Petra at Three

I haven’t written a post about Petra’s development for ages. She changes and grows all the time, but so incrementally that I don’t notice the shifts until sometime after they’ve happened.

She’s become a most determined and persistent talker, and she’s very proud of her prowess. After her birthday party, she announced that Hope, the little girl from down the street, was “not a good talker. I’m a good talker, but Hope’s not a good talker.” I hadn’t much noticed Hope’s skills or lack thereof as a speaker, but Petra was obviously paying attention and making her own judgements.

Petra’s gotten ambitious, essaying long sentences and long words. Today, Petra and I meandered around Whitcoull’s waiting for Travis to finish up at his office, and when he came to collect us, she greeted him with, “We were just discussing what we’re going to buy.” A very nice sentence and a good try at extorting some small purchase from him – it didn’t work, but she didn’t seem to mind.

She’s a big spinner of tales, pinning my ears against my head with torrents of words as she tells me long and discursive stories. I carefully pick my way through the flow, tossing in an “Is that right?” or a “Goodness me,” here and there and repeating words and phrases back to her so that she knows I’m following. It’s a job of work being an active listener for a preschooler, but I do my best to keep up and understand and not give way under the onslaught. My reward is the truly delightful ideas and theories she comes up with.

I’m trying to teach her though, that she can’t always expect our undivided attention. She’s hit that tricky stage where she just talks over the top of everyone else, raising her voice until she’s drowned us out. When I shush her, she either ignores me or says in a wounded voice, “Why you want me to be quiet Mum?” I haven’t yet come up with a good technique for getting her to take turns holding the floor.

As well as talking a lot, she’s gotten demonstrative again. The hugs and declarations of love and devotion wax and wane a bit depending on what her focus is at the time. But at the moment, she’s very very cuddly. She snuggles on my knee and leans her head against my chest. She climbs all over me and wraps her arms around my neck. She gives me slimy open-mouthed kisses on my face and neck. She says, “Hello boobies,” and pats my breasts when they get in range. She sneaks into bed with us around midnight, smiles beatifically, presses her face against mine, and cuddles in to sleep. And she gives lots of compliments. Today, for example, we were climbing the stairs to the cafe in the library and she said quite out of the blue, “I like you. I like your boobies. I like the smell of your hair. I like to touch your hair.” This morning, she told me that I was “the best lady in the whole world,” and we agreed that she was the best girl. She’s just lovely. I love her to pieces.

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