I am constantly amazed at how fast kids grow up, especially during the preschool and younger years, which is what I am most familiar with at this time. Ben is now 3 years and 3 months old and Nick is now 3 years and 1 month. The speed with which they learn new things is absolutely amazing.
I have always been of the mind that puzzles are really great for little kids. The boys have recently really taken off with their ability to put together puzzles without help. It seems like it happened over night, although I know that is not the case. We have a lot of puzzles and they can now put most of them together without any help. Today the dad and I were sitting at the kitchen island, reading and talking. We did not know the boys had climbed up on a chair in the next room to reach the shelf where the floor puzzles are kept. They had gotten a puzzle down, put it on the play table and had put it all together by themselves. Then they yelled at us to come see. We were amazed. The floor puzzle is a 2 x 3 foot jigsaw puzzle with 24 large pieces but they had worked it many times before.
I recently brought home 2 new 25 piece jigsaw puzzles, because I had noticed the ones we have were becoming less of a challenge. They needed a little help in the beginning to work these puzzles. Then, a couple of days later, I brought home 2 new 12 piece jigsaw puzzles. The boys were both able to put the 12 piece puzzles together without any help the first time they worked them. After they did that, they got the other two puzzles out and were able to also put those together without any help. It seems that something just clicked.
After working the floor puzzle today, they got the alphabet floor puzzle and, for the first time ever, they were able to put 90% of it together without help. It was the first time that they actually said the alphabet each time to figure out what the next letter in the train was suppose to be.
I am also impressed by their vocabulary's and how they can easily carry on a conversation these days. Today, Nick walked into the room where the rest of us were sitting and said, "hi guys, what'cha doin'?". Ok, now I know we need to use a little less slang-sounding talk around here but he said it so casually, as if he had been speaking like this forever, even though it was the first time I had ever heard him say something like this. I know that example is not a good one for displaying ones vocabulary knowledge but I think they both have large vocabularys for their age, probably because we read so much to them and also they frequently ask what a word means when we are talking. Today, for example, I was explaining to them what the words sympathy/sympathic and empathy mean.
I have not been around children enough to know if all of this is average for children of this age or if it is above average. Either way, I am impressed. Kids learn so incredibly fast and they also have such a huge desire to learn to do everything.
Both boys are very into trying to dress themselves, which I think is normal. They can do the bottom half and are close to being able to remove a shirt without help, although they still have issues with putting on a coat. They can put their shoes on without help (Velcro fasteners). Sometimes Nick might need a little help with getting them on the right feet. I ended up putting a black dot on the inside of Nick's sneakers so they could tell which shoes are Nick's and which are Ben's.
They also try to be very independent in the kitchen. They get their own plates, bowls and cups and they like to try to spread the peanut butter on crackers and stuff like that. They have been practicing cutting things too but it has to be something easier to cut, such as a banana.
They are very into playing together these days and they are spending more and more time interacting in their play and pretending together, such as one is the patient and the other is the doctor. It is very funny to observe these interactions and I see it a lot after we have finished reading or they have finished watching their 30 minutes of TV per day. They have great imaginations and will frequently act out what we just read or what they watched on TV. It is quite funny to watch one of them pretending to be Peter Rabbit and the other one chasing him saying "stop, thief!", as he pretends to be Mr. McGregor. This is one of their favorites to act out.
Isn't it awesome the way God made kids?!