Well, the verdict is in, and three, even three and a half — almost four, is still hard. In fact, I still haven’t figured out if it is harder because it is my second child going through three or if it is just who my second child actually is.
You see, I know the other side now — five (almost six) and how amazing it is. I know listening, caring, self-entertaining, listening, helping, cleaning up, and oh, did I mention listening. During my first rodeo of having a three-year-old, I was ignorant to these wondrous things. I only knew infants, toddlers and complete reliance on me.
Now that I have seen the light, I cope differently with three. I tire more easily, put up with less and want more. Seriously, why can’t you just be five like your sister?
No, I have never said that to her. But I cannot act like I never wished it. You see this child, she tries me. Every button — and even some I didn’t know existed — is pushed by her. This week’s most infamous example is her taking a sip of milk, holding it in her mouth and then leaning over the corner of her bed and quietly letting it drip out of her mouth. Then she would look at me to see if I noticed and repeat it.
What? Why? When I finally caught her in the act, she laughed and laughed and laughed. I was not laughing. It wasn’t funny to me. And she does this often, tests me. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have walked into a room — after moments of silence that screamed shenanigans — and she will hide something quickly and say “nothing.” Like, she literally says the word “nothing.”
Hello! I know that means something! Gluing blankets to a wall, rubbing slime into the carpet, applying Mom’s make up all over her body, hiding Daddy’s remote under her pillow (ok, that one was actually kind of funny), whatever this child can get into, she does.
Either she is going to be the most creative adult or I am being real-life punished for my extreme love of the movie “Drop Dead Fred.” Because this child is busy. Sitting for an entire movie — heck even a half hour TV show, is impossible for her. She is go, go, go. All. The. Time.
Much like someone else I know all too well. Isn’t it funny how some of the qualities that we have passed on to our kids are the ones that drive us the craziest?
I, too, can barely sit for an entire movie. I need variation, a purpose, a constant doing of something. “Ants in my pants,” is what I was always told as a child.
While I feared she was striving for attention, I think she is simply just looking for something to do. She doesn’t do bored well, but neither do I. She is not a “go play” kid. She is a “give me something to do” child.
She is me.
A spitting image of her father, but an internal replicate of me. She questions everything, can make a potion out of lotion, coffee creamer and crayons, and will be the first to scale the bathroom cabinet and find the fingernail polish on the top shelf (side note, that has been moved).
While I so am ready for the three-year-old monkey business to stop, I am more than certain that our heads will bump continually throughout the years. But, I find myself walking the fine line of managing her rambunctious personality while not putting out the fire in her drive.
Because this little girl, she is ready to take on the world now. Three or 30, she has the courage to try. And I, I have the task of taming the internal tug she feels at leaping (most times literally) at every idea that comes to her mind.
I am raising myself. Every single unimaginative, ingenious idea has me questioning my knee-jerk reaction of shutting it down. Oh, I know she needs discipline — and we are supplying that. Her second home is the time-out chair, after she loses videos, candy and TV, of course.
But I can’t help but support some of her decision making, like her will to crack the status quo. And the part that I am most scared of — or maybe the proudest of — is that I truly think that being three is not the culprit of it at all.
She is a wild one and often will try my very last nerve. But, this baby, I’m telling you, she is going to do big things.
However, in the meantime, prayers would certainly be appreciated.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.