Monday, August 8, 2011

Because I'm Three

Or, more precisely, "Because I'm FREE!" is what Lucy says any time there are three of ANYTHING: signs, grapes on her plate, train cars - "There are free of dem buh-cos I'M free too!"

Saturday was a super fun party at a playground, and everyone was so busy playing that no one wanted to stop to open presents! I think that's a sign of a pretty good time. And Sunday, Lucy's actual birthday, we went to a little fair-type thing and Lu got to ride a pony. She was so thrilled, she kept saying "LOOK AT ME!" To whomever would listen.

I've been putting off writing about Lucy's birthday because I wanted to write about how Lucy is the person who has had by far the most imact on my life. The little baby that made me a Mama. The toddler who made me a Mommy. The little girl who made me a Mom. But it's hard to write that because I'm not a huge fan of Three so far. I haven't really wanted the record to show that This Isn't Fun. But then again, what is this space but a place to be perfectly honest with myself and drag you along with me for the ride?


Thee is really wonderful! When it's not sucking my will to live. It's smart and cute! When it's not sassy and contrary. Three is interesting conversations! When it's not creative ways to talk back. Three is playing fun, intricate imaginary games! When it's not striking out with fists or feet. Three is having a real sense of humor and telling jokes and laughing hysterically. When it's not "Sorry Mom!" lip service and "I was JUST..." reasoning corrections away.

So far Three is about fifty-fifty, then.

I have to think that some of it is latent Get Used To Sharing Attention With New Baby. But some of it is just plain 'ole Willful Child Out To Get Me Testing Boundaries. On the one hand, I'm glad she's nobody's fool and she'll fully understand something before she's on board with it. But on the other hand, how do I keep a kid safe who wants to just maybe put her TOE out into traffic to see if it gets run over and what that feels like. It's frustrating for both of us and generally not the best time in our lives.

It reminds me of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem There Was A Little Girl: "There was a little girl, who had a little curl/right in the middle of her forehead/When she was good, she was very very good/but when she was bad she was horrid [...]" (Which, now that I think about it was how my mother described ME, so maybe this is just payback. I shake my fist at your mother's curse, Mom!)

I mean, Lucy can be so sweet and play so nicely and come up with the funniest things to say and do. I love having conversations with her because she actually has some sort of insight or pretend bit or interesting observation to share, now. She's always been so verbal and so smart, and right now is no exception. And when she decides that she's not down with something? She turns into a wild beast of evil intentions. Flip, aaaaand flop.

I don't know why anyone calls the Twos terrible when Three ensues. Has nobody noticed? Because everyone I've talked to says that Three is the challenging age, not Two. I mean, Two was all about pushing boundaries, to actually FIND them. Three is systematically pushing at each section of boundary to see if and when they give. (Hopefully Four is all about living happily within them. Wouldn't that be nice!)

Minutes old:

One year old:

Two years old:

Three years old!

My little baby girl. My heart aches it's so full of love and pride for her. Be gentle with me, Three.


Mary said...

Liz. Two is kicking my ass. Three is even worse?! Your post just scared the crap out of me. Also, happy birthday to your beautiful girl. :-) It seemed like a really fast three years!

Elsha said...

Maybe it has to do with the relative age to baby number two? I struggled a lot more with 2 than I am with 3, but when Kalena turned 2, Will was only 5 months old. Now she's 3 and he's 19 months and I am really enjoying this age. Hopefully 3 will get better soon!

april said...

My second was born when my first was exactly 2.5, and until he was a little over 3 things were pretty hard. I really couldn't related it specifically to having two children, or #1's attitude about #2 ... he just started getting so strong willed and we butted heads badly. Now he's 3.5 and things are way better. Hang in there! She's a beauty!

Jessica said...

The comments are making it sound like the birth of a sibling has a lot to do with it. I felt like you were describing my two-year-old (who has a seven week old brother).

Dr. Maureen said...

The worst age for J was 2.5-3.5. HORRIBLE. Mary: My personal theory is that 2 OR 3 is horrible, not both, so maybe you will be off the hook for 3?

Kate P said...

I think three is rough at first but gets better or at least levels off or something, at least judging by the way Youngest Nephew has been (three since March).

Happy (belated) birthday, Miss Lu! (And have a little mercy on your mama, huh?)