Friday, October 5, 2012

the three.

I've had a three-year-old for a month and a half now.

At first, he turned three and I was thinking,
"yay!  He's not two anymore. Now life is good.  Now we can just have happy days all the time!"

Silly me.

Three, you see, looks like this:
(just so you know, these pictures were actually taken within 90 seconds of each other)

Three is rough. 

The screaming.  He screams at me.  Whenever anything doesn't go quite his way.  It's ridiculous and tiring and my "calm voice, calm reactions, gentle face" is pretty much all worn out.  Ellie is tired of it too, and every time he screams she starts to cry.  Sometimes I want to join her.

Nicholas is strong-willed and independent and sometimes defiant.
He wanted chocolate milk (ovaltine) the other day so I got out a sippy cup, poured the milk, and added the ovaltine powder.
And he screamed. He wanted to add the chocolate himself.
But this boy must learn that he doesn't get what he wants when he screams. (my mantra, every day, all day.  Someday he'll learn, right??)  So I put the lid on and shook the cup to mix it together.
He screamed again. He didn't want it shaken.  
So I gave him the cup and he screamed. 
And then he yelled "I'm going to drink it and I'm going to say Yuck!"
And he did. After every sip. "Yuck!" Another sip. "Yuck!" Another. "YUCK!" until he'd finished the entire cup.

It would be funny if it weren't so crazy. 

But he's creative.  He's silly. He's imaginative. Every night as we tuck him into bed he says this:
"Good night, Have good dreams, Merry Christmas, Adios, Do some paint!"  
Exactly like that. Every single night.

He plays pretend.  All through the day I listen to his cars have conversations, his toy animals eat his breakfast with him, his "Baserman" adventures. 
When he's happy, he's oh so adorable and I cuddle him close and smell his hair and tell him how glad I am to be his Mommy and he tells me I'm cute.

He really is trying to be good.  We spend a lot of time every day talking it through. "When Mommy says it's time to go home Nicholas will say 'Okay Mommy!' Right?"
And he always answers with his happy face, his happy voice, his eyebrows high--"yes Mommy! I will be happy and I will say 'okay' and I won't scream!"
And then, when it's time to go--he screams.

But I know he's trying to be good. 
I know he's just feeling crazed because he is old enough to do some things on his own, but not everything, and it's confusing.  And he wants control but he can't have the control he wants. And when he has a plan in his head of how something should go, he feels discouraged and upset when Mom or Dad have to tell him that it can't be that way.

So we'll just keep calm, keep teaching him that he does NOT get what he wants when he screams, keep talking it out, and keep praying for a good day every once in a while-just enough to get through.
Oh, and we'll make sure to never take him shopping ever again.
Or at least until he's four.


heidi said...

I'm sitting here thinking, I don't know what to say! Because it's hard and EXHAUSTING and I still haven't figured it out with my children. But I'm sure you are doing your best, a big hug through the internet from me to you.

Austin & Heidi said...

I am laughing and crying in my heart for you right now :) I read once that toddler boys have the emotional capacity of teenager girls. Here's a a mommma's article for your "huh. didn't know that" file about boys. You are a wonderful mother, Becca!

Shannon b said...

Oh dear, that is rough. So sorry! I remember when my kids were going through that stage and watching Super Nanny and taking lots of mental notes (she had some pretty great ideas on how to manage the crazy in a calm, no-nonsense approach). And I remember watching Dr. Phil and internalizing his counsel "kids have to be able to predict the consequence 100% of the time" (meaning, don't give in) . . . . anyways, I just remember looking for the "magic trick" anywhere and everywhere. Sounds like you guys are doing a good job.

And that night-time good-bye of his . . . hilarious! That's the kind of stuff you have to cling to during the ugly, right?