When I think about all that Lilly is/does/has, I get so jealous. She has such a great little life! But then I realize I get to experience it all with her, so it's not so bad for me either!
For the record, she's never had a "bad" age. Every phase that she's gone through, she's been such a joy & little blessing; but this age - 3 - is especially wonderful. A few nights ago I was talking with a couple other moms who have kids Lilly's age, and I mentioned how 3 was so much easier than 2, and they completely adamently disagreed with me - so every child is different. But for example, 6 months ago, I had bought a book in New Zealand called "Taming Your Toddler" - I was trying to get through the toddler tantrums and trying to really understand my child. But at this new age, I feel like I truly understand her. She is so expressive, and even when something doesn't go her way, she doesn't totally melt down.
A few days ago, I gave her a veggie burger for dinner (which is apparently against the code of toddler eating) so of course Lilly pushed the plate off the table and the food landed on the floor. For 10 minutes, I tried to convince my little girl to pick it back up, and she refused. Didn't cry, didn't argue, just really didn't want to comply. I told her that she would end up in her room for a time out if she didn't pick it up, and she still refused. I put her in her room for 2 minutes, and the entire time, she didn't have a tantrum or cry - she just really was standing by her "I don't want to pick up the food" and was totally calm about it. But after the 2 minutes I asked for a hug and for her to pick up the food, and she did - no problem. I guess my point is, she's a little negotiator, and she definitely knows what she wants and doesn't want, but she makes sense; I can reason with her.
Lilly is talking so much now, and we are just blown away by all the new words. Especially when she sings - she has so many words and such a pretty voice. Lilly, Jon & I sing the song from Barney every night "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family..." and Lilly's voice is loud and clear and it is so sweet to hear her sing along. And as always, she has so many songs memorized - from her Children's song CD's, from movies, from Sesame Street. I love hearing her voice. Except... two weeks ago we were at a party at Jon's boss's house and Lilly pointed across the room to a guy and said loudly, clearly: "beer!" Yes, Lilly, that's a beer that he's holding... shhhh.... Don't show off all your words!
Mixed with her newfound language skills are her newfound abilities to "do" so many things - which has got to feel so wonderful to her. Lilly is in big girl underpants during the day now, and is doing very well - she has accidents here or there but for the most part she is wanting to go on the potty, except when she forgets when playing. And she can count to 10, and sing the ABC's (ok, some of the letters are jumbled, but who really needs "LMNO" anyways?!). She can easily climb all kinds of playground equipment, and is making a lot of friends at school. But the coolest thing, evey better than the actual abilities that she has, is the pride that she has in the things she can do. She knows that they are hard things that she has learned and that she's a very cool little kid for mastering these skills.
She still loves all the same shows: High School Musical, Elmo/Sesame Street, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia, Dirty Dancing, Grease, Hairspray, Hannah Montana, Annie, Enchanted, etc. And she still loves Mickey Mouse and Princesses, although she hasn't gotten into tv shows/movies with those particular characters yet - she'll watch a little of Micky Mouse Clubhouse or Little Mermaid/Cinderella but it doesn't totally hold her interest the way the other shows do. But if she sees Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck or Cinderella or Snow White, she gets SO excited. She has a Cinderella Castle dollhouse with all the princesses and loves playing with it. (A few days ago I moved it from the dining room to the living room so she could play with it there, and when she came in from school and saw it in it's new location she said "YAY!!!!" - like it was a whole new toy!). Oh and she loves going on swings and slides still, and says "Wheeeee!" enthusiastically on them.
Lilly has been sleeping in a "big girl" bed for the past couple months since we've been back, and she loves it. I found a great deal on it at JC Penny; it looks just like the Pottery Barn Kids beds but about a third of the price. So now her room looks very grown up, with princess bedding (thanks to Lyndsey & Julianne's hand-me-downs), a High School Musical Troy/Gabriella pillow, and her big girl bed. Our nighttime routine is relatively easy these days; she takes a bath, watches a little tv, and then goes up to bed. Sometimes she's unhappy for a couple minutes when we first put her in bed, or thinks of excuses to get out (like saying Potty 48 times), but after a little bit we tell her to put her head on "Troy" and go to bed. She gives the pillow version of him a kiss and puts her head down. It sometimes takes a little while for her to fall asleep, as we sing her to sleep and now that she loves singing, she sings along with us so it doesn't really wind her down! But it is such a precious time for Jon and I to put her to sleep, as we talking about her day, sing to/with her, and sometimes she gives us a million kisses before drifting off.
Ballet! She started dance classes a month or so, and she loves getting dressed up like a ballerina. For the first few classes she didn't want to go in by herself, and cried (or looked really sad) for a lot of the class; but the past couple classes she's gone in and holds the teacher's hand for most of the class, but does all the moves with the other kids. I think it's sad for her to know I'm right outside the door; but she does love dancing and especially loves the costume - she knows that it's really special to dress in a leotard and ballet shoes.
Here's Lilly at our neighborhood block party watching & dancing to the band - she is such a groupie!
Lilly going to school on a rainy day!
Horses! Lilly started hippotherapy a month ago, which is riding horses while doing therapy. Another very cool thing for her (I'm jealous!) and aside from the therapy benefits, she is so proud of herself up on the horse. She's a little nervous as she gets on, but then settles in perfectly.