Monday, December 12, 2016

Parenthood: Week 182 - 3 1/2 Year-Old Milestones

The milestones in toddlerhood aren’t as noticeable as learning how to walk, but they are important and worthy of mention. So here are a couple we’ve noticed lately as our son is now three and a half.

For a while now, Ollie has been able to learn songs that are sung to him like the “ABC” song or songs that he learned in his music class. Other more complicated songs or songs he simply heard recordings of, he could recognize but he wouldn’t pick up. This has started to change. Just from listening to “You’re Welcome” from the Disney film, Moana, Ollie can sing probably 60% of the lyrics. It’s really adorable when the song gets to the rap and Ollie just mumbles his way through it.

Ollie’s favorite song from Hamilton is “Aaron Burr, Sir” and he does a pretty good job picking out louder parts of the rap. When it transitions to “My Shot,” Ollie nails the words “My Shot,” really well and the chanting towards the end of the song.

And the dancing that accompanies his singing, well, let’s just say that he’s working his way up to be a triple threat.

To The Moon
Two nights ago, I was getting Ollie dressed into his pajamas and he pointed to his height chart. On the chart it reads “I love you to the moon and back.” He pointed to “the” and said “the.” I pointed to “to” and he read that as well. Without much help he got “back.” “Moon” took a little bit more work, but before we knew it, he read the entire sentence. I almost cried in joy.

Reading is one of the most important things that Ollie learns how to do. This skill will open up the world to him, help him open up himself to others and nurture his emotional growth and empathy. We read to him all of the time. Lately, he’s been crawling all over me wanting to check out whatever I’m reading. There are times when he asks to read the same book for the third time and I feel tired, but I push through because whenever I get going, I never regret spending that time and effort to share a book with him.

Beyond Twenty
When Ollie asks for things, sometimes I ask him how many he wants. For a while there the highest number he knew was twenty. Our school drop-off ritual ends with him getting twenty hugs. Now he knows thirty and forty (though he hasn’t asked for that many hugs). While it takes him a while to count that high, he’s starting to understand that the world through numbers is larger, more complex and more beautiful in it’s multiplicity.

Here’s the thing. Diana and I don’t drill him on his letters and his numbers. We surround him with toys that let him play with concepts related to counting and reading.  His sense of wonder and inquiry has really blossomed.

Ollie, as you show us what’s inside of you, we feel as Alexander Hamilton sings: “Pride is not the word I’m looking for, there is so much more inside me now.”

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