published Monday, May 20th, 2013

Grand Thoughts: Dealing with our 3-year-old 'big girl'

Independence is a great thing. It's something we parents pray our children will have mastered by the time they become adults.

But at 3 years old?

Evie, my granddaughter who turned 3 in April, has an independent streak a mile long. She's going through a stage, I guess, where she's not only exhibiting her independence, she's enjoying it.

Don't try to help her into her car seat, for example. She climbs in, buckles herself up and checks to see if the door is locked.

She folds clothes (quite well, I might add), sweeps, dusts, pulls weeds from flower beds, pours her own drinks, makes the bed (sort of), feeds the pets, waters the plants and much more.

The thing is, Little Miss Independence gets seriously ticked off when you won't let her do something, such as grilling, pruning shrubs, cooking or using a knife to cut up her food. Her 3-year-old brain tells her that, if we can do it, so can she.

She told me last week that she was old enough now to have her own phone.

What she won't do these days is let me kiss her at will. When I ask for a kiss or a hug, she'll say, "Maybe, later. I'm very busy."

And, I'm learning to not call her "baby" (for now). She says she's 3 and a "big girl."

Nevermind that I still call my adult children "baby" because, to me, they will always be my babies, as will my grandchildren. But I'll just have to honor Evie's request and refer to her as a "big girl."

It's bittersweet observing this milestone. I love that she's articulate, energetic, sweet, spunk and all around a very happy little girl. I'm proud of that.

Still, when she's tired, the big-girl attitude takes a back seat to her old baby ways. She crawls in my lap, snuggles her face to my neck and lets me kiss away.

Thank goodness.

Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karen nazorhill.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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