This is a significant milestone for a couple of reasons. First for some background. Maria Montessori described the first six years of life (0-6) as the period of the Absorbent Mind. This is a time when children absorb information like a sponge. She further subdivided this time into an unconscious phase (0-3 years) and a conscious phase (3-6). So the third birthday is a significant transition when the brain begins to order and classify experiences and the child begins to use their experiences in more purposeful ways.
This is the reason that Montessori preschool begins at the age of 3, although many schools will admit some children as early as 2.5yo. DJ officially began the primary sequence last May but I can already see in the past couple of weeks a shift in his personality. It's a fascinating experience to watch as a parent.
He explored more with paint and color mixing at our weekly art co-op. This short 6-week class has done a lot to increase his confidence and curiosity with art supplies. It's definitely something we'll be doing again.
He went roller skating for the first time. This was a really interesting experience. He was so excited to do this. But at first he didn't have the walker. It was hard! He fell a lot, clung to me for dear life and quickly left the slick wood floor. When the carpet didn't prove much easier, he resorted to crawling. I told him he couldn't crawl there because the floor was dirty, so he said he wanted the skates off. It had only been about 15 minutes.
So I held him in my arms and pointed out to the other, older children woosh-ing around the rink. I told him this was not their first time skating; that skating is hard; and that skating is something that has to be learned and practiced. He said, "Ohhh!"
Then I pointed to some other, younger children clinging to the wall, or their moms, and falling all over the place and told him those children were just beginning to learn and in time would be skating easily. He said, "Ohhh!"
Shortly after that I got him the walker, which helped a lot but he still had to practice on the carpet for a long time before he felt ready to go out onto the wood. In the end, he skated for over an hour. It was a good exercise in learning to skate, but more importantly he learned that not everything worth doing comes easily and sometimes you have to struggle to learn.
This lesson was later reinforced when he received this Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards for his birthday. He watched me work on a pattern and was intrigued. He placed a couple of tiles but then, while placing the third, they all shifted out of place. He was immediately frustrated and began to refuse to do more. I reminded him that some things take practice to do well. He tried a few times over a couple of days. But there is no walker to help him along for this task so it's going to take awhile to build his confidence.
Speaking of confidence, DJ has been working hard to master getting dressed lately. Putting clothes on at all has been a major struggle for us as he would prefer to remain naked over wearing clothes, so he generally doesn't try to put clothes on himself. But this week he was in a mood and he actually put his jeans on entirely without my help. Yay!
In addition to the jeans, he also mastered buttoning his PJs too. These have big red buttons so they're a good starter set for this skill. There's a video of this too where you can hear his pride in himself. And I just love to hear that. (btw, sorry for the dark video and photo, but he insisted on doing this with the lights off!)