May at 3 yrs 3 months
Posted July 13, 2012on:
Lately I’ve noticed that May has begun to consistently phrase her requests in the form of “would it be possible…” (in Vietnamese of course) as oppose to “I need…” or “I want…” She also remembers her “please” most of the time now, adding it on her own after a pause if she sees no reaction from people when she’s requesting something. May continues to explain herself clearly when she wants something done or when she doesn’t want something done, e.g. “would it be possible for you to take this string off the bear, because he’s not a dog on a leash,” etc. etc…. It makes me very happy to see these developments, as both Son and I have been teaching her these things mostly through modeling. I have had to say “yes” in polite form (inappropriately so, as adults don’t say that to kids in Vietnamese) for the last 2.5 years as well as explaining my actions and decisions to her all the time. It helps that it comes naturally to me, part of my personality. My siblings used to complain that all they did was asking me a question, and I would give them a long endless answer, covering A-Z. I just hated it personally when an answer just comes as “yes” or “no,” especially the no’s. I think, though, that May’s ability to explain herself really helps in preventing meltdown and pissing me off. Sometimes one of her strings would get pulled short, and suddenly she would writhe in pain on the ground complaining about unwanted changes to the order of her universe. In times like those, her initiative to explain herself helps me quickly restore order and grant her wishes, as I could see her logic.
After a month of traveling north to south, west to east, May has picked up a few new things. She’s been hitting me and Son, though very sparingly. The first time she did it, I gave her my 0 tolerance policy upfront. Ever since, she’s done it a few more times, often out of frustration, but everytime she’s done it, the punishment would swiftly come (time out in the bathroom). She’s been hitting the sofa, which she’s permitted to do, or hitting some other surfaces to express her annoyance, so I know she can control this behavior. She’s also encouraged to verbally express her annoyance as the alternative to hitting. She’s also biting when she’s excited, if we happen to be close to her mouth (mostly Son’s shoulder when he carries her and runs away from me in our cat-and-mouse game). It has gotten better, as we stop the game if she bites.
The everything-in-the-mouth behavior continues. Whenever I look, I’m always seeing her biting on something – mostly toys, but also strings, hair (once), pillows, clothes… I give her things that she can bite, but I think it’s a sensory thing, so she doesn’t stick to the permitted objects. She does this kind of absentmindedly, not while she’s actively playing.
Within the last 4 days, she has been hitting me with her toys, mostly in a playful gesture, but as I have 0 tolerance policy for hitting of anykind, she gets heavily reprimanded as well. May says it’s her toys that are hitting me, but I tell her that she is directly responsible for whatever her things and creatures do, so she must teach them and discipline them well, otherwise, I will treat their offenses as hers. So far so good, I have not been hit by her toy today. But… her toys are hitting each other. Lol. Then I had to get into the act and reprimand the toys… I figure this is part of her developmental milestone, she’ll have to learn to control her limbs soon when she’s excited about something. Hopefully she’ll get there before September.
lately her favorite game is the “make believe” variety, kind of like an impromptu puppet show. An was the champion at playing this game to both Tin and I as kids, and both of us absolutely loved this game until we were in grade school. I used to play this game exceptionally well with Tin, but I think it’s a kid thing… Nowadays I get very little enjoyment out of it, but I’ll continue to adjust my attitude to match May’s enthusiasm. Every hour I get the plead “mommy please play with me” while she’s shoving my animal character into my hand. This game is very useful, though, because it achieves exactly what the child psych people call the “teachable moments” – while the child is fully engaged, you can teach her whatever you want. And it’s true. When her character hit mine, mine got very upset and told her character that she’s afraid of the same thing happening in the future, therefore she will go home to her mommy to feel safe. May’s character tried so hard to make amends, apologizing with all sincerity and promising not to do it again – and it hadn’t. My next project is to use this game to teach May that when she’s at school or away from us, if a stranger comes and tell her that they will take her to her parents, she is to stick to the premise and stick to someone she knows well, but never leave with the stranger…
I’m signed May up for 2 swimming sessions at our local community pool, each session = 10 lessons, 3x/week, 30 minutes/session. We’ll start in 10 days. when May’s done with swimming lessons, she will be entering preschool for the first time. Lots of changes are just around the corner, and she’s taking them all in stride. Her English has reached an intermediate level, so that’s helpful. People have asked me what language she uses when she’s playing, the answer is both English and Vietnamese, depending on the game. Clifford, for example, is and English-speaking character, so she uses English with him. The brown bunny has a Vietnamese name, and has been part of a make believe game between May and I, so she uses Vietnamese with it.
May’s interacting more with the cat these days, sometimes just absent mindedly petting him when he comes sit next to her while she’s watching TV.
She continues to be very good at keeping her promises.