My youngest daughter, Eleanor, 3, has a big personality squished down to fit her toddler size.
Since she was a baby, Eleanor wanted to keep up with her big siblings, Dawson and Violet. Eleanor learned to crawl at six months. Every night at bedtime she would escape, crawling at her top speed down the hall to Dawson and Violet’s room. I thought her love for her siblings was adorable so I was always a little slow to get her.
She would slide the pocket door open and crawl right onto Violet’s low toddler bed and try to play with her. She always thought bedtime for the older two was a party she was missing. She would climb all over Violet and jump up and down in excitement at having found her sister. Poor Eleanor was always sad when she had to go out, but she would never let them get to sleep if I didn’t take her out.
Last winter, a man at our church asked Eleanor how old she was; she was 2 at the time.
“I’m 10,” she said with an incredible amount of confidence.
“Ten,” he asked surprised.
“Yeah, I’m 10,” she said.
He looked bewildered, and she looked quite pleased with herself. For a while, she told everyone she was 10.
Late spring and early summer is birthday season at my house. Just after birthday season, everyone was still adjusting to their new age. The kids had a talk about it at snack time that day. It went like this:
“Mom, I can’t believe I’m 9,” Dawson shouted.
“And I can’t believe I’m 5,” Violet shouted.
“And I can’t believe I’m 10,” Eleanor shouted.
It became the family joke that Eleanor is 10. I admire her spirit, and in spirit, she probably is about 10. But she does like to keep everyone on their toes. So when Dawson recently asked Eleanor her age, it went a little differently this time.
“Eleanor, how old are you,” Dawson asked.
“I don’t know,” Eleanor said.
“You’re 3,” I told her.
“Oh,” Dawson said. “I thought you were 10.”
Eleanor replied in her sweet voice, “Um, no thanks.”
I don’t think it makes sense that my third child would be the busiest. I already had two to keep me busy and then along came this busy baby who climbed everything, got into everything and needed constant monitoring. She has an adventurous spirit, and I’ve learned to let her climb, within reason of course. I had to learn to step back, let her take risks, learn her limits and grow her skills. She wasn’t going to let me do otherwise anyway.
She is happiest climbing, she is driven to climb, and she’s pretty good at it, too.
A couple of weeks ago we went to the park. I watched Eleanor climbing on the equipment to make sure she didn’t take too big of a risk. She was playing with a boy who was a few years older. She usually knows her limits pretty well. But when I saw her try to climb out from the very top of the equipment onto a twisty pole, that was similar to a fireman pole, I ran to her.
I stood at the bottom ready to grab her, or catch her, if she fell.
I said “be careful” because, of course, that will keep her safe. Who knows what would happen to my children if I wasn’t there all the time to say “be careful.”
“I got this,” she said. “That boy did this. So, so can I.”
And she was right. She could do it. I love her attitude and confidence. I hope as she and her siblings grow I’ll be able to step back and let them take risks and learn about themselves. I’ll still be there, arms outstretched ready to catch them if they fall. And I’ll probably keep saying “be careful” because I just can’t stop.
It was taking a while for Phoebe, 6, to clean her room. So her mother, Jocelyn Horton, of Poulsbo, went to check on her progress. Her room looked clean, but then Jocelyn found a box full of miscellaneous toys.
“What’s this?” Jocelyn asked.
“Oh, that’s lost and found,” Phoebe explained.
Cristina Bassitt, of Bremerton, noticed that her son, Philip, 3, had a contact rash on his back. So she grabbed the nearest lotion and smeared it all over him. It must have had a bit of a burn, because he suddenly started howling and saying “It’s too spicy!”
Candace Mangold of Port Townsend woke up one morning to find her 3-year-old son, Holland, two inches from her face. His bright eyes twinkled as he whispered, “You finkin what I’m finkin?”
“Unlikely,” she said. “What are you thinking?”
“Bout ’pider man,” he said with a grin from ear to ear.
“Of course…,” she said.
“Mom, you’re my best friend in the whole world,” he said.
I would love to hear your funny kid stories, so please send them my way. Send your stories and cute kid photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
— Quinn Ward is a former journalist living in Poulsbo. She has been recording the amazing and outrageous things her kids say since they have been able to talk.