Children grow up in the blink of an eye. One day you’re changing their diaper, the next you’re watching them graduate from high school. I know I should embrace every moment because those cuddles and kisses from my child may fade away as the years pass by. But, I know I’m not alone when I admit that the early years are rough.
The “Terrible Two’s” were truly terrible as I watched my child learn how to test every nerve in my body. The constant crying gave way to mischief as my daughter reached the unbearable “Threenager” stage last year. Forget the second year, the third year of life is so much worse! In the past 11 months, I’ve found myself raising my voice, taking deep breaths to calm down, and even crying in frustration…all because of a pint size girl who was nicknamed “Diva” during her NICU days.
That little Diva won my heart the day she was born, and as the months pass by, I find myself watching a toddler transition into a strong and beautiful little girl. The early days of 3-year-old chaos has given way to a beautiful friendship; a special bond forming between my daughter and me. As we approach my daughter’s fourth birthday, I’ve done a complete 180. Here are 5 reasons this age is the best:
The days of constantly changing diapers and cleaning up massive blowouts are long gone. Now, my daughter insists on getting herself dressed, often with shoes on the wrong feet. The moments of tugging at my legs non-stop for attention are now replaced with total contentment as she plays in her bedroom. She spends hours engrossed in her books and creating the perfect living space for her dolls.
It was only a few months ago when my daughter wasn’t satisfied with a simple answer. One question often turned into a series of 50 questions, sounding like a broken record of the word “why”? The older she becomes, the more she understands. It’s as if I can see the gears of her mind working overtime; her brain a sponge, soaking in every tidbit of curiosity. Sure, when I politely say that it’s not her turn to talk, it may only produce 15 seconds of silence…but at least that’s a start!
My daughter has never been shy. She’s the type of girl who will take her baby on a walk around the neighborhood, waving as she greets anyone who may be outside. But, she does have a quiet side, one of the few lasting signs of her premature birth. A year ago, she would stare blankly if she didn’t know what to say. Fast-forward to today and her newfound confidence is front and center. She’s more comfortable in her speech and is proving to be a great negotiator when mom and dad tell her “no”.
A Wild Imagination
For the longest time, my daughter insisted on only coloring with brown or black crayons. She would draw the same scribble and move to the next piece of paper. Then one day, something clicked. My daughter began playing with her Barbies and whipping up pretend chocolate soup in her kitchen. Her imagination was blooming, a magical moment to witness. As time passes by, her creativity grows stronger. Sometimes she has a tea party with our dog. Other times, she pretends to clean the house. Recently, I find myself mesmerized by her stories as I quietly watch her mind run wild with a world of imagination.
My daughter and I have a special connection, that unconditional love has always been present. But, as we get closer to 4-years-old, her gentle and caring disposition has multiplied. The hugs and kisses are a necessity anytime I leave the house and my daughter takes pride in surprising me with a squeeze of love at random moments. When I’m having a bad day, she the first to tell me to cheer up and she can be heard calling for daddy when she needs a hug late at night.
Parenting is no walk in the park. It can be exhausting and trying, but so rewarding. Children really do grow up in an instant, and with no signs of slowing down, all you can do is to embrace every moment and enjoy the ride.