Miss Petra the preschooler

Petra is no longer a baby; in fact she’s no longer a toddler. She’s a preschooler, in development and skills and enthusiasms, if not in age.

She talks all the time, starting sometime between 6 and 7am when she sits up and announces “I’ve findashed my leeping,” and finishing around 7-7:30pm when she says “I just want to give you cuddle,” in a last-ditch attempt to avoid falling asleep.

I’m dragged out of sleep each morning and then spend the rest of the day trying to keep up. Not always an easy task, especially when Petra wakes up straight into play. For a while she would announce who we were going to be that day before we’d even gotten out of bed. Sometimes she was Olivia or Olivia’s friend Jack, sometimes she was random people. I was most often auntie Lala or Jack. She’s not doing this at the moment, so at least I get to wake up and be sure that I’m me.

Tonight, I mentioned to her that I thought it was time for us to stop with the booby at bedtime and move on to milk and some kind of snack before bed. I’ve been putting off “the talk” because I thought she might be upset by it. But no, she gave me a big smile and said, “Yes, because I’m a big girl and big girls don’t have boobies.” She got right out in front of me. I wasn’t planning to play the big-girl card until we’d had a few conversations about the possibility of stopping; Petra had no such qualms. I don’t know yet whether she’ll actually want to stop when it comes to crunch time, but the initial conversation went further than I expected.

She’s also telling me that she needs a new kindy. The move doesn’t seem to have fazed her at all. She’s a bit puzzled by the disappearance of her regular haunts – the Gardens, the dinosaur park, “the Wall” (her name for the mall where we always parked when we went into town in Dunedin). But mostly she’s been very matter-of-fact about the changes and excited about her novel surroundings.

We went down to the waterfront on Saturday and wandered around the old wharf (which is now populated with museums, cafes, bars, and craft stores) with all the other Wellingtonians who’d been drawn out by the sunshine. Petra was comfortable despite all the people and had a wonderful time peering over the edge of the wharf (giving me an attack of parental vertigo as I imagined her plunging into the water – I had to herd her away), looking for ducks and gulls, and staring at the various sculptures and boats. She kept on until she was nearly out on her feet.

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