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You are three…and I am you and you are me

Bun Bun is three!

And what a three she is. She’s learning to recognize a few words in books (bunny, owl, and–the last one, I was all learn and, it’s everywhere, that will be fun for you), considerably better at negotiating toy exchanges with her brother, cuddly, fond of singing, utterly infuriating…

And she is trapped in an interminable phase of personal pronoun (I, me, mine, you, yours, she, her etc.)  reversal. She uses you to express the things that she wants, as in you want to take a shower (meaning, Bun Bun wants to take a shower), and she uses I to express the things that, uh, I want. She’s generally just giving me a line that she’d like me to say, as in I’m sorry I bumped into you.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon to be in the middle of. My boy Vygotsky (oldey-timey Russian developmental psychologist) theorized that children use language to internalize social rules, and saying things to themselves as though someone else were saying them is a part of this process. So when Bun Bun says to herself yes, you can have lots and lots of raisins she’s using self-produced speech to regulate her own thoughts and emotions the way that I used to help her regulate them. She’s taking over from me.

It’s wonderful, but it’s also another step on the journey away from me. Soon she’ll have her own life I know nothing about, her own friends, her own apartment… I showed her some pictures of the day she was born, including one of my belly. You used to be in there, I told her. Don’t WANT to be in there, she replied. Well, you’re not, dear girl, you’re not.


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Happy birthday, Bun Bun! What a marvel you are, my dear!
    Bunny, my friend, many hugs to you. I might get weepy and use your shoulder, birthdays do me in these days, but at least I will only share tears and keep the snot to myself, alright?

    May 6, 2014
  2. Happy Birthday, Bun Bun! It seems like only yesterday you were in utero!

    May 6, 2014
  3. Happy Birthday Bun Bun! She is very beautiful!!!

    May 6, 2014
  4. Happy birthday Bun Bun!

    May 7, 2014
  5. Yes! Monkey had his pronouns mixed around exactly like that for absolutely ages. And then all of a sudden one recent day, he didn’t.

    Happy birthday Bun Bun!

    And also – I cannot believe I’ve been reading this blog since before Bun Bun was even conceived. Just saying.

    May 7, 2014
  6. Happy birthday, Bun Bun! She looks so big!

    The reversed pronouns are cute. My daughter would do that with certain verbs, ‘carry’ and ‘follow’, but I don’t know if it was pronoun reversal, confusing the meaning of them–or inability to use the passive voice.

    May 7, 2014
  7. Ana #

    Both of mine did (L still does) the pronoun reversal “Carry YOU” they say with arms raised up! Also B’s favorite, when he wanted to do something “Do YOU want to do it!!!” Oh 3, its a milestone all right (aren’t they all?). Its pretty neat to “see” each others kids grow up, and see ourselves grow and change as mothers.

    May 7, 2014
  8. Jack now likes to repeat “Brother was in your tummy, and I was in your tummy, but we’re not going back in there”

    3 is amazing and, you’re right, infuriating. Welcome to the world of she’s always right so don’t question her! It takes some getting used to, but I heard a comedian say “if you find yourself in a fight with a 3-year-old, it is your own fault” so I internalized that and when I find myself disagreeing with him, that runs through my head.

    May 7, 2014
  9. Happy birthday Bun Bun!
    How can she possibly be 3 already? I remember so well when she was still “in there”.
    Hoping 3 will be more amazing than infuriating.

    May 7, 2014
  10. Smart and lovely, and I covet her outfit. Happy birthday!

    May 8, 2014
  11. Happy Birthday, beautiful Bun Bun! I was thinking of you and your mama on your birthday.

    May 10, 2014
  12. SRB #

    Gosh…she is just The Best. I totally want to hang out with her. I will forever think of Bun Bun in the month of May as I was expecting my own teeny human right around when she was born, and I ate that up in heaping spoonfuls. Many kisses, tiny lady. ❤

    May 12, 2014
  13. misfit #

    Three. It goes too fast. Apartment, wanting to borrow the car, listening to slayer. I know it is out there, but these glimpses of independence make you realize how short this time really is.

    May 20, 2014

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