This age is seriously hilarious.
Caleb's latest gig includes very specifically expressing his emotions. Some examples:
(Head hanging low.)
"I am sad. I am sad because I do not get to have another cookie. That's why I am sad."
"I am sad. I am sad because I do not want to go to bed. That's why I am sad."
(Wrapping his arms around my neck.)
"Mama! I'm just so glad to see you! I am happy!"
(Spinning in circles.)
"Look at me! I'm so silly!"
(In Hobby Lobby.)
"We can get in the cart and look at the Christmas trees and it will be SO MUCH FUN! Yes! Yes it will!"
It cracks us up. His need to over-explain everything is really quite precious. He goes into great detail describing his latest endeavor, be it looking at lights on the Christmas tree or finding his shoes. When we're eating dinner he will sit quietly eating his meal and suddenly declare, "Two more bites! All I need to take is two more bites and then I can get down and go into my room and play with my toys and you can come with me and we will find my trains and it will be so much fun!"
He has also become a master negotiator.
Me: "Caleb, bed time in five minutes."
Caleb: "Hmm. Bed time in five minutes, or ten minutes? How about ten minutes?"
Me: "Two minutes." (ha ha)
He is working hard on being "very kind". Dealing with a little sister who gets into everything (Everything! EVERYTHING!) can be tricky, especially when you are slightly anal like our little guy. We explain that if Naomi takes one of Cub's toys while he is playing with it, all he needs to do is politely ask for it back. Nine times out of ten, Naomi will toddle back to Cub and give him the toy with no problem (she's a mess, but a polite mess). However, Cub has found that running to his sister and yanking the toy out of her hand is much more efficient and when I catch him doing so, he quickly calls out, "I'm being kind, Mama! I'm being kind!"
We're still working on it. :)
He really actually is kind and those moments are incredibly sweet. If Naomi is crying in the car, he sings songs to her to help her calm down (and it works!). If she gets hurt, he hugs her and kisses her head and says, "It's okay Naomi. You're going to be okay." He loves to help out and feel important. His imagination has totally taken off. He collects his toys and gives them names (Mama, Dadda, George) and they eat sandwiches for dinner and then go to sleep. For days he walked around with a box of marbles, shushing us and whispering, "They are sleeping. They are very tired." Yes. Marbles need their rest.
Of course, three wouldn't be three without the occasional fit (accompanied by "I am angry.") and he's learning to control his emotions and use his words. Sometimes his response is that he doesn't want to. "I don't want to be kind." Then we tell him that it's hard to be kind, and that maybe we should pray and ask God for the strength to be kind. Watching him grow and learn is wonderful and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Of course, I know he can't stay three forever. But I'm glad I have almost a year until he turns four.