cold thing for a long time, I've never heard of anyone else doing that before!

    1. And didn't Miles also get nervous and not want to sit on the potty to poo sometimes? Annie just did that the other day for the first time in a long time. Her diet is terrible, so it's a wonder she has poop problems!

  4. He hated going for awhile but he had bad constipation issues. He would what until he couldnt hold it any longer. He has always eaten whatever we'be given him though, what really ended up helping him was having an apple everyday.

    I'm sure he'll really appreciate me posting this someday :)

    1. Man, I wish I had a kid who would eat whatever he/she was given! I got her to eat a few bites of an apple this morning, but that was it. I ate the rest. Tim and I are overhauling the diet of this whole family b/c she is causing a crisis for all of us.

  5. Well maybe it will be for the better for everyone. Good luck!