Life lessons from a three year-old

Last week I began my stint as a part-time nanny for a three year-old girl. In that short time, I've learned that adults and children are more alike than we realize.

1. We all get fussy.

Nannytime begins with lunch, followed by a nap and play. On our first day together, she fought the nap while rubbing her eyes, and losing focus. When the irritability set in, I saw before me the three year-old version of nearly every adult I know at 4:00 pm on a weekday.

We all reach that point in our day when we just can't take on one more thing. At three, however, there is an established break.

Adults need the same. A walk, a quiet moment, maybe a nap. We try to conceal it with caffeine and candy, but the three year-old fussy is still there.

2. When times get tough, there's only one solution: Mommy.

When Mom drops off Little Miss most days it's flawless. There's lunch, a wave and Mom is out the door and back to work. Yesterday, there was a hiccup. She fell asleep in her car seat, and as she was sleepily handed over to me she woke up.

One should never be woken up by mommy leaving. Never.

But it happened. I had in my arms a wailing child calling desperately, "I WANT MY MOMMY!"

I knew exactly how she felt. No matter your age, who hasn't had the world's worst day and wanted to reach for the safe, warm comfort only a mommy provides?

3. We are master impersonators.

This is not news. Kids are funny and are watching our every move. So far I've been asked why I'm wearing the outfit I am, where I live, why I'm not going to swimming with her later, and what color "panties" I'm wearing.

(From a three year-old girl, it's an innocent and hysterical question. Believe me.)

While playing with Play-doh one day, she got out a big purple blob, a plastic plate and plastic knife saying, "I'm cutting up your chicken, Lauree. Don't get fussy."

She has also strapped herself into her miniature car saying with a firm voice: "I'm going to Harris Teeter for cookies. Bye. BYE!" Later, she also went to Target for a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Each time she mimics her parents and the roles adults play, I'm fascinated by how she must be thinking. Putting these ideas together, making sense of the world around her as it gets bigger and bigger.

That's what we're all doing, isn't it?