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My Three Year Old

Every once in awhile I try and write something about Gwendolyn that reflects her development or maybe just an odd story about how much of a manipulative little con artist she’s become. Being three years old, it feels like it’s different. She’s already attained the basic requirements of being a person while the only thing left to her is the general education of learning things.

I suppose it’s one of those bittersweet moments, because i realize know that she really is a person. She simply won’t do things just because I want to do them. Sometimes she refuses because she would rather do something else and sometimes she refuses on principle. The principle being that she simply doesn’t want to. As I write this, Gwen is playing by herself with one of her dolls desperately trying to get one of the shoes on in much the same way I desperately forced her to put a shoe on before school this morning.

Being three also means that the “terrible twos” are over. I’m still shrugging my shoulders and twisting my face to figure out why they are called that. They simply weren’t that terrible. I’ve often wondered this past year as to where the bad part was supposed to be. Sure, sometimes she was a monster but most of the time it was just her being a two year old. Most of our conflict came when she didn’t want to eat but it was dinner time. The resolution: a compromise, she didn’t have to eat but she had to sit at the table while everyone else ate. It was simple after all, she wasn’t going to starve to death and yelling at her wasn’t going to work so she could be bored and sit there. I think the kids that scream and cry at two just need an outlet. Some way to channel all of the energy. Gwen just talks, and talks, and talks, and talks; but she was never a terrible two year old despite my complaints.

Objectively, she never panicked or freaked out in public. She’s yet to throw a tantrum in my presence outside the house. This is probably because I’ve socialized her. When there’s no school, it’s her and I. I, cannot stay in as I get stir crazy especially with her. Just me alone, I can read a book, write, or play a video game all day. The trouble is that with Gwen I can’t do those things. She won’t really let me read or write, and the video games I want to play are not for her. We’ve been trying to limit our television watching so I can’t just turn it on and let her sit…in fact, I don’t want to do that. We go out, we talk to people and go to the museum. Most often we go to the coffee shop where she sits in her chair and draws for a couple of hours. Then asks me for my cell phone so she can play games on it (it’s a WP7 which for a phone OS is horrifyingly kid easy).

Gwen has started school though, preschool–or maybe pre pre-school. I’m not sure because it seems really early but going to school is necessary for her. Not to learn the things she is going to learn: she knows her letters (but not the sounds they make), she knows the numbers, she can count, and she knows her colors; but because she needs to learn about people. I know that I said she’s pretty socialized but that’s with older people. Aside from her cousins she doesn’t hang out with kids. School will give her that, but it’s kind of sad to have her go. She won’t be my partner anymore. She’ll have friends her age and I’ll probably not like them or something. As sick of each other as we get (and believe me it’s a two way street) for the longest time during the day it really was just her and I, until mommy woke up and then it was like I wasn’t there until story time. I’ll miss that, but I’m also relieved. Because even though our time is over, it does mean that she is developing her own wants and desires. She’ll have friends and those friends will have secrets that I won’t know about.

She’s not a baby anymore she’s a kid. She’s self aware. I once wrote that the difference between AI as normally conceived in science fiction and true AI is not whether a computer can play chess, but whether it wants to. If Deep Blue, just resigns a game because it doesn’t really “feel it” that day, that would be a self aware sentient AI as opposed to something that is roughly akin to a powerful calculator. That’s Gwen now, she either wants to do something or doesn’t whereas before she wanted to do whatever was suggested to her. It was either go to the library or the store and they were both fine (although she did have a preference sometimes). Now she may not want either, but some third choice.

Her latest thing is dinosaurs. Which is super cool, because I like dinosaurs, or at least I do again. Mostly this is from the PBS show “Dinosaur Train,” one of those shows that Conservatives think are destroying America. It’s a good show, they have an actual PhD as the host explaining which dinosaur is which, and why science thinks they behaved one way or the other. It’s up to date as it gets, as they’ve even put feathers on the velociraptors. Mostly we watch it then I chase Gwen down pretending to eat her like a Tyrannosaurus Rex (which sadly, may have been a scavenger).

She’s definitely one of the best people I know in the world and she’s only three. Happy Birthday Kid.

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