Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Difference Between One and Three

Why do one-year olds have to be so amazing?

There's just something about them- the inquisitiveness, the enthusiasm for everything from bath time to biting the cat's tail, the new discoveries they're still making every day... the fact they they're finally past the frustration of being STUCK, and can now get around on their own... the pure adoration on their little faces when they look at you, like you're just the greatest person in the world at this moment...

Yes, I'm generalizing. I know there are one-year olds out there who are miserable most of the time, but most one-year olds I've spent time with have been happy-go-lucky, curious little bundles of happy... most of the time.

Oh, there are those moments, to be sure. Just before bedtime comes to mind- as does just before supper time, getting the winter coat on time, and "what do you MEAN I can't stick that in the electrical outlet?!!" time. AJ would add "making a mess with books/movies/toys/kitchen utensils/recycling" time, but I actually find Ike's destructive tendencies endearing- he's just so happy while he's doing it, and he has NO idea why we would be anything but proud of his accomplishments.

Then... there's three. People talk about the "terrible twos," but Simon was a lovely 2-year old, up until a few months before his third birthday. Now, don't get me wrong- he's still a lovely kid, sweet and affectionate and funny. But life is harder when you're three. It's a LOT more frustrating- you want to be doing all this stuff you see bigger people doing, but your mind or motor skills just aren't quite there yet. There's so much to figure out about the world and about the english language that it's rather overwhelming for a little guy. People don't always understand what you're saying, and you don't know how else to say it. All of this leads to a little guy being sweet and happy one minute, and then lying on the floor in a heap of tears and frustration the next.

Three is hard on a kid, and it's not easy for parents, either. Three is also an age for testing limits and rules, and for "NO NO NO!"

The rewards still outweigh the trials, as far as parenting goes. Even after a long, difficult day with Simon, I can tuck him into bed, sing "Yellow Submarine" with him (not just to him, but with him*), and have a laugh when he burps in the middle of the second verse. He's developing a sense of humour now, and it's great. He's also expressing his emotions more clearly now, and while it's not easy to hear him being frustrated, it's the greatest thing in the world when I kiss him goodnight and he says, "wuv you, Mommy!"

To be completely honest, there are many days when it's just easier to get along with Ike- his age just makes him very likable and entertaining, while Simon's outbursts and refusal to take the naps he so desperately needs can be frustrating, to say the least.

But I don't love either one more than the other. I might like or dislike the things that they do, I might find it easier to deal with one or the other at different times, and I appreciate different things about each of their personalities, but I love each of them like he was the only one. I can't treat them the same, because they're not the same, and they each need different things from me. But love? Each of my boys gets as much as I can squeeze into a day.

I just hope they know that.

* "Inna taaaaaaw... Iwa BORN!
Wivvda maaan... say-a see!
An' toooowd uvviz WIFE!
Inna waaand, summa-EEN!

We aww... yewwow summa-EEN!
yewwow summa-een!
yewwow summa-EEN!

Fweeeeends, awwa BORD!
Mammy mo dem, wivva DOOR!
An WIV! Needa WAYVE!
Inna yewwow summa-EEN!
Wiv! Wife-a EEEZ!
Wunna uzzawwe NEED!
Yewwow! Summa-EEN!"

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