Three. Three. Three. Three years on this planet. In my life. It means everything and nothing. You will not start preschool at three (but hopefully you will start in July or August!). Unless pigs fly, you will not be wearing underwear for anything other than fashion, and you will not have weaned. Three is not like one, where it’s all, Holy Shit! He’s walking and feeding himself and saying first words! Hell, you still sit in your highchair sometimes (with your feet practically touching the ground) because it contains the mess, and you.
This is not to say that you don’t explode my heart and mind on the daily. You tell me how you’re feeling. When we eat breakfast, sometimes you grab my arm and say, “Come here” so you can kiss my hand. You are the fart police (“Oh no. Too stinky! We have to light a candle to blow out your fawt!”).
You are learning. A little from me, a LOT from Cottage Activity Time. Parallel play is mostly a memory, and you’ve forged strong friendships (Rex, Atticus, Arlo, Milo and of course, Bodhi). You’ve even entered into the charming world of exclusionary play. You have come such a long way with sharing and physical boundaries. Your first instinct when frustrated is to strike, and when I see those wheels turn and the pause happens, it’s miraculous. You kind of growl and punch your arms toward the ground and stomp your foot, or sometimes you’ll plop your bum on the ground. I’ve gotten way better at differentiating from your moods at home, but I’m still on edge for most park and play dates, especially when we’re with kids younger than you.
I ponder the idea that had I known what motherhood would really be like, would I have done it? Not because I don’t love you, but because I’m extremely selfish and self-centered and I have had almost zero time to isolate and wallow in my own sadness for three whole years! Do you know how many independent movies I haven’t seen? I used to go to matinees, by myself, at least once a week (mostly to binge on popcorn). Now I play “baseball” with oven mitts for gloves and dance feverishly to Step In Time. Again.
You have eating days and not eating days, and seem to have your mother’s sweet tooth. Although we don’t have candy in the house, when you have it at celebrations, you talk about it for days afterward, and I have chased you a quarter of a mile, up stairs, and inside a dark, vacant apartment to retrieve an unopened starlight mint from your clutched toddler hand. You either eat no broccoli, or a bowl of broccoli; no meatballs, or six meatballs. No pizza, or a small pizza. You will always eat raisins. For your birthday, you have requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. And the .99 cent Trader Joe’s advent calendar is the FIRST thing that happens each morning, and each morning, before devouring the tiny, waxy brown square you ask, “Can I eat it?”
I see you moving away from me. We can be in the same room, doing separate things (although 99% of the time this is successful because what you’re doing involves a screen). You fetch snacks for yourself, wash your hands by yourself, and turn on your Christmas bubble light on your own (often after you cry, “I CAN’T DO IT!”). The truth is you ARE doing it, all of it. You are more than I could have ever hoped for.