Just four words…that’s all it took to signal my child’s progressive but confirmed transition from toddlerhood to boyhood.
“I need my privacy,” he said, confidently, when he was inside the toilet and Baby E, trying to get in, inadvertantly hit the door. That the door was closed, was in and of itself, a big deal, in the first place. THEN, to hear those words from the mouth of a three-year-old was even more of an experience…a parental right of passage, if you will.
I knew those words were coming though so I wasn’t completely surprised. I just didn’t know when to expect them. You see, just last week, in a desperate attempt to have some privacy of my own, I had started to lock the door to the toilet. After multiple attempts to try and get in, when TJ continually asked for me to come out or to allow him to come in, I had said, “No honey, I need my privacy.”
When I came out of the toilet, I found my son keeping vigil quietly outside the door, patiently waiting for me.
This happened, literally, twice, but that was enough for him to understand what those words meant and also understand the context in which to use them. So, as I said, I wasn’t completely surprised that he said them…just that in reading into them, I realized I am not ready for my toddler to not be one, much longer. At what age does a kid stop being called a toddler? I don’t know the answer to that.
Meanwhile, he and I are having quite the adventure of his early childhood and my own sinking-into-motherhood by which I mean, I am neither inexperienced nor seasoned, just slowly, like one gets sucked into a slow whirling pool of quicksand, getting more comfortable into accepting motherhood for what it is.
None of this reasoning really means that I am any good at it, of course. Anything but. However, I am totally confident of keeping my kids happy, healthy, well-cared for, entertained, creatively engaged, well-fed, and generally, thrive. In fact, I can very confidently say that I am the best at being the world’s okayest mother. I rock OKAY!
The days when I don’t rock the okays are always around though…TJ’s unfathomable-to-adults unpredictable tantrums, unreasonable demands that make-no-sense to anybody but a toddler, or just the absolute pleasure he derives from trying to destroy my carefully potted plants, and the general disregard for any sense of parental discipline or obedience….are all just around the corner….catalysts for the moments when I lose it.
Then, of course, there are days when things are absolutely perfect. I go to bed happy and content knowing that at least that one day, I did okay or even maybe just a little better than okay. The problem is, such days are rarer than a unicorn’s left nostril.
Life with a three-year-old can be very exciting though. Life with TJ, even more so. My little Baby J, for whom and because of whom I started this blog, is blossoming and makes me proud of being his mother, every day. In the same moment that he may say something incredibly ridiculous (only because a child is saying it), I am also filled with love, deep admiration, respect, and awe at how he learned to articulate something so well. He speaks adult-sounding words, forms complex sentence structures, uses advanced vocabulary, and speaks his English with almost perfect grammar and I just stare at him, sometimes not believing that this is my child, that he is of me, a part of me.
He turned 3 years a few months ago and I will write about that in a letter to him in a future post.
My toddler-boy loves to do things independently. All the time. He especially loves doing things he is not supposed to do – like put soil in my pots…why makers of kids’ gloves don’t make gloves to fit a 2 or 3 year old is beyond me! Even the smallest kids’ gardening gloves could only fit a 5 or 6 year old’s hands. He wants to help me so much and I want to let him but I can’t because that would mean using bare hands. Still, we manage with some scolding, some care, and some just ‘whatevers’.
He really loves nature. Thanks to our backyard, he enjoys going outside. He loves hikes and trails and to further encourage this interest, I recently bought him a magnifying lens and binoculars too. Equipped with the right tools, we even did a hike last weekend and went looking for dead bugs.
He is adventurous, determined, energetic, and loves a challenge.
I have many a pull-my-hair-out-in-frustration moments too but like childbirth, much of that is either forgotten or tucked away in the littlest corner of one’s memory. For now, I appreciate my loving child and his unconditional love for his mommy. I cherish his many “I love you, Mommy”, “You are my splendid friend, Mommy”, “You are my best friend”, “You are my favorite” or even the surprising compliment from two days ago, “That is a nice dress you’re wearing, Mommy” or the way he asks me to blow him kisses and then catches them and kisses his own hand carrying my air-kisses or the many, many other ways he tells me and shows me just how much he adores and loves me.
This afternoon, after I had gotten a lot of kisses from him while putting him down for a nap and he asked me why I got so many kisses from him (#toddlerlogic), I said, “Because, one day you will not want to kiss your Mommy and the memories of these kisses will be all that I’ll have”
I quietly smiled and left as he sleepily asked, “W…h….y?”