Sweet Parker Campbell Klein is three!
And while I loved the terrific twos, I tell Max every day that I think three is my new favorite age!
I mean, little man can carry on conversations! We can ask him questions and get real answers - as parents, seeing the transition from baby sign language to full sentences is nothing short of a miracle! (Though we think the baby sign language did wonders in giving him a foundation to express himself before he was developmentally able). At his three-year check-up, Parker was enthusiastically talking about things he liked to do at home and his pediatrician actually commented "That's a very complex sentence you just said, and I understood every word." (He was quite chatty for the duration of his office visit, and also explained to her that he was using his "abs" when he was trying to sit up after laying on his back on the examination table, plus rattled off colors and numbers left and right). She called him quite the precocious one, which is actually a very fitting label for him. I often think of Parker as a teeny, tiny adult - especially when he's requesting classical music and an Altoid in the car.
Parker definitely has his own preferences and interests. We say he's already developed an expensive palate - he loves steak (filets) and sushi (tuna, yellowtail and unagi are all faves). Recently, he's been introduced to board games and can't get enough (High Ho Cherry-o and Candy Land are his top picks) but sports (anything with a ball) and being outside are still his very favorite things. We are still television-free, but Parker has encountered Thomas the Tank in books and loves Thomas, as well as any other train or construction vehicle. He was gifted a wooden Brio train set this past Christmas from Santa, and loves moving the little train alongs the tracks and making the train sounds.
Speaking of sounds, Parker can (and often will) imitate his favorite sounds, be it elevator, fire alarm, musical instrument... you name it! He loves to sing (London Bridges, Old McDonald, ABCs) and loves music. Most often, he requests classical - Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Spring especially) is his all-time favorite. He also has an uncanny love for Meghan Trainor. It started over a year ago when Parker would sign "more" and say "Mo! Mo!" when her songs would come on the radio. So, I purchased the CD which just about lives in Pepper's CD player (Dear Future Husband and All Bout That Base are the most-requested tracks, though Parker calls the later song "No Treble, All That Base" and it's hilarious).
Loves: Checking the weather on Mama's iPhone (I have zero kid apps so this is one of the more exciting things to do on the phone), playing basketball, wearing cozy pants, going to hockey games, water coloring, playing "tickle baby", napping in pajamas (he insists on the pajamas), watering the outside plants/garden, blowing bubbles, playing t-ball (he starts on an official team later this month!), reading and being read to, having dance parties, group hugs, riding his tricycle and cozy coup, playing golf, digging with a shovel, attending the symphony, smelling flowers, swinging in the backyard swing, using chopsticks, identifying letters and words on signs, and playing on his Apple II GS. The computer play is a "reward" so it's only done occasionally. Also, if you are wondering if the Apple II GS is the same computer with the black and green screen from the early 80's, you are correct. Parker's engineer of a father had the idea to start Parker on simpler technology and I think it was genius - the games literally teach you how to use the computer, how to type and use the mouse, so Parker can now easily type his name as well as Mama and Dada's all on his own. Since we are TV-free, Parker also likes to request watching video clips for his rewards. Favorites are clips of train crossings or Elmo's World on You Tube, or footage of orchestras playing classical music. (He actually hasn't seen a real movie yet, though we did stream the 30 minute A Charlie Brown's Christmas at holiday time this past year).
As far as when the rewards come into play, they are mostly potty-training related, although little man potty-trained like a boss. We gave it a try the first week of January with the goal of becoming fully trained by his third birthday, but he had it down by the next week.
Parker has a super active imagination and wants to recreate everything he sees. He will put on his backpack and get out his push-bubble-popper toy to be just like the yard men blowing the leaves. He'll sit on a stool and blow a pretend whistle like a lifeguard. He'll hold an invisible microphone up to his mouth and mimic the announcer from the Easter Egg Hunt. And watch out for him upon returning from a hockey game - he'll insist on finding his hockey stick and any sort of ball to move around and hit it just like the players.
ABCs and 123s: As a former elementary school teacher, Parker has really blown me away in this department (I attribute it to his Stanford Ph.D. of a Dad). After talking about upper case letters, Parker pretty much picked up all lowercase letters all on his own months ago. Like most of his learning up to now, he's self directing and he's just really, really interested in letters and words. Little man will rattle off the letters on any sign or written word he sees, and has picked up quite the bank of sight words. I knew he had an extensive list going, but to make sure he could read them all out of context, I wrote them all on popsicle sticks. Boom - he nailed each one: The, Exit, No, Stop, Love, She, Mama, Dada, Parker, He, Off (quite the eclectic list, no? Just like our son!). Now in addition to adding new sight words, we're working on honing letter/sound combinations. Parker has an amazing memory as well and enjoys "reading" many of his books (again, surprising me with his ability to recite the correct words on all the correct pages). As for writing letters, we have practiced the letter "P" and little man is now writing it to stand for his first name. I 100% got tears in my eyes last week at lunch when Parker asked for our copy of the bill, took a pen and wrote "P" on the credit card signature line - who was this big boy??
Parker is also fond of numbers and can identify most numbers below 100, as well as count on his own through the 30's. He's recently become interested in addition and subtraction (I am attributing this completely to his mathematical genius/engineer of a dad). Speaking of Daddy, Parker just adores Max and often counts down the "Daddy Work Days" until the weekend when we have "Daddy Days". Little Man also loves going up above the garage to Daddy's engineer playground of an office where Max has even introduced Parker to soldering (where you melt metal to adhere chips to circuit boards)... always with safety glasses!
Favorite Parker Quotes:
Opening the Cookies and Cream container of Blue Bell:
Look at all that flavor!
After Daddy reads the phrase "without a sound" in a book:
Sitting across from Mama:
You looking at your pretty Mama.
When calling for one parent or another:
When asked to come do something:
I'm focusing on this game.
All day on March 18th:
I'm the birthday boy!
Whenever he doesn't know the answer to a question:
It's hard to know.
Glancing at a USA Today Article:
Look at that! That spells HE!
After sitting at Mama's desk and pressing play on iTunes:
You listening to some classical music while you sitting.
Looking at Mama drinking a liquid.
Listening to classical music on Pandora:
Oh! Tchaikovsky! We heard that at The Nutcracker!
To our snowman this past winter:
Stay cold, Mr. Snowman!
To Daddy in the office:
You need your safety glasses.
Why do you need your safety glasses?
You need to cut something.
Happy three years, PCK!! We just can't get enough of you!