Thursday, November 18, 2010


A three year old is a weird little creature. Emerging from the tiny, needy baby to become a big kid is this walking, talking (constantly, in our case) insistent contradiction. Gone is all of the J-bird's apparent babyishness. He's all knees and elbows and wiggles and "IIIIIII wanna do iiiiiit!" independence....until he needs me, and then I'm never fast enough for his liking. We breezed through the supposedly "terrible twos", and I was really starting to think I must be a natural at this motherhood thing. Then three hit, and the baby was born, and most of my good training and intentions seemed to go to you-know-where in a hand-basket. Frankly, I was flabbergasted, which is probably silly to those of you who've been through this before. And embarrassed, which is probably sillier. There are tantrums. There is resistance. There is some defiance. There's arguing that seems to just be a reflex anymore - like I say something, and he automatically argues, whether he disagrees with me, or not. And things that worked before as discipline have no effect anymore.

It's frustrating.

It can be maddening.

It can be humiliating.

I sometimes have to put him on his bed and go take a few deep breaths. Something I never saw myself, with my endless patience (which, I have come to find, does in fact have an end. Haha all over ME.) needing to do before I had children.

And I've realized that some (er...a lot) of what needs adjusting is my own attitude and expectations. Setting high standards for a child is a good thing, but because the J-bird is really verbal with a big vocabulary and good understanding, I often forget that he's only THREE. He's still a baby, really, in lots of ways. There's just no way he's going to be quiet all the time inside, even if he can parrot back to me why he should be. He does not have the capacity to obey immediately everysingletimenomatterwhatORELSE!! He's genuinely incapable of sitting still for long stretches, because five minutes to a three year old might as well be five hours. He has impulses that require time to learn how to control. And I need to understand that some lessons require a lot of repetition. Like all those first year milestones that I fretted and Googled and compared and called my mother over, some things will only come with time and maturity (on both our parts).

And one of the biggest things I have to thump myself over the head with? He's not my little puppet. He's not a mirror. He's a person, with his own personality. He's not really a pleaser, like me, though he cares what I think and he loves me. He doesn't really have his dad's go-to-heck, I-yam-what-I-yam attitude either though, even though he often acts that way. He is himself. So I have to strike the balance of nurturing who he is while also teaching him that he's not the center of the universe.

I have to remember that I'm not either.

It's a tricky one.

But know what? It's totally worth it

For my completely silly




beloved little boy. Knees, elbows, independence and all.


Monkee said...

And an adorable boy to boot :)

I hear the "3's" are waaay harder than the "2's"...

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, honest reflection on LIFE. Thanks, G.
Pastor J

Becca B said...

Ah 3. Most frustrating age until 7. :) Scout was...well...interesting during that time & we didn't have another kiddo to worry about too. I once sat in the middle of the floor sobbing about some defiant act while she patted me on the back reassuring me everything was "oh-tay mama." Whew. May the force be with you!