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April 6, 2008 / allyo

Aaaahhh…

It finally stopped raining this weekend and was warm and sunny enough today for people to dig out their shorts and sandals and escape the indoors for hours upon end. Jamie and I made good use of the warming trend yesterday and spent some time at the park practicing his scooter:

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He lasted about 7 1/2 minutes before looking up and saying, “Mommy, this is HARD.” So I carried the scooter back to the car and we walked over to the playground instead.

As we walked up to to the big sandy area, he told me he wanted a friend to play with and squeezing down my guilt (I should have called someone to come with us, I should have a sibling for him to play with) I told him to see if he could find one. It was crowded of course, much different than the cold sunny days over the winter when we were brave enough to give the swings and slide a 20 minute go. On those days we were usually lucky and there would be another toddler/preschooler/pre-K-er there happy to be Jamie’s friend for a few. Anyway, soccer has started, and the soccer fields adjacent to the playground were swarming with “older kids.” Oldtimers of about 6-8 years of age. Most of whom ignored my little guy, some of whom screamed, “baby alert” when he was playing on the slide. We did find one nice little boy building a castle (a hill) in the sand and then his dad came over with the older boy and they got involved in scratching out roads and while Jamie was game, destroying their careful grid system with his enthusiastic scribbles, we didn’t feel very welcomed so I redirected him toward the swings.

Sigh. This IS hard. This age is kicking my ass and is killing me with charm all at once. I find myself trying to figure out how to handle 3 1/2 year old aggression and anger (you may NOT hit me, you MAY hit your pillow) and insistence on doing everything “MYSELF” and then I’m needed repeatedly to help squeeze paint out onto the sidewalk. “No! I can’t do it!” Tonight he was mad about having to come in for dinner and punched me square on the jaw. MD was standing right there I and sent the two of them to the family room for whatever punishment MD wanted to dole out while I slammed things around the kitchen, feelings hurt. “He took aim and actually punched me with his FIST!” I told MD a little later. “He did it on purpose!!” MD said Jamie had told him that he (Jamie) was mad and needed to hit somebody. “Oh great, we’re raising a little deviant!” was my response.

This is what scared me when I was pregnant, after we found out that Jamie was a boy. I know nothing about boy children other than my cousins used to roll around the floor wrestling, which horrified me at the time. And I’m suspecting that it’s pretty important that we help him figure how to deal with these feelings. (That’s sarcasm, btw.) I’ve been working on being more patient and using time outs a lot less and instead going with him to his room when he’s flipped his lid and giving him time to calm down and then I try to talk things over with him and I do think some things are sinking in but of course it’s a long, slow process.

As I was watching those “older” kids swarming the park in their shiny soccer shorts and jerseys, it dawned on me yet again that this is only the beginning. (Why am I surprised every time I realize this? It can only be denial.) This babyhood, toddlerhood, preschoolerhood, it’s a blip. A tiny moment that only feels like it lasts a lifetime. The best is yet to come, and yet I feel unprepared for what lies around the corner.

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All we can do is trust our instincts and try not to screw up I guess. And sneak in as many hugs and kisses that we can and relish the time that they can still fit on our laps. What I didn’t anticipate is that the three of us are figuring it out together, and MD and I are growing up right alongside Jamie. We’re just a step or two ahead.

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2 Comments

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  1. caro / Apr 7 2008 7:38 am

    Sigh. So true. It’s hard to believe what’s coming … and how fast it’s coming!

  2. Monica / Apr 7 2008 9:36 am

    Well, I often feel three steps behind so you’re ahead of me! I am also finding this age really difficult — the issues are getting so much more complicated. The playground is more stressful than fun for me…and playdates are often no better. I feel like I’m constantly berating myself for my lack of patience, but I can’t figure out the strategies I need to change anything. It’s SO much work!

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