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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Professional 3 years olds.

I believe I smirked a while back when my good friend Nicole shared with me what her pediatrician said, and I quote, "The terrible twos are just a dress rehearsal for becoming professional three year olds." Yep, pretty certain I did a'self- righteous' smirk, followed by silent thoughts of 'not MY kids.' We didn't even go through the terrible twos, why on earth would they suddenly turn into rotten three year olds?"

Well, they're 3 now. And that smarty pants doctor was on to something.

I literally just spent the past 10 minutes in my car with the following three  rants, tantrums, conversations happening simultaneously.

In her carseat, legs flailing, kicking the seat, "But mommy, I want to close the door!@#$ (she had wanted to pull the door closed herself, from the INSIDE, with one hand on the handle on the other hand IN the space where the door hinge is.) Naturally, in my very calm teacher voice, I said, "Well, you can't. You will crush your hand. You're too little to pull the door closed from the inside."And as such, the conversation that ensued went like this:

H:  But I WANT to, mommy. I want to close the door. 
M: Well, I'm sorry, but you can't.
H: But I WANT to. I want to close the door. 
M: Well it's already closed, Hunter, so you can't. Sorry.
H: I want to close the door. {Sob, sob, sob}
M: Sorry.
H: I want to close the door. {Sob, kick, flail}
M: Well you can't. {Now smiling to myself at how funny this conversation is}
H: But mommy, I want to close the door. 
M: Hunter? Is the door open or closed right now?
H: Closed? 
M: Okay then, it's already closed, so you can't close it again, can you?
H: No.
M: Okay then.


H: But mommy, I want to close the door.


Meanwhile, at the same moment that my conversation with Hunter is happening, Colton is in the very back row of the Burb screaming, "I push the red button. I push the red button." (He wanted to turn Grammy's TV off, but I ended up doing it for him after 3 of my requests for him to turn it off were ignored.) As such, amidst the "I want to close the door rant", I am also hearing this:

C: I PUSH the RED button. 
C: I'm sad. 
C: Mommy, I'm sad. 
M: I'm sorry you're sad, Colton.
C: I push the red button. The red one. 
M: Well I asked you to push it at Grammy's house and you didn't listen, so I did it for you.
C: NOOOO Mommy!! I push the red button. 
M: Sorry you're sad buddy, but it 'aint gonna happen."
C: MOMMY! NO! I push it!!
M: Sorry Colton. I wish you had listened earlier.
C: I push the red button!!

(It's at this point, that I am of course wishing for a camera inside my car to capture this raucous.)

Now on to Ethan, who sits next to the window. Dude is using his monkey toes to push the window button sending his window up and down, up and down.

M: Ethan! Get your toes off the button.
E: No mommy! 
M: Ethan, stop opening the window.
E: No!
M: The window stays up right now, buddy. (And I proceed to lock it so that he can't roll it down anymore.)
E: NO MOMMY!! Ethan's window down!
M: Sorry buddy. Not right now.
E: Waaaaaaaaa!!!
M: Sigh....

After the ranting had somewhat subsided and we were about 1 minute from home, I heard Hunter's tiny little voice say,  "But mommy, I'm big now." And again, I was immediately reminded that I am currently raising 3 'wanna-be-big' little people. And so much of their (and eventually my) frustration stems from wanting to do 'everything' by themselves.

Their attitudes, their need for independence and their determination are FAR bigger than they are. They are testing the limits at every juncture and how we respond is, in fact, so important to the lesson they may or may not learn.

They're stubborn. (Colton throws himself to the floor with enough gusto to win an academy award when he's told 'no'. )

They're sassy (Recently I said to Hunter who was acting just horribly at Target, "Hunter? Who are you today? I don't understand why you're acting this way." And Hunter, hands on her hips, in her mightiest voice replied, "Who you think are YOU?"

And they're bossy. (Refusing to eat dinner, but also refusing to let a sibling eat it.)

I won't lie. They are exhausting.

But it never fails. Just when we're at our wits' end, they redeem themselves when I walk into the play room and see this-

"Hugs? Ethan, can I have a hug?" "Colton, you want a hug?"

They have the greatest of love/hate relationships. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. But no matter what, they are forever joined by a bond I often WISH I could better understand. And at the end of the day, I know that no matter how loud they scream and how long they cry, there will be smiles and laughter and stories of funny things they say and do. And those will always outweigh the crud.

And I am SO glad they have one another.
But I'm even more glad that I have them.

{By the way, did you know they turned three? 2 months ago....) Right. I have pictures! Coming soon!


Anabelle said...

Run away. Run FAR away! :)

Jaxon know exactly when to come over and say, "I love you, Mama. Can I have a squeeze? Thank you for ___."

Darn 3s!

Auntie Val said...

This blog takes us right back to blog #1....You are SUPER MOMMY! You handled each tantrum and rant with patience and didn't give in. They will give up trying and this stage will end because they know Mommy doesn't give in. Good luck with professional threes! Always worse than terrible twos. Good job Mommy. Thank goodness you were blessed with patience. They are just testing the waters...Very smart, loving and fun little people you are blessed with. Love you all. :)

Burklund Blogger said...

Yep- my 2 1/2 year old does the exact same thing. It's fun.

Jeremy DeBauche said...

Sounds like you should sign them up for the debate team. I can only imagine the thoughts going through your head as these three conversations were going on simultaneously. Setting up a camera in the car would be a grand idea. In fact, I may take that as a to-do for myself. By the way, Meg started crying when she read your post. Not because it was sad, quite the opposite in fact, but because she realized that each day our little girls get a little bit bigger and we'll never get yesterday back. Two days down, 29 to go! Keep it up!

Kalle said...

I'm pretty sure I have that exact same close the door conversation with my almost 3 year old son EVERY freakin day.! :) I love that quote that terrible 2s are dress rehearsal - Brilliant.

Ami, your little people are just precious. Thanks for sharing their stories with us.

Nicole said...

Ummm...... yeah...... I am not gonna say "I told you so" cuz I love you too much. At least you done with the threes all at once (okay good and bad), but mine have been back to back and that my friend has also been exhausting:)Keep being the awesome mom you are and you will get through this!

Abbey said...

Love that you are blogging so much! Your posts always make me smile and laugh out loud. I also just love your pictures. Your three are too cute for words and I love seeing their love/interaction with each other. Excited to read more!!:)

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