Alice has lately been exclaiming. Her chosen exclamation is this, shouted at the top of her three-and-three-quarter-year-old lungs: OH MY GOODNESS OH MY SOUL.
It makes me laugh.
She makes me laugh alot, except when she is busy exploring her three-and-three-quarter-year-old self and she switches from charming imp to BEASTLY TYRANT.
If you have ever spent vast amounts of time with a three-and-three-quarter-year-old, then you know exactly what I mean. And if you haven't, I'm not sure there is anything I can tell you in preparation except that you should be afraid, be very afraid.
We've been wondering and worrying over it. And every time I let my focus shrink to the size of just my living room, I get really concerned. Because when I'm just looking at my own personal preschooler, the view is nothing less than terrifying. I worry that she is going to be stuck in this impatient, freaked-out, overwrought, tantrummy place forever. That I'll be talking her out from under a table when she's eighteen and her date has just offered to help her with her calculus homework.
A three-and-three-quarter-year-old is vicious rocket fuel and the sweetest clover honey. She is lightening that will arc and burn without regard and then a few seconds later, cool to something so unfathomably wonderful and precious. There are days when the whiplash is so bad, I wonder if I'll ever recover.
When I let my view widen onto the world of three-and-three-quarter-year-olds, I settle down a little. People who know tell me that this is something of a challenging age, and that if we hold on - if we are consistent - if we do our best to teach her to do the right thing and treat people with respect - that she'll pull out of this and become a functioning member of society. Or something like that. What's the equivalent of a four-year-old functioning member of society?
In the meantime, I try to remember OH MY GOODNESS OH MY SOUL as much as I can. Especially when she's absolutely losing her cool because I told her we didn't have any Kix cereal. Or when Chip tells her he can't sing the ABC song in Elmo's voice for the 40th time in a row. Or when it's the end of the world, to a three-and-three-quarter-year-old.
Oh my goodness oh my soul, indeed.