Your 3-year-old

For some reason, when academic people talk about childhood, they talk a lot about buildings. “She’s laying the foundation for future success,” they write. Or, “This stage is about constructing a skills framework.” You almost expect them to say next, “If your child's a skyscraper, she would now pour concrete for the future parking garage.”

But your kid is no skyscraper. Just look at her. She moves a lot more than a building, for one thing. It's true, she is constantly building up new skills and ideas. She can match rocks that are the same shape, size or color. She can tell you what her body parts do. She can tell you about the parts of her neighborhood.

But she doesn't add those skills in tidy little levels, one by one. Growing up is a messy process. Yesterday’s new addition may get knocked down to make room for a newer feature.

In other words, she's not sticking closely to any “official” blueprint for learning. Though your kid grows in what seems like a random fashion, she’s still always doing just that: growing. And ultimately, she will be “grown up.” In whatever way she gets there. And probably before you know it.

“Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.”
–John Lennon

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