Delphine is Three and a Half (and a little bit)

Delphine might be the only three and a half-year-old in North America who has never seen an entire movie. This week her Auntie Morgan tried to get her to watch Finding Nemo but it was too scary for her. I don't know if they made it all the way to the end, but they definitely skipped some bits in the middle.

Delphine is still on the delicate side of the sensitivity scale; she is reserved with new people, and she doesn't like scary or violent characters in movies or TV shows. Books don't bother her so much; we read her Little Red Riding Hood and Chicken Little, and she doesn't flinch at the devouring of grandmothers or the biting off of heads.

Once she gets past her initial reservations she rises to the occasion. At Hanukkah dinner she made conversation with Baba's friends, and just last night she very bravely petted a large, friendly dog. She can even put her face in the pool for three seconds! As long as she gets lots of cuddles and patience she faces her fears admirably.

She is very solicitous of others and loves to be the mummy. When I am scared of something, (or pretend to be) she comes up and pats me and says "It's okay Mummy, I will protect you." She has lots of baby dollies, and she takes great care of them, feeding them and putting them down for naps. We all have to be quiet when they are taking a nap.

She gets into these weird proto-Goth funks sometimes, where she goes all nihilistic: "I don't want any toys, I don't want you, I don't want anyfing! Go away Mummy! I want to be sad!" And then she has a big cry. It's almost like she's picking at a scab, emotionally, like she wants to experience the pain of sorrow in an environment she has created and controls. I'm never sure what to do but mostly I let her go through it and just stay around to administer cuddles when she's ready for them.

Delphine loves puzzles and accordingly got a whole pile of them for Christmas. She's fairly good at them; she needs a little help the first time through, but she can usually do them on her own thereafter. I am looking forward to when she's older and we can all do jigsaw puzzles together properly. For now they all have to be done high up on the dining table, out of the reach of Cordelia the Marauder.

Delphine likes sticking stickers, which is like drawing only not creative. And she spent literally hours playing with a pair of paper dress-up dolls my cousin sent her — you know, the ones with the clothes with little tabs on them? The old toys are still the best.

Delphine's getting better at reasoning, which means we have to have airtight reasons when we tell her to do (or not do) things. This morning she asked for a lollipop; I said she shouldn't have candy in the morning, but somehow she knew I had already had a cookie. She reasoned that a cookie is a treat, and a lollipop is a treat, so she should be allowed to have a lollipop. I couldn't really argue with that without getting into subtle, and frankly dubious, arguments like the presence of flour and egg in cookies rendering them slightly closer to actual food. So she got her lollipop.

The lollipops, incidentally, were also a gift from my cousin. They are little jellies in the shapes of Santa and snowmen and stuff, on a lollipop stick. Delphine is not a chewer of candies, so she sucks these little jellies and makes them last literally for hours, which of course drives Cordelia mad because she's not allowed to have jelly lollipops at all.

Three and a half is great. It's a little psychotic sometimes, but (just like all the other ages) often because she's tired or hungry. And mostly it's great; she can talk, she can think, she can go up and down stairs by herself, she has friends and ideas and opinions. She's a real person, and I quite like her.