It's been a mixed bag of a month in a lot of respects. She continues to be a sweet and charming little girl when she wants to be, and I still contend that three is my favorite age thus far. But Isabella has also turned into a big-time negotiator, which is amusing some of the time, but pull-your-hair-out frustrating most of the time.
Isabella always has an alternate plan about the way things should go down, even when I make a point of giving her two choices from which to pick. This tends to get very exhausting, very quickly.
For example, if we're upstairs in the morning and talking in her room just after she's woken up, and I have to get Luci (or Nico), I'll ask her if she wants to wait in her room, or come with me to get whichever baby is up. She always has a third option in mind, so she'll say, "Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to go downstairs and then you'll follow with Luci later, okay?" And this is a fairly benign example. Usually, her attempts to control the situation extend into eating at meal times ("How about if I don't eat my cauliflower, but I eat all my chicken?") and picking up her toys ("I'll pick them up AFTER I finish this book"). Sorry, kid. There's only one sheriff in town and it's not you.
My Mini Mussolini is generally speaking, a benevolent little dictator with her brother and sister. That said, she's made comments to me lately, mostly in the early morning hours when she is awake and they are not, that's she's growing tired of the three-way tug for my attention. She's said, "I'm glad I can spend time with you without the babies" and "don't get the babies!" when she hears them crying in their cribs or in Baby Jail (if Isabella and I happen to be in the kitchen alone together). She often asks me to read a book to her in my office, or play with her in the special area I've set up for her and her "small parts" toys in our dining room/living room. And of course, most of the time I can't indulge her because the twins require so much supervision and attention.Her room is mostly complete, although I am still searching for white curtains that aren't excessively frilly, we're overdue in converting her toddler bed into a full-size bed, and I still want to order some prints from some Etsy shops Jess recommended to me. As you may remember, Isabella hated the color of her room in the new house (it was lavender). She would constantly tell me "purple is NOT my favorite color" and would ask for her room to be painted red (her favorite color). We compromised and painted one big wall and one small, recessed wall red, and the other walls white. I added peel-and-stick red polka dots to the large white wall. The bookcase is based on this one. My MIL's boyfriend built it for her and I'm not sure who loves it more: me or Isabella. And the little red chair is courtesy of her very generous Aunt Karrie.
This room is Isabella. She's not a girly girl. She's a primary colors kid. She's not into the princesses or many of the things that interest other girls her age. She loves her bedroom.
She's starting to write the letters in her name, and she's doing a great job with all letters except the "s." Also, I cannot recommend this DVD enough. She's known most of her letters for awhile now, but this DVD has allowed her to learn the sounds each letter makes.
I made the preschool decision that I was deliberating last month. I called her teacher and asked her opinion as to whether I should enroll Isabella in the three-day-a-week morning program for three-and-four-year-olds, (which is essentially what she's doing right now, except Isabella currently attends two days a week), or if I should enroll her in the four-day-a-week afternoon program for four-year-olds, which is more academic and similar to Pre-K. Her teacher said that Isabella just adores school (told you so, grandma), that she thought Isabella would "thrive" in the PM program, and that Isabella loves Circle Time (stories, songs, and finger plays) and could "sit in circle time all day long" so she would enjoy the extended Circle Time in the afternoon program.
That conversation made the decision pretty easy, so the Afternoon Program it is. I figure by that time Isabella won't be napping anymore anyway (she now naps maybe two or three times a week) and the twins take horribly short naps now as it is (down at 1pm and most often awake before 2:30pm) so I won't be disrupting their sleep when I have to go and pick Isabella up at 3:30. I think I've made the right choice, and I think the structure and the four consecutive days in the row will prepare her for kindergarten (gulp!) next year.
Current Likes: Brushing the cats, rice cakes
Current Dislikes: The nightlight in the hallway, her screeching siblings
Thanks so much for the many awesome suggestions in yesterday's post. Keep 'em coming!