The Terrible Threes?

There's a famous book called Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy? (I feel like this was on my parents' bookshelves and it was, in fact, first published in the '70s.) I haven't read the book, but think about the title frequently. Because Laurel seems hell bent on disrupting my daily life to the greatest degree possible. It makes me feel incredibly important and loved because she NEEDS me at all times. Just me. No, DADDY! No, Mommmeeeeee. No, Daddy. No. Mommy.

Laurel talks a lot. She has a huge vocabulary and is very articulate about her feelings and there is a very detailed explanation for absolutely everything she does. Not necessarily based in the reality you and I live in, but a reason nonetheless.

She's mad a lot. Mad when friends don't share. Mad when something turns out different than she thought it would. Mad when we are trying to get through some necessary daily routine and she would like to be doing something different. Like arranging bobby pins on the bathroom floor instead of brushing her teeth. Or dragging large branches through the park and pretending they are a dog instead of just walking home from school.

For every developmental step forward, there is a step back. She is completely potty-trained, but is afraid to sleep by herself. She recognizes letters, but clings to me when I drop her off at school. She does not want to get in her car seat unless she can buckle it herself (as much as I am for autonomy for young children, this is problematic for me, as the person in charge of her safety).

In my twenties I imagined that I would get progressively better at Life...I would know more at 25 than 20 and more at 30 than 25. But it turned out that Life ebbs and flows, and you think you've learned a lesson, but then completely change your mind about it five years later. Or five minutes later. And some years you are completely free and filled with adventure, and other years you must hunker down and live quietly by yourself. My parenting style has turned out to be intuitive in this way...looking at each moment for what it is and responding accordingly. Initially, when there were many hard moments, I thought that there must be a style, a schedule, a philosophy that would shed some light and create peace and order. I read a lot of books and blogs. But in fact, all that can be done is to love each moment you have together and love everyone who is a part of each moment. Do that, and it will all be ok.


Betty Giles said...

I wish you had a widget on the side of your blog that says subscribe by email or become a follower, because Tim and I (Beach Bum and Ist Wife) certainly have become fans of your blog. I don't know if I told you, but you inspired me to start my own blog(everydayisgiftfromgod.blogspot.com). No more posts about parenting now, just life in the retired world. Keep up the great posts.

Anonymous said...

Love each moment? If you insist.

Leah (and Levi)

k said...

I added the widget!