I’ve heard a lot about three. Even before I had kids I heard it, “terrible two’s, trying three’s”, you know the drill. And when Jack was two I heard it a lot. Things like, “just wait for three” (what is with moms and saying “just wait” by the way). Or “three is worse” Or my favorite “two is nothing, 3 is awful and four is not better”.
Nothing like taking all the fun out of ages and stages. Cause even when it’s a tough age there is still fun, right?
So here’s what I want to tell you about three.
Three is tough. When people say three is trying they mean it.They really do.
Three is an imagination that overwhelms me at time. Three is an age where boxes become spaceships and stuffed animals are friends.
Three is a weird place between baby and little boy. Three is letting me rock him and needing his blankie. Three is “I can do it myself” and “Mommy, help me”. Three is wanting a big kid cup and being able to use the bathroom by himself (when he wants to).
Three is giving kisses and hugs one minute and having a tantrum the next. It’s fists smacking the chair and throwing books and time out. Three is having trouble transitioning between activities, it’s a constant refrain of “five more minutes mommy!”.
Three is endless routines. Hug, kiss, high-five, blow kisses, say I love you before bed. Forget the high-five and you have to start all over.
Three is Mickey Mouse coming to school in his back pack. Three is “I love you mommy” for the first time and it never gets old. Three is random kisses and spontaneous hugs. It’s “I had fun and I missed you mommy” after I pick him up from school.
Three is conversations about his school day and his friends. Three is stubborn and full of opinions. It’s “I was thinking we would have pizza for dinner”. And “I’m not going to play with him”.
Three is a lot of “no” from me and him. Three is him shouting “never” defiantly when I ask him to pick up his toys. Three is so frustrating that at times I don’t know whether to put him in time out or just laugh.
Three is wearing his Halloween costume around the house and fighting off “Capt. Hook”. It’s rescuing Mickey Mouse from the “tick-tock crock”. It’s adventure’s being played out in my living room.
Three is the slow loss of nap time, where he still takes one but the time is not guaranteed and if it lasts too long, then you can forget an early bedtime (though I still put him to bed early). Three is being ready for a big boy bed, even though Mom and Dad are having a hard time saying goodbye to the crib.
Three is the constant question to me of “Are you having another?” Three is me mentally chanting “one and done” as we make it through a long day and trying dinner time.
Three is him rushing out of his classroom door and hugging me, saying “Mommy I had fun today”. Three is me glancing at the 4 and 5-year-olds and thinking they look so much older. So much more grown up than my little boy who wraps his fingers around mine and asks for his Mickey. Three is time moving faster, and the blurring of those long ago newborn days.
Three is right where we are. It’s lots of moments that I want to pause and slow down and hold on to. It’s wondering if this story in the rocker will be the last one. It’s holding on tight to his babyness and simultaneously letting it go.
So if you asked me what three is like, this is what I would tell you.