Isabella at Three-and-a-Half

Ah, three-and-a-half. Can you bring back three, please, because three-and-a-half is turning out to be a whole lot more challenging.

Don't get me wrong, I will take the emergence of sass and back-talk and epic meltdowns in Isabella any day of the week over the virtually non-stop screaming of Loud and Louder. But, this month I've noticed a big jump in intensity, stubbornness, and Big Big Emotion out of my eldest.

Mommy is not a fan.

But first, the good.

Isabella has taken to calling the babies "my sweethearts." She asks to hug and kiss them before bed each night, wants me to bring them in her (not-babyproofed) room to play, and wants to be the first to charge into their rooms in the morning to wake them up.

That said, she's also more rough with them now that they're both up and walking. She's been known to shove them or push them down when they get too close to her stuff, or interrupt her while she's reading. I get her frustration. I really do. But, everyone has to play nice in the pond, so I've had to lay down the law about physical violence against Luci and Nico.

Isabella has taken a huge interest in letters and spelling this month. One day a few weeks ago, she just started saying words, and then figuring out which letter the words begin with. We were driving past The Bagel Bin, one of her favorite places to go, and she said, "B-B-Bagel Bin. Starts with "B!" She does this sometimes dozens of times a day now. "C-C-Cold. Starts with "C!" I am so completely proud of her for doing this all on her own, and honestly, I think a lot of it has come from this video, which I recommended before, but seriously-she hasn't watched it in at least a month and yet still remembers what it's taught her.

She's also constantly writing the letters in her name, especially the "I" and the "Ls" (which are obviously the easiest ones). The "S" is still very difficult for her, but again, she's taken the initiative on this, and I am so impressed.

Isabella has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs, thanks to her favorite show, Dinosaur Train. She even pronounces them correctly, which is something even I can't do. One of her favorite new games is "preschool." She takes her stuffed animals and dolls and places them on the floor in our dining room/Isabella's Baby-Free Zone. She then gives them snacks, paper to draw on, and crayons, and "teaches" them.

When my mother comes to visit, Isabella commandeers her iTouch to play a puppy game on it. Yes, my almost-60-year-old mother who is so techno-phobic that she can barely email has an iTouch and I don't even have a cell phone. What's wrong with this picture?

And now, the bad. Or "the challenges."

Isabella has become more strong-willed, opinionated, and sassy over the past few weeks. I cannot imagine from whence this came. Everything I ask her to do is subject to negotiation "How about I finish drawing first and THEN I will pick up the puzzle." Her patience level is non-existent and everything is, "Nooooooo! I want it NOW!"

Perhaps the most frustrating new behavioral attribute is her penchant for asking for something 4,000 times in the span of two minutes.

"Mommy, can I have more apple?"

"Sure, Isabella. One minute. Let me just finish this up."

"Hey, mommy. Can I have my apple, please?"

"Just a second, Isabella."

"Moooommmmmmyyyy. I want it noooooooow."

Considering the fact that I feel like an indentured servant to three small children whose needs are never, ever fully met, even when they're sleeping, this kind of badgering does not sit well with me. However, I most likely only have myself to blame for this one, considering my well of patience doesn't exactly runneth over.

But my most favorite behavioral tick of the month has to be the bedtime threats. Usually, I start Isabella's bedtime routine while the hubs rocks Luci to sleep. I wash Isabella's face, brush her teeth, and read her a story or two.

Apparently, one or two stories before bedtime is less than adequate, because she's begun threatening me:

"Mommy, you will read me these books (gestures to enormous stack she's placed on her bed) or I'm going to wake you up in the middle of the night."

Mommy does not negotiate with terrorists, darling.

And then, there's the saddest development of the month. I believe her afternoon nap is well and truly dead. In the past few months, she'd nap maybe once or twice a week. The rest of the time, she would read books in her bed for about an hour-and-a-half, and then call for me because she wanted to get up.
Now? She's taken one nap in the past three weeks. I'm torn about what to do. I use "naptime" (ridiculously short as it is here-usually the twins nap for 1.5 hours or less) to work. I need the quiet, so having Isabella downstairs and playing or watching tv doesn't really work for me, as she's constantly in my office asking me one question or another. However, I'm not sure how much longer she's going to tolerate being quiet in her room when she's not sleeping.
What do you do with a non-napping preschooler, especially if you have other younger, napping children in the house?

