So Jr. has been 3 for a few months now, and I continue to look back on what people refer to as “the terrible twos” with misty-eyed fondness. Oh how I loved me some two. There was nothing terrible about two. Two meant nap times, and cuddles, and eating anything set in front of him, and running toward Mommy. Two was super cute.
Three? Three is a tornado. Parenting a three year old could be an ACTUAL boot-camp style fitness class, but people would drop out from exhaustion. Three, so far, has been kind of surreal.
Reasons I buy wine by the case Fun facts about 3 year olds:
-3 year olds don’t care what you say. A three year old will sprint from you while you say stop over and over. A three year old will climb the drapes like a cat right after a conversation about why it is a terrible idea. I am fairly certain that when I move my mouth, my 3 year old hears the same “Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah” noises that all adults seem to make in Charlie Brown land, and not actual words.
-You don’t need a bull horn if you have a 3 year old. A three year old is the loudest thing on the planet. So just get the 3 year old to convey what you need to say to any crowd you are leading – except see the first item on this list. Not so much with the caring what you ask. So mostly 3 year olds just yell NO or make animal–like noises you can’t explain.
-The more tired the 3 year old, the harder it is to get said 3 year old to stop moving – a line gets crossed, and after that point you pretty much have to wait until the kid drops mid-run. (this does happen.)
-The only acceptable thing to do with something a 3 year old no longer wants, is to fling/whip/throw it away as hard as the 3 year old can. Don’t want those peas? Leaving them on the plate or pushing them aside won’t do. Must. Fling. Peas. All done with that watering can, Jr? Oh you can’t just set it down, you have to whip it across the yard – probably in the direction of the dog? Silly me. (We are working on it – but I admit, if I see his arm move at this point, I duck/block my face without even thinking.)
-Speaking of food –3 year olds are fickle eaters. Mac and cheese can be the best substance on the planet one day, and the next it seems it must be like swallowing razor blades – based solely on the reaction of the 3 year old.
-Actually 3 year olds are fickle with the everything. The Room on the Broom ap that said 3 year old adored on the tablet during brunch last week? Whipping it out at dinner this week will get you an eyeroll and a shouted NO! Nothing is “for sure.”
-Messy and possibly slightly dangerous? That is the activity a 3 year old HAS TO do.
-Recurrences of separation anxiety are real, yo. And 35 lbs of kid velcroed to your leg is tougher to haul around and IMPOSSIBLE to pry off. (Ok, I confess, I am soaking that up mostly – because being the center of his world feels pretty spectacular… but it makes preschool drop off kind of tricky/heartbreaking.)
Suddenly I understand the mom I once saw full on tackle a toddler in a parking lot. I totally get the backpack leashes I have seen on some kiddos around this age. Even that look in a fellow mom’s eye that says “as soon as I know your safe, I am going to wring your neck!” Safety can quickly become a guerilla-style situation in the ever-changing world of parenting a 3 year old.
It is tough not to get extra helicopter-y as he starts to enlarge his personality and test the boundaries of his growing world. Extra prayer and adult beverages are often called for. (I reserve the right to be protective – I’ve got 3+ years of work into this model – and even in his current state, I know how far we have come… I am protecting my investment when I insist he refrain from diving off the top of the play set head first.)
Ok ok ok – none of this is ALL the time. It is accompanied by a large amount of cuteness, and charisma, and a wonder of the world that is amazing to watch each day.
You know – the kind of wonder that has a volume of +1000, and is streaking away from me at a flat sprint while giggling and dumping some sort of messy substance along behind.