Isabella at 3 years, 23 months

22 days from now, Isabella will turn four years old.

It's been a month of wild mood swings. She is sweet and helpful one minute and a screeching, manic harpie the next. I have to attribute the later of the two behaviors in part to the fact that she is officially done with the nap. And this time, it's for real.
For the last few months, she's taken maybe one nap every 10 days. I've always put her in her room, and she's either rested, or read, or colored for an hour or so before calling me wanting to leave her bedroom. Now, she will not stay up there. At all. And yes, she's almost four, and many kids are done with naps at her age (although I know many who are still napping, every day, at four), but the problem is that she is up by 6-6:30am every single day. And by mid-afternoon, she is exhausted and cranky and tired, so I happen to think she still needs to nap.

She's having none of it.
If your preschoolers don't nap, please give me some suggestions as to things to keep her occupied (preferably things she can do solo).
On the positive side of things, she has become really good at coloring in her coloring books. Where she once would just scribble over a page with whatever crayon happened to be in her hands at the time, she now carefully selects colors and then used them in specific spots on the page: making a face brown, hair red, grass green (or sometimes blue), etc. And she does a fairly good job of staying in the lines as well. Considering I was a coloring contest champion several times over in my youth (a skill for which I have yet to find a real-world application), her prowess in this area is not surprising.

One of Isabella's current favorite pastimes is playing restaurant. Sometimes I am a guest, along with a few dolls and of course, Charlie. She'll set an elaborate table, take my order, and bring me my food. She's also cognizant of what food is served when. If I try to order eggs and toast, she'll say, "This is a dinner place, mommy."

The hubs and I took her to her first baseball game, along with our awesome former neighbors and friends. It was a night game that started at 7pm. She's usually in bed by 7:30, so we didn't know how long she'd last. We left around 9:45pm, and that's because we needed to relieve my mom who was in town and watching the twins. She's not a good night driver, and needed to drive back to my aunt's. Isabella was wide awake, in a great mood, and could have lasted the entire game.
She also enjoyed letting the umpires know exactly what she thought of a few blown calls.

Isabella and I have been using my health club's pool quite a bit to practice the skills she learned in her swimming lessons there. She's now able to go completely underwater all on her own, without getting water up her nose, which is something she definitely wasn't able to do before.

She's taught herself how to whistle, and she also now enjoys hopping around on one foot.

Isabella's been keeping busy this summer, a priority for me since there are a limited number of things I can do with three children by myself, given that two of them are crazy toddlers. She's taken two camps at our children's science museum: Amazing Animals and Wheels, Wings, and Moving Things. She's loved both of them, and I'm so happy to see her literally racing off to her camp each day without caring one bit that I was leaving her there. I'm contemplating enrolling her in one more at the museum, and then she has another in the middle of August, and then in September she's off to preschool, four afternoons a week.

On the last day of her most recent camp, I was a bit early for pick-up, so I pulled up in front of the building just in time to see her and her "campmates" walking in a line from the museum across the street to the building where the camps are held. Each child held the hand of a friend, and Isabella was talking animatedly to her buddy. And I recognized a feeling that I had when she began preschool last September - that she is developing a whole world that is entirely hers.
She's able to enter social situations and feel completely comfortable. She's able to listen to an adult she just met, and to make immediate friends with kids who were strangers seconds before.
She is confident and independent, and I couldn't be more proud of her.

Her dinosaur-themed birthday preparations are under way. For the first time, she'll have both her friend party and her family party at our house. In the past, only her friend party was held here, given space constraints. But this year, big family party will be here too.
Isabella is almost four. And one year from September, she's off to Kindergarten.
Current Likes: Radishes, Olivia, and insomnia-fueled tantrums
Current Dislikes: Sleeping, napping, resting, and zzzzzzzzs

10 Responses to “Isabella at 3 years, 23 months”

  1. # Anonymous Notes From The Frugal Trenches

    My biggest tip would be quiet hour, a set time each afternoon where she needs to be in her room playing on her bed. A way to do this is to make 7 different rubbermade containers up, one labelled for each day Monday - Sunday. You get the Monday container on a Monday, Tuesday on a Tuesday etc. That makes those activities & toys fresh & exciting. Generally put in things like stickers, stickerbooks, threading teddy bears, colouring books, puzzles, nothing she would need help with or could be dangerous. You can set an alarm for example 1-2pm and she knows once the alarm goes off quiet hour is over. The trick about being on the bed is, then, if she is really tired she will fall asleep.

    p.s. I know a lot of people who make quiet hour an hour and a half :)

    Your kids are adorable!  

