Yes, two! Two Owlet monthly posts in close publishing proximity! This will be backdated soon to 4 January.
Christmas happened this past month!
The dollhouse. Oh, the dollhouse. HRH designed and built this for her. Every day he’d post pictures from the workshop of how it was progressing, and it just got better and better. Shingles! Siding! The round windows in the attic! The facade with the trompe-l’oeil portico!
Nana was in on the plan and bought a family of dolls, pets (a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and they all have food bowls — too cute) and some furniture as Christmas presents. Her friend Ada’s nanny also gave her a related gift, a little Calico Critters set of twin bunnies in a pram and their female adult companion. (Mother? Grandmother? Nanny?) (Oh, the Internet tells me they are Connor and Kerri Snow-Warren and their mother, Shannon. Thank you, Internet. And thank you, Carmel!) She plays with it all the time, usually pulling Sparky into her games. He brings along various toys to include, most notably the Transformers Beast Wars Transmetal 2 Megatron dragon Ann gave him, and Qui-Gon Jin in a police car. (It makes sense if you’re nine.) She is very inventive about sleeping arrangements, stuffing the rabbit into the desk, the cat into the oven or a cupboard or drawer, the dog anywhere except his doghouse, and the baby bunnies in the fireplaces. She also uses it as a stalling tactic if you’ve asked her to switch activities in preparation for going somewhere. “I just have to put everyone in their beds,” she says. And then it takes half an hour, because apparently all the dolls are just as bad at going to bed when they’re told as she is.
Her other exciting gift was her Meowsic keyboard. This is awesome because The Doubleclicks use one in some of their songs, and they’re her favourite band. The best setting is the one where it meows the notes when you play. (Wait, did I ever tell you that Sparky, Gryffindor, and I participated in crowdsourcing one of their videos this past fall? Cats at Parties! Okay, tangent over.)
Dancing has become a big thing. She loves to dance to music, dancing fast or slow to reflect what the music is saying to her. I’d love to put her into ballet, but the local schools are very expensive. Thatâ€™s our stumbling block right now; it’s way out of our budget. The arts centre that Sparky does his art classes with offers affordable ballet, but only starting at five years old. (Which, now that I think about it, is only, like, a year and a half away. WHAT. You may proceed to panic, dear readers.)
She especially loves snow dancing. If there is a new blanket of snow on the driveway, she will dance in it (the more area covered the better) then stop and look at the design her footprints have made. “Look at my dances!” she says. One of her favourite pretends these days is being a snow fairy, a combination of the ‘snow bugs’ she saw in an episode of Aria the Animation (Season 1 episode 10, if anyone’s interested) and the snow fairies from Tinker Bell: The Secret of the Wings.
In the category of Weird Things Three-Year-Olds Do, one day I put her down for her nap on her day off from daycare. Weâ€™d been having trouble with her not horsing around after we close the door, so I stayed nearby listening in order to nip any unallowed behaviour in the bud. She was pretty quiet, but then I heard an odd creak, so I went in. Sheâ€™d crawled into her pillowcase, pillow still inside, and was lying with her feet at the head of the bed. She turned her head to look at me and froze. We stayed like that, looking at each other for a moment, and then I cracked up and couldnâ€™t stop laughing. Eventually I got it together enough to pick her up and reverse her so that her head was at the right end of the bed, so I could pull the covers over her. I had to go in one more time to pull the pillow out so she could be less crowded, but I let her fall asleep in the pillowcase. She hasn’t tried it since.
She can arrange the first six letters of the alphabet in order. After that, it gets… creative.
Owlet has been doing a lot of “reading” to herself, going page by page through a book and telling herself a combination of memorized phrases and description of what’s going on in the pictures. Sometimes she doesn’t tell the story that she knows the book tells, but a different one inspired by the pictures. I find that really interesting, because it means she isn’t locked into the story she knows is on the pages. And she doesn’t limit herself to what’s in the pictures, either; sometimes she’ll pull in characters from other books to join the story.
Lots of her spontaneous narratives involve purple horses or unicorns. “I’m the baby kitten, you’re the mummy kitten” is another popular pretend.
We are working on interpreting emotions. If I am cross with her (for whichever of the zillion reasons three-year-olds push us over the edge), she will often shake her finger in my face and say, “I am very cross with you!”, turning it around. (This does not usually fly so well.) If she does what she has been told to do, she will say “Are you happy?” hopefully. And while I want to be honest and say that yes, I am happy when she does what she’s been told because she’s been asked to do it for a specific reason, I also don’t want to set a precedent that she has to be compliant in order to make other people happy. That’s a bad path to start her down. I still struggle with my sense of self-worth being tied to keeping other people happy with me or my work, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
If she knows I am upset or sad, though, she will often come over to me and say, “I will make you feeling better.” She’ll stroke my back or pat my arm, and ask, “I am feeling you better?” It is an amusing syntax error.
To her great delight, I knitted her socks from the DK-weight yarn I spun from the second fibre she chose at Espace Interstitiel, the Louet Corriedale in ‘Grape Jelly.’ She was very excited until she put them on. Then, two minutes later, she said they were making her feet cold and wanted them off. No, I have no idea. She’s three.