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2011-08-29 - 8:37 p.m.

...they are just words, Suzi...

I realize it's been a while since I've talked about little Suzi - who is now 3 1/2... and less little than she used to be.

As of May we were finally offered a full-time daycare spot for her. Even better, it was at a day care that is within walking distance of our home. There were some trade-offs. We all LOVED Suzi's other daycare, especially the wonderful matronly Serbian woman who ran Suzi's class. And Violet adored Suzi. So saying goodbye to them was a real challenge. And, moving Suzi to an inner-city daycare of somewhat rougher 3-5 year olds took some adjustments.

But we were very glad to be rid of the administrative hassles associated with Mountain University. They were totally unpleasant and unhelpful - pretty much threatening to charge us over a gazillion dollars to exit their program. Approximately a gazillion.

Anyway, so we were happy to take on a new daycare - one where K can take Suzi on the bicycle, and Suzi is not stuck traveling in a car for 75 minutes or on public transportation for 3 hours per day!

So we like the new place. Suzi seems to like the new place. The manager of this daycare is an awe-inspiring no-nonsense Hispanic woman who is currently running about 3-4 different programs on a tiny budget. She is amazing - and confirms my belief that smooth operating departments and agencies operate well because of good management! (and vice versa).

But I didn't realize what a rough-n-tumble world 3-5 year olds live in. On Suzi's first day, she stood up to a 5-year-old who tried to steal her pancake by hitting her in the arm. She screamed, "STOP IT I DON'T LIKE THAT." and was pretty much left alone after that. We are now trying to coax Suzi into believing that there are middle-ground offenses - not all of which require the stand-your-ground, shout-from-rooftop response. Touching your beads, for example, might just as well be handled with a quiet, "I'm playing with this now," rather than the toddler equivalent of a declaration of war...

She's learning.

Boy, is she learning. She's learning many great things - exploring all kinds of art, painting, drama, and singing. But also a few things I didn't anticipate QUITE this early on.

This evening Suzi came home, looked at me and said, "PENIS PENIS!" and giggled maniacally.

I looked back at her and said, "Suzi, do you know what a penis is?"

She paused, and said, "yeah..."

I asked, "what is it"

She squealed with barely contained laughter, "PEANUT BUTTER!!!!"

We then proceeded to go through her new vocabulary of potty words, including pee pee, poo poo, stinky, etc. And then the penis thing came up again.

Just to double check, I asked her again what the word meant...and I got:

"PEANUT BUTTER!!!" again.

Okay. So I did explain to her: "Suzi, no, a penis is something that little boys have on their bodies. They use them to go pee pee. Where do you hear these words?"

She said, "Gabe says them all the time. And the teacher tells him not to."

"Oh. Well, they really are just words, Suzi. A penis is just something that boys have."

We talked about these things a little bit longer, before we settled in for a new chapter in Winnie the Pooh, and halfway through that chapter, Suzi popped her thumb into her mouth, rolled over onto her side, and fell fast asleep.

I honestly didn't anticipate that she would be learning potty talk THIS early. But I'm also happy to see her just matter-of-factly listen to my explanations with an "oh, okay" kind of attitude. And I'm growing to love lying in bed with her for an hour in the evenings, just staring at the ceiling, reading books together, and talking. Three and a half is a good age.

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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29
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