More Two Than Three

My daughter Katie is two years old.  She is still a few months away from her third birthday.   Katie is no longer wearing diapers, she is pacifier-free, and she is sleeping in a bed.  She can get dressed by herself, go potty by herself, read a book by herself, and don’t even think about helping her.  Really, she’s more three than two.

She surprised me recently when I started to explain the directions to a game.  “So, first…” I began.  Katie interrupted, “So but ins on you unna wear.”  She giggled.  Sew buttons on your underwear?  What?  What kind of two year old….?  That’s right, I remembered, she’s more three than two.  (She also spends a lot of time with my mom, who taught her that delightful saying.)

Just the other day I peeked into the bathroom to check on her.  She was sitting patiently on the potty.  “Are you okay in here, Katiebug?” I asked as I poked my head through the doorway.  “Yes, Mommy,” she replied.  “Doh away and weeve me ayone in here.” Go away and leave me alone in here?  What?  She’s only two!  Then I remembered, she’s more three than two.

The other evening, this not-quite-three-year-old girl would not change into her pajamas.  She refused to do it herself,  and she refused my offers of help.  You see, Katie didn’t like the pajamas I had chosen.  She wanted to wear her ‘winter pajamas’, so she boldly headed up the stairs to get the winter pajamas out of her dresser drawer.  I followed her up to her bedroom and took the fleece pajamas out of her hand.  I stood, toe to tiny toe with Katie.  Then her little lip started to shake, her sad eyes looked up at me, and the tears fell.  “Mommmmy,” Katie wailed.  My heart softened, and I scooped her up.  She clung to me, sobbing, and wrapped her two-year-old arms around my neck.  Her head fell onto my shoulder as she wept, and I could feel the curls of her still-so-baby-fine hair tickling my cheek.  I stood holding her, swaying back and forth like I did when she was an infant.  I kissed her wet cheeks. In that moment, she was more two than three…more baby than toddler…more little than grown.

Sometimes, Katie is trying to figure out her place in this world.  Sometimes, Katie tests the boundaries in order to find them. Sometimes, Katie is sorry afterwards.  Sometimes, Katie needs a hug from Mommy.

Sometimes, Katie is more two than three.

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7 thoughts on “More Two Than Three

  1. What a lovely story. I like that the title had me wondering as I read. The title said one thing, but you kept showing how she was more three than two, I knew something was coming. Nicely done.

  2. It is amazing how quickly children grow up behaving well beyond their years and in the next instant they are that little child once again. I think Katie got just what she needed and wanted.

  3. You captured the age so perfectly in this slice. And I love the last paragraph and the wisdom: she tests the boundaries in order to find them.” I’d like to put that on a bumper sticker to remind myself of the wisdom in those words.

  4. You so wonderfully captured the multiple dimensions of your little girl/toddler/young lady. She is trying hard to be the big, strong, brave grown up she wants to be; yet, she still needs to be held and loved. I guess all kids revert back to their babyhood at moments as they are pushing their own boundaries.

  5. It’s a puzzle for sure, how to help, when to help. Katie sounds as if she’s on her way, but then there are times she’s returns to that little baby who wants a cuddle. I see it in both grandchildren, 5 & 3. They want to do things by themselves so much. This is beautifully written with your descriptions, Dana, loving both the two year old and the three year old too.

  6. I always love reading your writing, Dana. First, you convey emotions so well through repetition and elaboration. But it’s also that I can relate to what you write about. Maybe it’s because our girls are so close in age (or strong-willed). Whatever it is, I always love reading what you wrote.

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