Three is Hard, Yo.

Dear Charlie Bird,

Part of me doesn’t want to record this time in your life. I want to let it go by the way side so maybe we can both forget it. But that wouldn’t be fair because it’s part of who you are and who we are right now. So let me tell you a story.

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Tuesday night we were watching Curious George before bed as usual. Daddy was in the chair with Alice, I was reading my book at one end of the couch, Eddie was in the middle with the tablet, and you were on the other end. Everything was totally fine.

Then you decided to sit on the arm rest.

It is a well-known rule that we don’t sit on the arm rests of furniture. For one, you fell off from it just an hour before and landed in your sister’s rock n play with her in it. There was much crying.

Anyway, I said, “Charlie. Please sit on your buns the correct way on the couch cushion.” You looked over Eddie at me and stuck your tongue out.

Daddy said, “Charlie. Sit. Now.”

You spit.

Daddy started to count. You did not comply.

We were all tired. We just wanted you to listen just this once. But no. You did not want to. I had been going through this with you all day, although throughout the day, your clip drops on the behavior chart when you make a poor choice. I don’t know why we were giving you eleventy billion chances in that moment.

Yes I do. We were all tired.

I had been doing it for ten hours. Daddy was soothing Alice and had been at work all day. We were so done. We didn’t handle it well. I didn’t handle it well.

I threw my book on the floor. Marched over to the Behavior Chart and put you in the red. Then I stormed over to you, picked you up off the arm of the chair, and threw you onto the couch so you would land on your butt. I yelled.

I know this is not the way to parent. I especially know this is not how to parent you. You will not cower and crumble and obey out of fear (not that I want to parent that way anyway. It’s awful just typing it). You will lose your mind.  And you did.

You screamed. You threw things. You spit.

Dad got mad. He set Alice down, grabbed you, and put you in your bed.

When I got downstairs to put you boys to bed, you had thrown everything out of your bed. The rule is, if you throw it out, you don’t get it back. So you screamed while I read books to Eddie. You cried when I turned out the light.

Eddie got concerned that you would cry so hard, you would barf. You didn’t.

You spit and tore things off the walls because you had run out of things to throw.

I ignored you.

You continued to freak out.

I gave you your pacifier and your pillow.

You threw them back at me.

I left.

Daddy came down and talked you down. He gave you your pacifier and your small pillow. You were fine. So I came back down to lay by Eddie for a bit.

You freaked out again. You were so mad at me.

So I gave up.

Daddy came down instead.

I went up and cried.

This is not an isolated event, my dear Charlie.

You have one of the worst tempers I have ever seen. Most times, I don’t freak out on you.  Most of the time I can muster the patience to talk calmly to you and administer your consequence with a soft voice. Most of the time. Tuesday I was weary of mothering. I just wanted you to listen and obey the first time. For once. I didn’t want to have to count to ten and put on a calm face.

Three is just hard. It is. I have to remind myself of this over and over.

And it’s not just hard on me and daddy. It’s hard on you.

Three is a big age. You aren’t a baby anymore, but you are clinging fiercely to baby things (like diapers and your pacifier). But you want to be BIG and STRONG too.

You have BIG feelings, but no words to describe them.

You are trying new things and wanting to do things on your own, but getting so so frustrated when you can’t do it easily like your older brother.

And on top of all that, you lost your place as the baby of the family four months ago. You are trying to figure out your place and your voice in all this, and, well, it’s just down-right frustrating and stupid sometimes.

We went through a lot of this with Eddie when he was three. He also had a new baby (you!) to deal with. His temper wasn’t as short and he acted out in different ways, but still it’s all about three just being dumb and hard.

I’m sorry, buddy. I’m sorry I lose patience with you. I’m sorry three is so hard sometimes.

But it has it’s good stuff too. I hope you remember the good more than the difficult.

Like how I was there during the thunderstorm on Monday morning and you said, “Mom mom? I am going to sit right here so you can keep me safe.”

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I love you so much, Charlie.

So much.

Love, Mom mom

 

the best part of three

It’s easy to come here and talk about the hard days because I have to “write them out”…it’s a therapy of sorts.

Eddie and I have had a lot of hard days over the past almost four years.  There has been many, many times that we have butted heads only to end up in our separate corners crying.

But those days are really few and far between.

Yes, we still have our standoffs, we battle with Eddie knowing and practicing kindness, we grapple with teaching him that words can hurt.

He doesn’t want his picture taken as much, which means he gets left off the Project 365 posts that I do each week.  This breaks my heart a bit because I want to remember him as he is right now too.  In our every day daily days.

Yesterday was not anything monumental.  It was a pretty ordinary day as far as days home with my kids go, but it was extraordinary in that I realized that Eddie has grown up a lot since the last time I had a break from school.

He started the day by climbing into bed with me and asking if he could watch TV snuggled with me instead of on the couch.  I can’t say no to that, so he watched TV while I snored dozed beside him.  Until Charlie woke up.

We all had breakfast and watched some TV and played.  We had plans to leave the house that morning to meet a friend and her kids at the local Crazy Bounce (you know, one of those places with a million inflatable bounce houses and slides?  So much fun for the kiddos).  I needed to shower, so I asked Eddie to watch his brother.

He did.  He even made sure to stop watching TV to play with Charlie to keep him from being sad or grumpy.

He also got his clothes on…socks and all (which he always complains he can’t do)…by himself.

He was responsible while we were at Crazy Bounce and didn’t throw too much of a fit when it was time to go.  He sat nicely by his brother in the busy shoe area while I navigated finding their shoes and coats and the diaper bag.  He protected his brother from all the people walking around them and patiently waited while I got all of our shoes and coats on.

He held my hand in the parking lot without a fuss.

