On this day that I dedicate to them, you may be relieved to know it is not always full of airy fairy candy floss, where I prance around pretending everything is perfect.
As the moods and emotions of our small threenager fluctuate, we find at times we must take cover in order to weather his storm.
My patience is both tried and truly tested.
He pushes the boundaries like a curious caged animal desperate to explore the world outside this fence that has been cemented down before him. Guiding thresholds surrounding him to ensure he is kept safe and secure. We think he is a genius this boy, so clever is he that he knows just exactly how to buy and sell us before we have even counted our change.
Sometimes he really gets under my skin, he is loud, he is boisterous, he is at times rough with his baby brother. Very occasionally and regrettably I have to resort to using the naughty chair.
I remove him from the scene and place him on a comfortable armchair no less in a quite corner. Providing a place for him to calm down, removing him also from my anger and pain. I leave him be for three minutes. It really upsets him being here, however three minutes is all it takes for him to return to the beautiful spirited boy we know and love so well.
Sometimes I simply just ignore his screams for another yoghurt or the right pair of shorts that we are unable to find. I quietly pick up his toys that are strewn about the house as he screams that said house down. I can tell when his cries are for effect rather than a real upset. He escalates when I am near and suddenly becomes distracted by a daddy long legs walking across the kitchen floor. How quickly the switch can be flipped. At times when he is really inconsolable I simply just hold him and allow his storm to wash over me.
Occasionally he makes me laugh at a time when it is imperative that I maintain my poker face.
I have to walk away and stick my head in behind the pantry doors and giggle to myself.
I am standing at the kitchen sink. He innocently asks me for water. I remind him there is a cup on the table. He says “No I want water” this goes back and forth for a little bit. I then notice the red pen in his hand, the guilty pleading look on his face. “EP what have you done”………………. The crime can be seen behind him, a red line running the full length of the wall. I thought he knew better than this now that he is three! His guilty look, his large pleading eyes like the misbehaving puppy dog that has eaten his masters slippers. He knew what he had done was wrong and he wanted to clean the evidence away before I noticed. I had to walk away and laugh.
On that day that was theirs, he was a challenge, he tested my patience to the end.
He played in a band with his little friends. He sang Jingle bells solo almost word for word with his ukelele. We took them to the river to burn off some of that cheek. It did not work, he still tested those boundaries.
When you are in it, in the moment so angry and frustrated with their behaviour you think it will never end. Then you tuck them into bed at night. He whispers “sweet dreams mommy” as I walk out the door. You feel guilty for having to resort to the naughty chair that day.
You know it is not forever, it is only such a brief time. He is tired, he is hungry, he is jealous.
While I do try to tame him I actually never want him to lose that spirit he has been blessed with.
That certainty and determination of knowing what he wants and how to fight for it.
His curiosity about the world, his ability to concentrate and listen to every word in the stories we read.
A child’s spirit is something that should be nurtured and cherished.
My job is to be consistent, loyal and loving.
His job is to simply just play and learn.