Thursday, April 14, 2011


Three-year-olds are the most confusing creatures.

"Push-pull" defined.

So many things are happening for my growing boy.

In the past 6 months he has given up his binky, his crib, and his nap. He's tolerated the emerging strong personality of his wee brother, witnessed a major home project, and upgraded to solo swimming lessons and solo visits to his babysitter's house.

He's experimenting with his emerging imagination.

He's testing every limit.

He wants to do everything by himself.

He's pushing hard against Hubs and I with yelling, rudeness, hitting, kicking and deliberate disobedience. Testing, always testing. They say "No." but do they really mean it? What happens if I do it anyway?

He's pulling away. Stretching father and father. He insists on opening the door, walking out first, leading the way -  even when he doesn't know where we're going, or even if we're only going to the bathroom.

He even tries to tell us which way to drive the car, "Not dis way! Dat way!"

But, where there's a push there must also be a pull. 

He is so conflicted - dying to be a big boy but unable to completely leave behind the familiarity of babyhood.

He's insisting we carry him around a lot. He no longer likes me to leave him, even in familiar environments, "Mama will stay wif you."

Every day he says, "We're not going to swimming." He doesn't want to go anymore, he's nervous.

He wants to stay by my side.

And here is where I struggle as a parent.

Do I push him?

Do I let him regress a little in some areas while he tests out his wings?

Am I coddling him?

Am I being too hard on him?

Am I allowing him too much control? Not enough? How do I even know?

For now I'm going with my heart/gut, which is telling me to give him space - space to push away when he's ready and space to land softly in my lap, arms, or by my side when he needs that instead. I'm trying to let him lead the way in all areas where I can - guiding when he needs help, but also trying to allow him to show me that there's more than one way to get things done.

It's hard. He's hard. The push/pull is exhausting. I-want-you-where-are-you-get-away-from-me-pick-me-up-put-me-down-I-do-it-myself!

To all of you who have ever hung around a three year old: advice? Thoughts? Insight? Inspiration?


  1. all part of life's little journey..i see great things for the little man ..he will get it together all too soon and you will be longing for the 3's again

  2. I agree with your plan about letting him have what he needs, but I can imagine how frustrating that would be. But enjoy your snuggles and soft landings :)

  3. Going with your gut is a good idea. Giving him a little space with momma right there to lean on. I get hit, kicked, screamed at a lot too. The funny thing is I'm experiencing the same thing with 14 year old Cam right now...needing space, but needing mom close by. Although he doesn't hit or kick me, thank goodness!

  4. I am so with you on this one mama as I am going through this as well. I thought my kid was the only one who told me how to drive to. "No Dat way" and literally gets ticked when you don't go that way. They just don't understand and I have found myself learning a whole other level of patience I didn't even think was possible. Bless your heart as I know this is not easy.

  5. *Sigh* Blogger just erased my response when I tried to post it. The gist of it was, I think it's a combination of being three and their specific personalities. LB does the same stuff- sometimes it's like living with a bipolar mental patient! But for whatever reason they are the way they are, it IS confusing and exhausting for the mamas!

  6. Sending hugs. I think you've nailed it with the let him fly, but have a safe landing in case he needs it. Your a good Mamma!! *hugs*