Happy Birthday Three-year-old

Note: This column was printed in the Barrow Journal on August 16, 2012.

In a few days TODAY the “two-year-old” becomes the “three-year-old!”  In a flash he has grown taller, more able-bodied, and smarter.  When my eldest was this age, I thought this must be the cutest and most frustrating age of young children.  My youngest is not disproving that theory.

It’s been wonderful to see two boys grow.  They are alike in many ways, but they are extremely different too.  A year or so ago I started to read Discover Your Child’s Learning Style, and though the author stated that you probably couldn’t assess a two-year-old’s learning style yet, I had to chuckle when I read some of the characteristics of a kinesthetic or tactile learner.  I could check off every single point for the two-year-old and then some.

He likes running and climbing.  Though my five-year-old loves to run and climb too, the two-year-old has shown an agility unprecedented in my older child.  And he seeks out every opportunity to climb whether it is on the arms of our sofas or the rails at a museum.

I have a photograph I took of my five-year-old at the Museum of Science and Industry, and the two-year-old is in the background climbing some equipment.  I sent it to my family and said that is typical:  an attentive five-year-old and a climbing two-year-old. At two, my five-year-old never climbed like his brother.  He has always been more cautious.

The two-year-old touches everything.  Everything.  Children like my two-year-old are the reason someone invented hand sanitizer.  My step-mother told me my father is like this.  They might be somewhere you aren’t supposed to touch things, but even at seventy-six years old, my father can’t help it.  So maybe my son takes after grandpa.

My youngest son is also much more affectionate than his older brother, and family members know that he’s practically attached to my hip.  Sometimes he follows me around with his palms up and open, lightly feeling the soft fabric of my cotton shirt.

Another characteristic for kinesthetic learners is that they like to play in the dirt, sand, and they don’t mind getting dirty, but heck….what child doesn’t mind those things?  I have noticed, however, how much the two-year-old likes to build with blocks, and how he enjoys the toy toolbox.

At two, my five-year-old loved blocks, but he didn’t want to build anything himself.  Instead, he wanted to watch me build.  This is more of a characteristic of a visual learner.  He’ll only try things after he has watched enough and feels confident he can do it on his own.

The two-year-old just plows into building and creating on his own, but if things don’t stay in place, he’ll scream until he thinks it’s right.  And this brings me to the less desirable side of this age: temper tantrums.  He wants to do everything on his own, but he can’t.  It’s frustrating for him and exasperating for me.

Fortunately I have been through this age once before, and I know it’ll pass. It’ll go quick too.  So I’m keeping my wits about me, and I’m welcoming all the hugs I can get.  Happy Birthday, my sweet, energetic boy!

And I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog in the right hand margin because in the future I’ll be trying to learn about kinesthetic learners as well as auditory and visual learners (which is my older son), and I’ll be sure to share what I find out with you!  ————>