Parenting Blog

The Transformation

I’m in the midst of the most exciting period in a young child’s life.

There’s this moment sandwiched between the whiny baby years and the growing maturity & burgeoning independence of the grade school years.  I call it the Transformation.  It’s the stage of a child’s life when they begin to see the world as a series of opportunities – to learn, to discover, to ponder – instead of merely reacting to a variety of stimuli.  From my experience with 2 young ladies, this glorious period of time is ushered in somewhere between ages 2.5 and 4.

The Mouse is right there, at 3.5-years old, and is starting to read, write, recall past experiences, combine concepts and ideas, and think logically about situations and her role in them.  The cutest moment of her Transformation to date came a week or so ago when, while playing DICEcapades, she turns and says “Can I learn to read?”  Holy shit!!  She was immediately smothered with upwards of 250 hugs and kisses.  After wiping herself clean from the slobbery kisses, straightening her nightgown, and fixing her static-y unkempt blond hair from the tackling of hugs, she heard back from the Mrs. and I an emphatic “Of course you can learn to read!”.  For the rest of the game, she gleefully helped read the 1st word on each playing card – sounding out words like ‘ROLL’, ‘DRAW’, and ‘PICK’.

Since then she has begun to use her over-sized Magna Doodle to spell words like ‘HAT’, ‘BOX’, ‘DADDY’ & her own name.  I hear her in the backseat of the car every day, making vowel sounds roll off her tongue trying decipher if it’s B-A or B-O that starts BOX.   She’s become mildly obsessed with the beautiful letters of the alphabet (helped too, no doubt, by the new book “How Rocket Learned to Read” that Santa brought her last month).  It’s all I can do to not well up with happy tears and drive off the road.

She’s also beginning to grasp multiple ideas/instructions squeezed into a single sentence and memorize larger chunks of song lyrics and movie scripts.  She is, in general, impressing me more and more every day.

There is no going back to Babyville (yay!).  I’m not one to pine over the cuteness of a newborn and wish for another.  I’m not selfish that way, ’cause I’ve been through that town twice already and had a fairly nice time.  I only wish to travel to new places from here on out. The Transformation of the Mouse is new, because she is processing information quite differently than the more studious Bear.  My style of teaching and encouraging has had to be altered for this spunky little girl who wants to run before walk, and often let’s frustration be an impediment, not motivation.

The Transformation of the Mouse is making me feel more alive as I learn new things about myself and about my relationship with my youngest daughter.  That’s really why it’s such an amazing time, because the child isn’t the only one being forever changed.

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