What I Thought Three Would Look Like

Man is turning three next week.  For some reason, before having children, I thought that three was this magical age where things started to fall into place.  What things exactly??  Well, I’m not really sure… just kid things, I guess.  Man is my first, so whatever lies beyond the age of two years, 11 months, and 20 days remains a mystery to me.  I’m sure I was just being naïve, but I did think that once they hit three things got a bit easier.  My in-laws used to tell me that by three they would set up the Betamax with my husband’s favorite movie, have his breakfast waiting in the fridge for him and sleep in on Saturdays while he watched and ate.  I took this as a sign that three was basically close to adulthood.  Clearly, I was wrong.

I thought that three would be slightly more independent.  I mean, you walk and talk now, can’t you walk on over to your dresser, pick out a pair of pants, and put them on by yourself?  You know where the pretzels are; get up and go get some if you’re hungry!  Seriously, the store is 30 feet from the parking lot; why am I carrying you?

Shouldn’t three be jumping at the chance to sleep in a “big boy bed?”   I know people who had to transition their kids as early as 20 months because they kept climbing out of their cribs and getting hurt.  “Don’t do it” they would hiss, looking at me wild eyed, “It’s awful—little Benny trashes his room and then comes in and wakes us up in the middle of the night.”  We got lucky in this respect; at three he is still not climbing out of his crib. He can, he just chooses not to.  But three hates change, and has decided that he is going to sleep in his crib “forever.”

I pictured three walking calmly walk next to me in a store, not having to be strapped into a cart for fear that he will remove any and all items from the shelves.  It’s as if in pulling that box of Triscuits off of the shelf he has discovered a new galaxy.  “Mom, look that these CRACKERS!!!”

I had no idea three would have such an imagination.  I used to bring the toys to you; now I am merely lucky to be a character cast in your stories.

I thought three would have fewer tantrums.  Isn’t it called the “terrible two’s”???  Three seems like it’s going to be a lot more work than two.  We practically begged for two to understand us a little better and now that three does, those newly-formed reasoning skills are really coming back to bite us in the ass.  Now tantrums talk back, have demands of their own, and are not stopping until said demands are met.

I thought three would still nap.  Maybe she isn’t remembering correctly—it was almost 30 years ago, but my mom always tells me that my brother and I napped right up until we went to kindergarten.  I know now that this can’t be the truth.  I used to just drop Man in the crib and say goodbye for upwards of three and a half hours.  Now, executing nap time is like performing a mission meant for Navy SEALs.  His naps must meet specific time, place, and length requirements – if any one of these factors is thrown off we risk having him up until all hours of the night.

Three is supposed to be a lot mellower.  You have been awake for 12 hours; how do you still have so much energy???

I didn’t think three could be so funny.  We used to laugh when we made jokes that two didn’t understand.  Now three understands them, laughs, and then cracks one of his own.

Shouldn’t three feed itself?  Why do I still have to hover over you like a mama bird?  Seriously, it’s borderline Alicia Silverstone behavior.  After you dress yourself, please feel free to go ahead and feed yourself breakfast.

The destruction should be done by three, right?  How come when I ask you what you’re allowed to draw on you correctly respond “paper,” but when I find you a minute later you are coloring all available surfaces in your line of vision?

I thought I would have my parenting skills a lot more together by three.  But alas, every time I think I start to understand something, you up and change again.

Who knew three would be so articulate?  We have conversations now, about real things, like actual discussions.  I’m not sure exactly when this started happening, but I love it.  I can’t wait to see what you want to discuss next!

It’s pretty obvious that I really had no idea what I was in for when I had my first kid, do any of us really?  One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see what this year brings and what four looks like.  Happy 3rd birthday to my, sweet, petite, delicious little Man, love you little buddy!

Happy Birthday, Man

Happy Birthday, Man

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