Inspired in part by the coming of a new little one who will inevitably distract us from some of the Nona Moments that are now so centrifugal to our lives, and in part by a friend's recent blog post on her son's latest and greatest antics, I, Julie, am taking the blog narrative over tonight to capture a few things that I just don't want to forget about this stage in little three year old Nonie's life...

(Yeah, you better be nervous. It ain't ALL cuteness and smiles).
But most of it is.
She tells stories that goes something like this: "Okay. So. Let's pretend there's a SEA turtle and he's on an adventure with his HAT. Okay? Okay. And they use a HAIRBRUSH to go to the store and get some BAGELS for their adventure. Not cookies, mama. BAGELS, okay? okay. With Raccoon. Do you want some bagels? Huh? Blueberry bagels? Okay. We get you some. That's okay, turtle? That's okay." (and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Okay? Okay.)

"In just a minute, Dad."
"But I'm DOING something."
"Hang on one sec."
"But I'm PRETENDING not to listen."
And my personal favorite stalling line, used today for what I believe to be the first (and I hope to be the last) time:
"That just doesn't work for me right now, Mama."
She's learning to swim and is very proud of this milestone in her life. That, along with a recent introduction to soccer, she has a newfound (and rather theoretical at the moment) appreciation for all things sporty. Now, when we see kids on a distant soccer field, or the neighborhood boys riding bikes or the water polo team practice, her first reaction is, "I CAN DO THAT!" Sometimes it's followed up with a "When I'm BIGGER, I can do that." Sometimes, not.

Affection and tenderness are big, delicious parts of her personality and she often says, out of the blue, "I love you so much" followed up by a hug and/or kiss. Some variations:
"I love you too much, Daddy" (a phrase coined by a Turkish friend of ours and used by the Grossman family ever since).
"I love you to the moonshine and back, Mommy" (slight variation on a phrase coined by author of a kid's book with bunnies--forget the name).
Silliness comes in many forms.
Dancing the Tushy-Butt Dance is a fun expresssion of that these days--
(I'll leave that visual up to your imagination).
Making up silly songs that end with crazy faces is always a hit.
Words that rhyme are HILARIOUS! If she can't think of a word that rhymes with the one she just said, she'll just say the same word again.
"Did you see that, Mom? I RHYMED!"
She's definitely turning the corner onto Seeking Independence Alley--that dark, somewhat scary stretch of street between Easy To Convince, Distract And Control Avenue and Makes Good Choices and Uses Good Judgment On Her Own Street. I've heard this Alley is about 24 more years long.
We're holding on for the ride and loving every minute of it.