Well, for all intents and purposes, anyway--we may still be a few weeks from her birthday, but the signs are all there. I try really hard not to assign negative labels to behaviors that are merely part of normal developmental stages, but I have to say I already understand quite well why they call it the Terrible Twos.
It seems like the last week or two she's become extremely opinionated on things like who cleans her face or picks her up out of the high chair or who makes her food. Woe unto s/he who tries to reason with her ("Honey, Daddy is upstairs, he can't make you a hot dog right now."), for s/he shall hear the wrath of the screaming Abby. S/he shall be smote with her little fists and feet, and drenched in her snot and tears. Verily, I say unto you, gird thyself with grubby clothes and many tissues, and stuff thy ears with cotton against her wailing. And choose thy battles wisely.
Of course, her fits are balanced with some of the most adorable displays of affection, and wow does she love Christmas decorations! When we're driving at night we try to stop in front of houses with cool displays, and she just keeps saying, "More! More!" as if we can snap our fingers and light up the next house for her. Tonight when I was putting her to bed she started naming all the things we'd seen: "Christmas tree lights! Santa1 Big Snowman! (She loves those inflatable lawn ones!) Mickey Mouse! Pooh!" Looks like we'll be adding some to our own lawn, as Dan promised her he'd take her out tomorrow to get something for our house. he said she wants a Santa. We'll see what she says tomorrow.
And along with the fits and the love comes these amazing cognitive leaps. Out of nowhere she started counting straight from one to fourteen, and she can usually tell you correctly the first time how many objects you hand her, as long as you keep it under three. She's recognizing more letters by sight, and starting to sing along with a lot of the Veggie Tales and Jana Alayra songs. (Bless her heart, she can't carry a tune in a bucket...maybe that will change?) She's even quoting dialogue along with some Blue's Clues episodes that we've watched a million times, as well as the Curious George movie.
It's going to be quite a ride, these next twelve months. Though from what I've read on my favorite parenting forum, age three is no walk in the park either; in fact a lot of moms on there say it's worse than two. But oh well. That too shall pass, and one day I'll be sniffling about how she's fifteen...