He was quiet when we went through the McDonald’s drive thru (his reward for being so helpful and kind).

He ate all his lunch and joked and made Charlie laugh while I got Charlie’s food ready.

He played nicely by himself while I did a bit of work.

When it was time to lie down for a nap, he requested to nap in my bed…with me.  I couldn’t turn that down, so we rested for an hour together.  When the hour was up, he sat up and  very matter-of-factly said, “So. Mom.  You want to get up now?”

He asked me if he could help me clean up.

We made pizzas together for dinner.

There were no tantrums, no timeouts, no crying.

We chatted about garbage trucks and cats and God and babies and flowers.  He’s so smart.

The day was busy, but it was peaceful.

It’s hard to see this kind, caring, responsible boy in the humdrum of daycare drop off and pick up and shuffling him around on a schedule.  It’s easy for him to get over-tired and under-appreciated when we are wrapped up in the Must Do’s of daily life.

It’s easy to roll my eyes when he has a fit or is unkind and write it off as three-years-old being a tough age.

It is a tough age.  It has many MANY ups and downs.

But yesterday reminded me that I don’t just have a tantrumy moody difficult three-year old.

I have a buddy.

And that is the BEST part of having a three-year-old.

"Look mom, I'm a teacher just like you!"

“Look mom, I’m a teacher just like you!”

YOUR BEARD IS WEIRD!

And now from the Random Eddie File…

************

While we are driving in the car…

Eddie: Mom. Look at that car!

Me: Which one?

Eddie:  That one.  That yellow one.  That yellow car is FANCY!

(although it would sound more like: Dat one.  Dat way-yo one. Dat way-yo caw is FANCEE!)

*************

Not long ago, Cort and I introduced Eddie to the “Guess what? Chicken butt.” joke.  What he doesn’t understand is that the joke is in the rhyme.

Eddie: Guess what!

Me: What?

Eddie: Chicken butt!

Me: Ha!  Guess what!

Eddie: What?

Me: Chicken hut!

Eddie:  Ha ha!  Guess what!

Me: What?

Eddie: Chicken nose!

Me: Um, Ha?  Guess what!

Eddie: What!

Me: Chicken cut!

Eddie: He he he he!  Guess what!

Me: What!

Eddie: <pause while he smiles, then the sound of a squeak toy being stepped on> CHICKEN TOOT!

Me: GROSS!!!  P U!!!!

************

While Eddie is eating his lunch…

Me: Hey, Ed…

Eddie: What, Mom.  What?

Me: I love you!

Eddie: <points, attempts a wink, and makes a click sound with his mouth>

Me: O_O

************

It is somewhere around 6:30 in the morning.  I am sleeping and Cort is in the shower getting ready for work.  Suddenly, a wiggly body is in bed with me trying to get comfy on Cort’s side.

Me: Eddie?  Is that you?

Eddie: Yeah. I am sleeping here now.

Me:  Ok.  Why?

Eddie: Because of that noise.

Me: There is a noise?  Downstairs?  By your room?

Eddie:  That noise, mom.  Listen.  Sounds like “shhhhhhh”.

Me:  The shower?  Daddy in the shower?

Eddie:  Yeah.  All that racket in the shower.

Me: Um, ok. Are you going back to sleep?

Eddie: (as he covers himself completely with the comforter) Yes. Don’t talk a me.

*************

As he runs past the bathroom door over and over and over as I get ready…

Eddie: YOUR MUSTACHE IS MUSTACHE!!!

Eddie: YOUR BEARD IS WEIRD!!!

Eddie: YOUR MUSTACHE IS MUSTACHE!!!!

Eddie: YOUR BEARD IS WEIRD!!!!

(repeat, ad nauseum)

(He got this off a men’s hair color commercial.  The actual phrases are “Your beard is weird” and “your ‘stache is trash”).

************

As he collapses after 15 straight minutes of running up and down the hall yelling phrases from a men’s hair color commercial…

Eddie: Mom? I don’t have much energy.

Me: You’re all worn out?

Eddie: No, I just don’t have any energy. <takes a sip of milk> NOW I DO!!!!

(takes off again)

*************

As we curl up together in my chair before bedtime.

Eddie: (leans in very close) Mom? I wanna tell you an escret.

Me:  A what?

Eddie: no a EE-SCRET!

Me: A secret?

Eddie: Yup. I wanna tell you one.

Me: Ok, do it.

Eddie:  (all whispery and close to my ear) I yuv you, mommy.

Me: Oh Eddie.  I have an escret for you too.

Eddie: What?

Me: (in his ear) I love you too.  Forever and ever.

Eddie: that’s a YONG time, mom!  Ha ha ha ha!

Me:  It sure is, bud.

“I like your dance tricks. Yook at my dance tricks.”

Birthday BOOM!

Normally on Saturday I would send you elsewhere on the internet.

Not today.

Today is my first baby’s birthday.

Eddie is three today.

Well, at 4:51pm today he will be three.

If you want to get technical.

at 6 days

today we will eat all the things Eddie loves.

watermelon, pancakes, cupcakes, and apple juice.

at one year

today we will do the things Eddie loves.

bicycle, balloon fights, tickle fights, and bath time.

at 2 years

today there will be presents and singing and dancing.

and so many hugs.

at 2 years and nine months

The words on this blog will live on after I am gone.

When Eddie is old enough, he will read my words.

He will read yours as well.

Your comments will forever be linked with my writing.

soooo excited!

Won’t you join me in wishing my sweet Eddie Bear a happy third birthday?

It doesn’t have to be a long message, just a simple, “happy birthday” will do.

Someday he will read your words.

And he will know.

The internet loved him and his family.

Happy Birthday, Edward Steven.

We ALL love you.

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