Layla turned 3 this month!!
For her birthday, her Grandma D flew out and spent the weekend preparing to party, partying and then recovering from a great party. First, Grandma D and the Studly Hubby (now: Studly Daddy) made the Most Amazing Cake Ever; a chocolate lady-cake with pink frosting and flowers (below, in the refrigerator before party-time).
In between party preparations, Layla and Grandma D ripped up the town - they went to the space needle, soccer practice (below), a scooter adventure around the neighborhood, got some sushi and watched movies and read books and played with all her toys. There was definitely no time for daycare!
We held the birthday party at the Seattle Children's Museum - we realized at the last minute that there were way too many people coming for our little house and the hippie place in our neighborhood (OmCulture) was already booked - so we thought up our other favorite places around the city and this quickly rose to the top of the list. The Children's Museum was great - they gave us a nice party room (below), and there was lots to do to burn off all the cake after the party. The only problem was, the St. Patrick's Day 5K ended there, at the same time, so we had to fight off 5,000 people and lots of closed roads on the way there - we actually arrived to our own party 15 minutes late!! But no worries, everyone else was 30 minutes late and there was nothing to set up.
The party was a success, the Grandma visit was also a success, and all in all it was a great weekend! Unfortunately, I caught a puking thing just before but had just recovered enough to enjoy a little cake.
Now that Layla is 3, she's like a whole new kid. We began to see a huge transformation a few months ago, when she moved up to the preschool room at daycare. At the same time, the Studly Hubby and I found an excellent child therapist/parenting consultant and learned a great deal from her special understanding of how to get the attention of a very fiesty young child. It not only turned our daily routine around, but also supplied us with an array of useful tools for the future (if you're interested, I put some below).
We are now completely having fun with our little girl - she tells us hilarious stories and funny jokes, sings us songs, engages us in really creative and unexpected imaginary play, and as always loves any kind of fun. She is now old enough to be in swim lessons and soccer, play with other kids and watch a whole movie (especially princess movies and Cars). She is learning the value of controlling her emotions and being polite and communicating her frustrations and feelings. One of the things I like the best is watching her play with her daddy - she adores him and he gets a kick out of her and they genuinely love doing things together, like scooting, cooking, wrestling, playing legos, and dressing up like princesses. Although I'm not sure how much the Studly Daddy really likes to dress up like a princess.
Some of the most useful things we learned (from above): 1) if you say no, be prepared to follow it through all the way to the most painful ending - if you're not prepared for that, don't say no. 2) motivate good behavior with rewards - that you can take away (it took us a while to find the right rewards that can also be taken away, and then re-pattern our day around these, but once we did that and allowed some adjustment time we found we no longer really needed the rewards). 3) (from the Love and Logic book, with our own modifications) give the kid the power to screw up and then let them realize the consequence - so they can make a better decision next time (the real challenge here is to be clear about the expectations and consistent in following through, which is point 1 and 2 above - but this is easier to do when you think about it from this perspective).