Sometimes in the midst of a tantrum, or when I’m doing the equivalent of mouth-to-mouth on our goldfish because Deaglan climbed into the top drawer of his dresser and dumped a full container of fish food into the tank, it’s hard for me to empathize with him. Yet normally, I’m a deeply compassionate person. Lately there have been a few times though, when my heart has ached for my preschooler. Coincidentally, Naveen’s been sleeping through the night for going on two weeks now.
On Thursday when I put in The Land Before Time II because I needed the break I was so desperately attached to from when he was still napping (he stopped just about the same time Naveen started sleeping through the night – you draw your own conclusions about the cruel tricks the universe plays). I was going to roll up my sleeves and really get some writing done while he watched this sequel which according to reviews was written specifically for a younger audience.
About an hour into the movie, my boy was crying. Not whining, or tantrum-type screeching, but profound, distressed sobbing with long slopey tears. I asked him what was happening, because I hadn’t really been paying attention to the movie. He told me he was sad because Chomper was gone. I held him on my lap and hugged him. I asked him if I should turn it off but he was torn. So he snuggled in the reassurance of my arms and we watched the last bit together. After it was over, he cried some more. We discussed the movie and I was truly moved by the depth of emotions it had stirred in his three year old self.
Then yesterday on our way to the park when we saw our neighbour, Deaglan cheered out gleefully, “Hi Doug, we have ants all over our house!” Anything else you want to tell him honey, I wanted to ask sourly. Maybe you could tell him about the state of our laundry room or how long it’s been since Mommy washed the kitchen floor.
I thought about this age he was. How hard it must be for him. His world is getting larger, no longer just our family circle; a life he knows how to navigate. This week he’s back to daycare five days a week, away from all that is familiar. In three months he is going to junior kindergarten, where he’ll have to eat lunch from a lunch box, be a part of a class of 24, and even wipe his own bum on the toilet.
Oh I know it’s a part of life. We all lived through it. But still, my throat aches for him, for all the changes he will have to endure in the next while.
I heard it over and over when Deaglan was entering preschooler-hood. Three is the new two. As in they should call it the terrible three’s instead of the terrible two’s. They were right. However I think three needs a catchy name all its own. And if we are going to dub it appropriately, we need to ensure that it captures all of the passion, the energy and the heart-rending pureness.
Because the the three year-old of my heart, embodies all of this.
And much more.
I'm joining Shell and pouring my heart out.