“We may fairly and in all friendliness, describe the Three-and-a-half year old boy or girl as being characteristically inwardized, insecure, anxious, and above all, determined and self-willed. One might assume that his strong-willed self-assertiveness..might be rooted in personal security. Not so! In fact, the very opposite seems to be the case.” – Louise Bates Ames.
People told me about three in the way that people have also told me about 14. Thing is, I remember being a total ungrateful asshole to my parents for several years when I was a teenager. But I can’t remember what kind of asshole I was at three. I felt worried, because I thought two was not Holden’s best age for joyful compliance, but most folks explained that three was actually so much worse. To be honest, three was fine. But three-and-a-half? Bananas.
We knew it was bad when we went to Florida, and on a special boat ride we saw a dolphin that swam right up to the boat and played in the waves beside it, looking at us as it swam underneath. Holden, the boy who has taught me about snapping shrimp and gulper eels and colossal squid, turned disdainfully away from the dolphin and lay face down on the bench for the duration of the trip. That started months of crazy tantrums, weird mood swings, and the strange ability to not be able to take “yes” for an answer and tantrum anyway.
Holden used to be great at going to sleep with the light off, but since 3.5 he has been terrified of his room, the dark , the ghosts and monsters he is convinced reside there. David pointed out that if a ghost spent just five minutes in that room alone with Holden – it would be out of there so fast. Not even the creepiest ghost could stand a chance against the relentless screams of “THERE IS POO EVERYWHERE!!!!!!” or “ONE MORE STORY!! WAAHHHHHHH!!!! ONE MORE STORY!!!”
The book I am reading, actually suggested to avoid going out at all with your three-and-a-half-year old. I don’t really care when children have melt-downs around me in the store. But for sure, there are some people who do really care. I can tell because they post it on Facebook. And I know I should just get over it, but sometimes you just want to go to the grocery store and pay for your stuff quietly and not have 30% of the store thinking that either a) you are an asshole b) your kid is an asshole c) all of the above.
Good thing he is so damn cute and sweet and charming and gorgeous when he wants to be.
I was at a parenting book store last week, and the woman at the cash told me that I should prepare for age four, because that is the worst age. I felt like reaching out and shoving my wet glove into her mouth. Don’t even tell me. I can’t possibly prepare for worse. But in the most terrifying moments, I can imagine worse.
And it is bad.
Speaking of bad. This weather. I thought warming up would be a good thing. Not so. Do you know the part in Gone with the Wind where Rhett looks at Scarlett’s hands and he is like, “You can’t front on being fancy anymore because your hands are all fucked up from working in the fields or whatever. Plus you are wearing the drapes.” ? Well that is what David is going to say to me when he gets home from Regina and he sees my soft, useless yoga teacher hands that have blistered from the ice picking I am doing on the sidewalk. Minus the drapes part. I won’t wear the drapes.