She understood Christmas and presents and cookies and Santa last year to a certain degree. But this year, she was really into the holiday season, which has made muddling my way through it with a smile plastered on my face for her a bit easier.
Isabella thoroughly enjoyed watching Christmas specials in the evenings after Loud and Louder were in bed as her reward for taking naps. I think her favorite was Prep and Landing, minus the Christmas Eve elf-induced meltdown, and I have to say, it was mine too. Very well done, and packed with above-the-heads-of-children humor, which is a must-have in any kids' movie or tv show. I'm now going to need to come up with another bribe for encouraging her to nap in the afternoons.
While her vocabulary and the things she picks up from the hubs and me always amazes me (highlights include, "Mommy, that's absurd!", "I've told you several times...", and my personal laugh-into-my-arm favorite, lest she see me finding her sassy behavior funny, "Too bad for you, I won't!"-in response to me asking her to get dressed), she's also been using babytalk a lot lately. I'm assuming she's mimicking the twins, but it's hugely annoying to listen to your very verbal three-year-old gesture at what she wants while saying "Dada" or a combination of consonants and vowels that have no meaning.
She's begun taking on the job of snack delivery for the babies in the mornings and afternoons. She spreads a blanket on the family room floor, and places their snack bowls and sippy cups in front of them for me (and gets upset if I forget to let her do delivery). She then tells them, "Bon appetit! You may eat!", which I learned is what her teacher tells the class before snacktime at preschool.
After almost 15 months of very good behavior toward the twins (her tendency to steamroll them notwithstanding) Isabella finally lashed out about a week ago. We we in the car heading home from one of the many family gatherings we've had lately, and she was listening to one of her books-on-CD. She always complains that she can't hear the CD over the babies crying and babbling, despite the fact that we crank the volume as loud as we can tolerate. That night, Luci was crying, Isabella was complaining, and Nicholas was staying out of the ruckus. All of a sudden, Luci let out a piercing scream. I turned around and immediately asked Isabella what happened. Isabella told me she had "sucked on Luci's finger." In reality, she had bitten her. Needless to say, the benevolent dictator received quite the lecture on appropriate outlets for her frustration. And immediately upon arriving home, Isabella rushed to her sister, gave her a hug, and asked her if her finger was okay.
In Isabella's defense, I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be stuck between two often-screaming babies in the backseat of our Trailblazer (yes, you can fit three car seats across the back seat). I am constantly frustrated by their crying, and I'm supposedly the adult. But what she did that night was obviously not the appropriate reaction.
Fortunately, the sisters were able to bury the hatchet.
Isabella has begun waking up in the mornings before the babies (oddly enough), and when she comes downstairs to the kitchen, she often climbs up on one of the counter stools and asks if she can keep me company. This is often the only time of day I'm able to spend with her on a one-to-one basis, and this makes me incredibly sad. I continue to have to turn her down when she asks me to play with her not-baby-safe toys, read her a story, or go upstairs with her to play with her dollhouse. On a lot of days, I'm half-inclined to allow her to skip her "nap" so we can have some rare alone time, but most days I'm trying to cram 5 hours of work into a 1.5-hour-if-I'm'-lucky napping period, and I just can't afford to lose the time. I'm thinking of trying to work out a childcare arrangement with my relatives one day a week in which they would take the twins for one of the mornings Isabella has preschool, and then keep them until dinnertime, so I could spend the afternoon with Isabella.
And speaking of preschool, I have a decision to make in January for next year. I have the option to re-enroll her in the same morning program she's in this year, but I would opt for three days a week instead of the two days she currently attends, or I can opt for the four-afternoons-a-week program for four-year-olds. This is still a play-based program, as her program is now, but it also includes a bit of kindergarten readiness and more focused attention spent on concepts, since it's four consecutive afternoons.
I think she would do very well in this afternoon program, except I really wish it was in the morning instead of 12:30-3:30. The twins would never be able to nap past 3:10pm at the latest (as if they would anyway-most of their naps are 1.5 hours in length) and Isabella wouldn't be able to nap or "nap" 4 days a week, since she would be in school during that time. There are other positives, because in addition to the kindergarten readiness aspects, our mornings would be free for playdates, museum trips, and when the weather gets warmer-playground time, BUT almost all of her friends are in preschool in the mornings, whereas she would go in the afternoon. I definitely want her to stay at her preschool, since I'm very happy with it and thrilled that she loves it so much, so switching schools isn't an option.
Isabella continues to be my sensitive, precocious, funny, and talkative little girl. She has her moments, but most days, I feel like she's my lighthouse in the storm. I'm very lucky to be her mom.
Current Likes: Making blanket caves in the family room, Berenstein Bears books
Current Dislikes: Having her hair brushed, eating at mealtime