1. Gradual change can hit you all at once. Bam. Since my daughter was 3 and had her first real birthday party with friends bringing gifts, we have been doing a book exchange. Instead of gifts, we ask each child to bring a new or used wrapped book and at the end of the party the books are exchanged so each child leaves with a new book. It's been a lovely tradition and something that we all look forward to each year. A few of the other families at school have adopted the tradition as well and the exchange was included in a recent birthday invitation. When thinking about the book we would bring I immediately realized how much the books have changed over the last four years. At first they were board books, then picture books, and now chapter books that the kids can read themselves. Even though the change had been gradual, all of the sudden everyone grew up. Hooray and sigh all at once.

2. One of the great joys I find in parenting are conversations with other parents about all the things we are happily doing now that we once swore we would never do. How the best laid plans exploded in our faces and we all survive for the better. Whether it is the light up shoes, the character t-shirts, or kids movies, whatever you bend for, you will take great joy in the incredible pleasure it brings your children. A plan is just that. A plan. And how wonderfully parenthood gets us to bend and go with plan B. Sometimes plan Z.

3. More than a memory. I stopped nursing my daughter when she was 18 months old. It wasn't my choice, she was ready to stop, I was not. Breast feeding was such an incredible experience for me. I've never felt anything like it and the level of intimacy that it provided my relationship with my daughter was just amazing. Earlier in the week, when she and I were hanging out of the couch, she crawled on my back and laid her head on my shoulders. She began to twirl my hair. The softness of her breath and the delicate nature of her touch brought me right back to those early days of nursing. I hadn't felt her touch in that way in years. I enjoyed the moment and then cried a lot over it later.

What did you learn today? Join me by using the #thesethreethings and commenting below with your own These Three Things. I want to hear what you are learning, laughing about, and living through.