Gabriel at 3 years, 9 months

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It’s hard to remember that Gabriel is not yet 4, considering he has already been planning his 4th birthday party for several months. There will be Ninja Turtle cake, and Ninja Turtle pizza, and lots of running around in the yard pretending to be Ninja Turtles.

With his language development has come the ability to negotiate, and as expected, he can be quite insistent. One of the funniest things he does, is when he’s asked for something and we say no, he’ll ask again. I remind him, “But Mama said no.” His response? “But I say YES!”

He has started to understand travel pretty well. When I went away to Buon Ma Thuot without him a few weeks ago, I told him I was going to go on an airplane and come back after two nights. At first, he was not too excited about that and told me I could only go for “10 minutes. Okay?”

Then, he started scheming his next trip. “I’m going to take one plane, and go to the BEACH! Alright, Mama? Okay?”

He loves both being outside and looking at maps. He pretends to identify different places in our neighborhood and different geographic features, based on the colors used in the maps. He has also started to be able to identify numbers, so he likes to look for numbers on the maps.

Numbers are one of his favorite things right now. He loves doing addition and subtraction with objects and with activity book pages. He can count to 20 by himself and higher with a little help. He usually reads his “number book” with D before bed, and one night when D came home late from parent-teacher conferences, Gabriel had a full-scale meltdown because he wanted to “do the numbers.”

He has also started identifying and writing some letters. Our favorite app for letters is Endless Alphabet. I really like this one because it uses longer words to expand kids’ vocabulary. Each word has a little animation that explains the meaning of the word. Also, when the child moves the letters, they make the sound that the letters make. When the letter is placed in the right spot, the name of the letter is spoken. I like this, because some other apps I’ve seen choose one or the other (letter sound or letter name), and don’t do both.

Getting out of the house in the morning is still a daily struggle. He is starting to understand time, but not enough that he can understand, “If you’re not ready in 5 minutes, I will go to school without you.” I haven’t had to leave him behind yet (the nanny is at home, so he could stay if I really can’t get him out the door), but we’ve been close. Such as the day he decided he needed to spend 30 minutes reading on the toilet before breakfast, even though he didn’t need to actually use the toilet.

It’s a really fun age, although still very fast paced. Incessant talking, running, jumping off the couch, climbing up the shelves, taking things apart, making up elaborate imaginary worlds – those are all part of it. And Ninja Turtles, lots of Ninja Turtles.

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