Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my three year-old and me

the boy took this picture of me when we were at the pride parade, two weeks ago now. i kind of love it.

shortly after he took the picture, he wanted to be carried.

three must be such a difficult and confusing age. even though he must feel like he should still be a baby,  he's not. and we're demanding so much more of him - nothing unreasonable, to be sure. we just don't let him get away with being unkind, disrespectful, or selfish. which means that he's often seeing only the stern, firm, and sometimes scary side of this momma, because he's three and he's just learning about what it means to be unkind, disrespectful, and selfish.

for my part, just before the outpouring of all the goodness, i wasn't parenting the way i imagined i would before children. stress and just plain being a human being has me defaulting to scary and threatening more often than i can reconsider my actions.

i hope that what the boy remembers of his childhood is that our altercations always end in a hug. i am always ready to forgive (though sometimes after my own "time out"). there's no limit to the number of times we can start over. and i will always apologize when i am in the wrong... or if i'm just feeling wrong. like when i yelled a little too loudly first thing one morning when he wouldn't move to make room for me and his sister on the bed after being asked to do so (nicely) 3 times (before coffee).

despite our trials (everyone tells you about the two's but no one ever warns you about the three's), my three year-old's charming side often wins out anyway.

putting my kids to bed is among my favourite things about being a momma. the conversations i have with my boy and the snuggles i get with my girl, not to mention the opportunity to just drink them in as they surrender to sleep, are the moments i have come to count as most sacred in my short time mothering. 

these nights, the boy babbles before sleep. mostly about fish: the kind of fish he wants to buy, that he really wants to catch a fish with his fishing rod ("so you can cook it and i can eat it, does that sound like a good idea?"). 

the other night, he said to me, "when i'm so big, i can only hug you standing up." when i asked why, he only said, "because i'm so big. i can't hug you like this." surprisingly, it doesn't make me sad that one day he'll be so big he won't be able to snuggle up right next to my chest. i'm excited, instead. 

i'm looking forward to seeing this boy "so big." he can take all the time he needs to do all his growing up... but that night the boy left me with a bit of faith (and bated hope) that somehow we'll weather all the drama we're going to make as mother and son. and that he'll still want to hug me anyway. (fingers crossed.)


  1. So sweet. My three year old girl sounds a lot like yours. Yeah the threes are tougher I think. I went through the threes with my boy (now 11). He was an emotional mess and still is. My girl is all about the whining and getting away with it all with her charming cuteness. We just conquered going on the potty with many different battles but made it. And we also got her over the fear of going down the drain at bath time. She freaked out so much she would not sit in the water. She would only sit in a stool.
    But they are magical at night. and so inventive with the things they say, that makes me wish she stay like this forever.
    I have the same fears and hopes as you.
    You are doing great if you end with a hug. I wasn't hugged that much as a child and i'm ok. Your boy will remember.

  2. thank you for your kind words and assurances, alma. and for sharing your own mothering trials. there's no other job in the world like this and we are often our worse critics.

    i also think it's just as important for our kids to know that we took the time to give them necessary limits, that we helped them work through their fears, and that loving isn't just about hugging, it's about being present, and being there.