Dear Three Years Old,

Let's face it, we're all adults here.  Well... you're not, but... you know what I mean.  I think we can admit with little enmity that you and I were not friends.  You were full of tantrums and screaming fits and arguing with her shoes and time outs and kicking me in the back in bed at night and I was not very good at dealing with you.  So I must say that I'm not sorry to see you go. 

Never again will I exasperatedly announce to the woman with the infant in the grocery store cart, "Don't believe them when they tell you about the Terrible Twos... it's Three that'll getcha.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid."

Never again will I painstakingly set the clock for three minutes, one for each year of age, and tell her "You need to stay in your time-out for three minutes, but if you get up, we'll have to set the clock back to three minutes."  And then to the background music of screams and "NO CLOCK! NO CLOCK!" put the next hour and a half of my life on hold while I continually reset that damn clock back to three minutes approximately eleventy-bajillion times.  From now on I'll be setting it to four minutes. 

No, I'm probably not going to wax saptastic about the joy that was Three Years Old any time soon.  It was a rough year and I was working too much and stressed too much through most of it.  I did not cope very well with your presence.   

But Three Years Old was also when she started being a person.  She's always had a personality of her very own, but this was the year when it developed into something unique and wonderful.  When her sense of humor started to define itself.   When she started having hilarious conversations with her dolls:

Doll #1: "What's wrong with you?"

Doll #2: "I got a baby in my tummy."

Doll #1:  "Well, you better go find a doctor and get it out.  That could be trouble."

Three was when she began her hilarious fashion choices.  Because who says flip-flops, a pair of shorts and a bathing suit with the skirt sticking out over the waistband isn't January-appropriate attire?  She had a scarf on, people.

Three was when she invented exciting games to play with her sister:

"OK - put your hands on mine."

"Then what?"

"Then we count and yell 'PIZZA!'  OK?  Ready?  Go.  One, two, three PEEEEZZZZAAAAA!"

*deadpans*  "Wow, that was fun."

Three was when she caught the craft bug and spent hours at home each day cutting a single large piece of paper into several hundred smaller pieces of paper, declaring it "my project." (It was also when I learned that I needed a better vacuum.)  It was when she finally started getting interested in drawing pictures and reading and writing.  Even if I didn't always come off looking like a supermodel.

Three was when she realized she did not have nearly enough toys and started using the cats as her dolls, making them answer her questions by nodding their heads and pointing with their paws and sometimes wearing them as accessories. Coincidentally, it's also when the cats, in helpless acquiescence, learned to accept their fate and adopted the self-defense mechanism of lying there like slugs.

Three was maddening, troublesome, hateful, frustrating, and never-ending.  But Three was also full of crinkly noses, giggles, kisses on the hand, dancing in front of the television, singing improvised versions of American Pie and spontaneous I love you Mommas.  So while I'm still not all that sorry to see you go, I  kind of love you too.  Bye Three.