Parenting three years in- all the emotions!
Three. It’s a bit of a magic number, isn’t it? So much has happened and passed by so quickly that from time to time I like to reflect on the parenting milestones I’ve reached as a mum, we’ve reached as a family and those which the Squidgy one is rapidly racing past even as I type this.
Just over three years ago, I would have had so many visions and ideas about parenting that I’ve now come to either erase from my expectations or laugh at. This is our right as first time parents; not to be disappointed in ourselves but to laugh at how we don’t really have any idea what’s coming when we’re about to become first time parents. In saying this though, there have been so many many wonderful memories made which I never could have imagined would fill me with the kind of joy and warmth that they do. I always knew it would be a different kind of love but no words could ever have prepared me for the depth of it. There isn’t an Instagram filter perfect enough to capture those emotions.
Through the three years of really high highs and some real low lows, I have to say that three has hit me quite hard. Let me explain why.
Parenting a Nursery child:
Squidge has gone from being two days in a day care nursery to attending full time nursery at a pre-school linked to the school I would love for him to attend. In many ways, one of the biggest challenge yet. The first half term say an exhausted only just three year old absolutely lose his shit at the tiniest things and me feel like a failure for making him go to school. Everything was an on and off battle for a fair few weeks. Come the second half term, it was like a switch in him and been flicked on to say ‘ah, I got this’ and every part of the routine became smoother. He’s still very tired when he finishes school, but being one of the youngest in the class and having long days because of working hours can’t be easy to settle into. He’s absolutely settled and so happy. He has friends and sings Christmas songs at the top of his lungs, tells me the letters in his name and tells me right off when I don’t quite do something right.
I never really found it easy to walk away from Squidge and go to work. I hated handing him over to anyone ever but school has hit another parenting part of me. It is incredibly weird being on the other end of school life. Going to watch the Christmas plays instead of leading them and getting the letters about things instead of sending them out freaked me right out! Emotional overdrive.
No more nappies. Not in the day nor at night. It’s a victory, right? Yes, but my brain is shouting loudly. “But…you’re my baby! How can you not need nappies any more?” Cue me thinking the world has changed because what’s being rational when you’re a first time parent any way? Perhaps round 2 I’ll celebrate it? (Nervous laughter at the thought of doing this madness ever again.)
The end of parenting for the ‘terrible twos’:
The notorious terrible twos. Two was absolutely savage. I find reasoning with a three year old so much more logical. There was no reasoning with a two year old at all most of the time. The crazy rapid speed at which his speech has developed has helped him to articulate what he actually wants. Less frustration, more actual being able to discipline and explain. I mean, the whole threenager thing is real but the conversations I get to have with this tiny person are everything to me. How one small person can contain so much sass and character, I have no idea. Behaviour challenges are different now too. If it isn’t brought on by tiredness, then it’s usually quite easy to spot when he is pushing boundaries. Persistence usually pays off as a parent, though not always easy or indeed possible.
Awe and wonder:
Whilst each age has its own set of awe and wonder for the parent and the child, I feel like the sense of magic and curiosity Squidge has at three is just amazing. I’m having SO much fun parenting a three year old at Christmas time. I can’t even begin to articulate how excited I am at starting our own traditions and creating lifelong memories for him which I know he will remember for life. His sense of being able to anticipate what’s happened and infer about things is just brilliant to see growing. He fits the clues together and deduces things so quickly; all it took was for his nursery teacher to say they might have a ‘special visitor’ for bedtime stories for him to come out and whisper to me ‘it might be Santa’ and OH his little face when Santa came to his nursery and gave him a present during the session! I just melt!
Three. Bittersweet because I feel like I’m slowly saying goodbye to the toddler years of parenting as my boy grows into ‘big boy now mummy’ and I burst with pride and every emotion I have. It feels crazy that we’ve done with bottles, dummies, onesies, muslins, cots, nappies, weaning and sooo much more. How do we slow this thing down? Answers on a postcard please! (Or a tweet!)