My daughter, Mara, is 3 years old.

She is so unbelievably 3. She is chatty, happy, inquisitive, funny, generous, stubborn and emotional — oh, the emotions! She is straight-on, full-tilt 3, and I am in awe and terrified all at the same time.

Mara is a force.

From the moment she wakesup in the morning until she drops off to sleep at night, Mara is go, go, go — just ask the cat she follows all day long like it was her job.

She laughs and cries. She runs, tumbles, dances and skips. She adores the game hide and go seek, and from the moment she wakes up in the morning, she begs to go to the park to swing. She has the most amazing imagination and, already at the age of 3, displays a love for potty humor usually shared by college-aged men.

My son, Declan, was 3 once, but a different breed of 3.

Maybe it's because he's the oldest or because he's a boy. Or maybe it's because he's just his own guy, but he wasn't as high octane as his sister — or as mischievous.

The two of them are different, but they're a team. That doesn't mean they're always a harmonious team, however.

Just recently, Mara has embraced the power of the taunt.

She loves her brother, but as of the last few months, she loves teasing him almost as much. Declan will be playing and minding his own business when, out of nowhere, Mara will swoop in and take one of his toys and just run away laughing. I can't really blame her. I cherish my son, but he is an easy mark; he's so easily bothered by her disruption. To Mara, it's a game — like capture the flag. She knows if he's busy not playing with her, she can get him to come around if she just snatches his stuff. BAM! Instant game of chase.

As a mom, I'm torn on how to rule on the subject. On one hand, Mara is taking something someone else is playing with and intentionally bothering her brother.

On the other hand, how funny and clever of her. She wants to get her brother to play and she has found a way to trick him into doing it. Most times, if they don't ask for help, I stay out of it. They resolve it themselves and it never makes it to the "executive" level.

But on the occasions she goes too far or he needs to lighten up, I try to be fair.

Mara adores her brother. She misses him when he's gone at school and is so excited to see him when he gets home, rushing to the door to greet him by yelling, "Declan's home!" for the whole neighborhood to hear.

And Declan loves his little sister.

Just the other day, out of the blue, Declan says to me, "I like sharing a room with Mara even if she talks when I'm sleeping."

I told him Mara has a lot to say and he replied, "Yeah, A LOT to say."

Yes, son, and she is just warming up.

Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM's Big Party Show is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.

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