Current Likes: Picnics under the dining room table, dance parties in the living room

Current Dislikes: Cleaning up, getting dressed

9 Responses to “Isabella at Three-and-a-Half”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    Yeah for the good, lots of empathy for the not-so-good.

    I feel for you with the nap situaiton. To have gotten to 3 and a half is very good. Can you set her up in your office with her own "work", or is that just a fantasy? What about you working in the family room while she watches a video? I know it's not the same as uninterrupted time, but maybe it's better than nothing? Maybe?

    Good luck.  

  2. # Anonymous Ness at Drovers Run

    Oh I SO hear you.

    We are having a real struggle with 'the eldest' being rough with the 'youngest' right now. It's like my big cherub becomes the frothing lord of the underworld as soon as the little cherub comes home from school. I realise that there are issues of attention that need to be addressed, so we're doing what we can, but as with everything else in parenting I'm hoping it's a phase. The "I'm not sure if my parents love me, so I'm going to test them again, until I'm satisfied phase, and until I lull them into a false sense of security and try this on again, at some point in the future as yet to be determined by me. Signed. The Fuhrer." phase. You know?

    We also get the asking for things every 20 seconds. We also get the negotiation things, like as in, "I'll tidy up when I'm finished watching this." or even better, and more entertaining is the "Awww, Mom, I'm Watching THIS!" (with an undeniable sarcastic tone and slap of the hand on the couch. Yeah. SO does not sit well with me.

    As for patience, yep well, patience is something that shows up when I'm too tired to argue anymore. :)

    Oh, and strangely enough, when I'm super busy at work, sometimes having him 'closer' (the older one) rather than further away seems to work, I open up 'daddy's laptop' on the desk next to me, and then he plays some educational Nemo game or something, which I can tune out better than the Mommy!Mommy!Mommy! that would be happening if he was sitting somewhere else in the house.  

  3. # Blogger Sunny

    "Mommy does not negotiate with terrorists, darling." This is something my husband says. Well, except the mommy part. :)

    I want to say something constructive and helpful, but really after reading this I'm just too scared of my son turning three. And we still have the entire twos first.  

  4. # Anonymous Emily

    We've stopped making C nap, she's always fought it and now I just give up, she's 4. However, my 2yr old still naps 1.5-2hrs per day. So, C goes into her room to rest. She reads/colors (color wonder) in her bed resting and then she'll get out of bed and play quietly. She knows I'm not budging on quiet time, so she does it and she actually likes it b/c she has alone time without her sister playing with her toys. Good Luck!  

  5. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    So, Little Elvis just turned 3 and since last week, I've been hearing lots of, "Right now!" commands. He was so late to talk, I wish this new development had held off as well.
    That's sweet that she calls the twins her sweethearts.  

  6. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Heh. Yeah... the naps are over, honey. Hate to break it to you. This may be a good time for you to not work during the day and save it for bedtime or when hubby gets home because it sounds like miss 3 and a half needs some attention. (As they all do. TRUST ME).

    And you are SO MEAN for giving her such a long name to learn! :)

    Wait. Corinne's name is only 1 letter shorter... hmmm..  

  7. # Blogger In Due Time

    3.5 suuuuuuuuuuucks.

    I blogged about it last week. (What Patience)

    A's naptime is about gone too. Maybe once a week she'll sleep in the car for 20 minutes.

    On the days we're not traveling to pick up the rest of the crew, I make her lay down for 1-1.5 hours in my bed to watch TV. I know, horrible parenting skills, but it's the only time I'm able to get a second to breathe.

    I can't wait until preschool time this fall. lol  

  8. # Blogger Thalia

    A friend of mine with a 6 year old and a 4 year old still insists on 'quiet time' after lunch. Each boy in his room, he can do what he likes in there, but he has to stay there, and he has to be quiet, for 1.5 hours. Might work for you?  

  9. # Blogger Jesser

    Well I can definitely relate. This sounds a LOT like Tabby. My tactics with her are pretending I've gone temporarily deaf when she asks for things impolitely or threatens (what is UP with that?) and telling her that she will NOT get what she wants if she asks again. They can be terribly maddening, although of course lovely as well.

    I have no idea on the nap. I get to largely avoid this issue since she's at the sitter's 4 days a week, but I have noticed some differences in her napping since she started preschool (which has totally screwed up her schedule) and it sort of panicks me. I know my grandma (mom of 5!) had a quiet time rule. They had to be in their rooms doing quiet activities from the end of lunch until 2:30 PM (lunch was at noon!). Might something like that work? I am truly clueless on this... Good luck!  

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