Wednesday, November 9, 2011

holding on to what's important

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.


Amy said...

So that confirms it. Nate's not the only three and three-quarter year old who is acting like that. Beast is a word I'm using a lot lately. But when he's sweet, how sweet it is. Thanks for reminding me to revel in the goodness.

kately said...

like we talked about yesterday, I am soooooo glad to know I'm not alone :-)

tearese said...

my six year old still freaks out occasionally, but now we just think of it as a drama-queen thing. My two year old has also begun the tantrum/freaking out/mean monster stage, and for him we call it the "Terrible twos". So my theory, is it does continue in different forms with different names, but hopefully it does taper off at some point!