Sunday, October 23, 2016

Terrible Threes

Terrible twos, they tell you. But for our family, three is a much harder year.

Ruby is still the least drama-filled of my toddlers, but she is three and she reminds me of that often.
The week we were at the beach, she started using "NO!" as her primary word. All. Of. The. Time. Do you want a snack? NO! Can I read you a book? NO! Might I look your way? NO! Kind of ridiculous. Thank goodness it is not something that consumes her vocabulary every day. (But the days that it does, I just might pull out some of my hair.)

Ruby's always been 'wreck it Ruby''s likely her rougher nature in playing has to do with often playing with older kids (her siblings and neighborhood friends are all older). She tends to be the kid that will walk through the streets built for matchbox cars or collapse the block stack built by others. It's all a game to her. And we don't have WWF matches in our house, but tickle battles break out with Daddy on occasion, and that always means on-the-floor-dogpile-type interactions with Daddy and the big kids. That may be why when she is with boys at gymnastics that start to wrestle around, she joins in and lays on them. And her love for being social means she will violate your personal space when she says 'hi', and it may turn into a take-down hug or a 'shove' as she feels she needs to make contact. (We work constantly on 'shake hands to say hi' to give her that contact in another way.)
Most of it I can take in stride...some places have me more on edge than others, but I don't lose too much sleep over serving size interactions with kids at the park or in most of our days. School is hard though. We had an incident one of the first few days where Ruby picked up a little girl's hand and bit her fingers. No prompting...just did it. Then she bit another child's back last week while they were out on the playground. We talk about 'mouth closed' very often at home (in fact, whenver I get Ruby dressed and she has to lean on my shoulders for balance, I always remind "mouth closed" a few times to make sure we don't have an unintentional bite), because I haven't seen her do this with an obvious desire to hurt. I'm not sure if that makes it easier or harder to deal with.

It's always hard when your kid is showing a behavior that makes you uncomfortable. That doesn't go away when they're older: Maddux and Eli still do things that I wish they wouldn't. But the younger stuff is where my focus is now, and it's probably because I feel the magnifying glass is so large on Ruby in general. There are so many times when we encounter something with Ruby that causes all of us to wonder how much of it is toddler stuff and how much is Down syndrome. At the end of the day, she's smart, but developmentally she's delayed to the point of being only just about 2years old. That means things still go in her mouth more often than with her friends and she's still figuring out social behaviors that her typical peers have likely worked through already.
And my girl is a copy-cat to the highest degree. Ruby learns so much from watching others, which can be a great thing. Unless it's a behavior you don't want her to choose. Like when kids start pushing each other a little. (She thinks it is a game and laughs as she starts to shove). Or when someone decides to spit. Or any other number of things that toddlers do. That doesn't mean she only strays outside of the lines when someone else does first, but it does add to the complexity of the situation when we work so hard on correcting a behavior only to have it come crashing right back in when Ruby sees someone else do it once.

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