  2. # Blogger Kristi

    I LOVE this idea! Thank you so much, and thanks for stopping by. :)  

  3. # Blogger Allison

    In an act of utter desperation, I did what every expert says I shouldn't. I let my three-year-old watch an hour of tv in the middle of the day. Now my 1 year old can get his nap (no more screaming brother upstairs) and my three-year-old actually stops moving for an entire hour. I don't let him watch any other tv during the day so it is a novelty for him and he looks forward to picking out his rest time videos at the library every week. I don't condone the t.v. babysitter idea, but everyone is much happier since I eased up on my 'no tv' policy and let Bob the Builder into our home. My 1 year old gets a nap, I get a blessed hour off and my three-year-old lays down for 1 hour.  

  4. # Blogger Mom24

    I vote with Allison. An hour of a good quality video or commercial free tv can be very restful. Just sayin'.

    She sounds so adorable, and I hope you're giving yourself huge pats on the back. That independence she's developed is due in no small part to all the nurturing and love you've given her. You're a great mom.  

  5. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Dude. Entertaining a 4 year old means always evolving. Keep the new spots for creativity available and just try not to go insane. Corinne is a big craft girl. Scissors, glue, beads, etc. All stuff that your littlest ones can't be around very easily. Maybe nap time for them can be big girl craft time for Isabelle?  

  6. # Anonymous Ness at Drovers Run

    I like the idea from Frugal Trenches, about the daily activity bucket thing, but in my world that = work for me. If you have the time to do that - then that's probably the best option. Realistically though, I have a boy who is nearly five and who would no sooner stay in his room on his bed until the alarm goes off, than say eat brusselsprouts. He just wouldn't stay there. I'd give him a whole lecture on why he should, and that I need to work, 5 mins will pass and he will be trying to show me what he made, moo at me to show me the noise that the cow sticker makes (etc) and I can't just keep yelling at him. So from after school at 14h30-15h30 (at which point we go and fetch little brother from the day mom) he gets to watch TV. But ONLY on CBeebies (BBC kids). It's also commercial free, and ONLY has shows on it that I approve of. Of course, he's a clever lad, and soon found out how to work the remote to find cartoon network which in my mind is FULL OF RUBBISH so I now take the remote with me during that hour. More often than not, if he is not 'into' whatever shows are on he will happily amuse himself with his toys and is *very* into building entire cities with airports etc.  

  7. # Blogger Amy R

    "She is sweet and helpful one minute and a screeching, manic harpie the next".

    Do we have the same almost 4 year old? This is Megan to a tee. :-)

    One trick that worked with Sarah was to get books on CD for a quiet time (MAKE SURE YOU GET ONES AT LEAST AN HOUR LONG....I "yell" because I made the mistake of getting one that was only 15 minutes long and she's was out of her room in a flash when it was over). At almost 4 and even going on 5, she would almost always fall asleep, even if for a little bit. Now, she still goes up there for that hour most days, but it's more for my sanity and less for her to fall asleep.  

  8. # Blogger Jesser

    Ahh... I suppose it wouldn't be kids without some good and bad. She is an adorable kid, and so so much to be proud of. What is it with the sleeping thing though ... I hear ya. They need it so bad, so why do they fight it??

    I love your comment about their own world at preschool. It is so true and so wonderful for them. They need experiences that are theirs alone and make them feel different and special. It's one of the best things about preschool and something I'd never considered until Tabby started going.

    Wonderful descriptions of almost four ... insane that she'll be ready for real school in a year. It all goes way too fast.  

  9. # Blogger Kristi

    These are fantastic suggestions. Thank you, everyone. I do try to limit tv as much as possible. Isabella usually watches one 30-minute show (usually Dinosaur Train, Olivia, or Little Bear) after dinner, and sometimes one in the morning after breakfast (this is rare, since we're usually out of the house soon after breakfast). I may yank the post-breakfast viewing when it happens and let her watch something during "rest" time.

    Amy-She also loves books on CD and we're always listening to them in the car. Good idea to integrate them into quiet time.

    I still love the craft ideas too. I need to find time to make up some craft boxes full of stuff she only gets to play with during this time.  

  10. # Blogger In Due Time

    I have to admit, we do TV in this household. I don't feel guilty either. lol

    We start 5 day a week preschool in 3 weeks. A's never been in a preschool setting, so this shall be interesting.

    Lots going on at our house, if you haven't stop by and read the last post or two. Sigh. Never a dull moment!  

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