When next I make a regular post, I’ll be doing so with a four year old in my house.
I’m not quite sure how it’s happened that I managed to (almost) successfully parent for four years. I’m pretty sure Jetpack would’ve made it happen with or without my own parenting (in)abilities; in fact, parenting really has been more like being caught in the saddle of a rather short horse, dragged along through every single mud puddle in the entire park, surrounded by maniacal laugher. I’m not sure I’ve done anything besides been a witness.
Jetpack sure has done a lot, though. Why, yesterday, he did something really quite extraordinary. I was letting him use scissors to take down the twine spider’s web he made on the stair railing. We had this conversation. I’m sure it is familiar to a lot of you parents.
J: “Can I cut my hair?”
J: “Why not?”
Me: (I don’t actually remember what I said. Sleep deprivation. It’s a tossup between either “because I said so” or “because it takes a long time to grow back, and we don’t cut our hair ourselves.”)
J: “Fine.” (And then he gets this look in his eyes, where he’s paying attention to me but not looking at me, like a dog trying to get away with something. And this is why we evolved so well with dogs. Because basically we’re dogs.)
I turn, I grab something, I turn back. The scissors are hovering above his head. This is my favorite part, though. He looks me in the eye, and closes the scissors and then, as a small hunk of hair falls onto his other hand, says with complete surprise in his big blue eyes, “Look! I don’t know how that happened.”
Me: “You just cut it.”
J: “No! I don’t know how it happened, it just fell off.”
I managed to not laugh in his face. No, I waited until I could go outside while he was on timeout. I’m sure he heard though.
Jetpack’s gotten a pretty solid hold on the blanket fort, on avoiding the sharks that have infested our apartment, and catching our escape-artist-cat (note: carrying her upside-down is the preferred three-year-old method). He occasionally puts on nailpolish and a dress and spins around our apartment, excited by how pretty he is. Then he uses the nailpolish to paint toy cars.
Dozens of games of Candy Land were had this year. Jetpack has cheated (and announced quite proudly that he was doing so) at Memory AND Go Fish. He’s sent endless text messages, with or without my permission (including pictures! Usually of his fingers, pants, or the not-yet-vacuumed floor).
The alphabet? He’s on that. Numbers? Getting there. Swearing? Mastered.
By that, I mean, I will remember ‘til the day I die when he stood up at the table, wearing nothing but those extra thick underwear for leakage accidents, and, fists clenched, shouted, “Where is my FUCKING end woder?” (This may have been when he was two, technically).
They call it the terrible twos, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually the terrible threes. Two is like stepping into ice cold water. Three is like getting baptized. I’ve heard it said that his next age will be the Fucking Fours, and I have no doubt that that is a correct name.
I’ve learned that three was an incredible year for emotions. He melted our hearts the other day, with a picture book from preschool. It had an emoting monster at the bottom, and printed words, with blanks for the kids to finish the story.
I feel proud of…my two dads.
Something that makes me happy is…my dads.
I feel mad when…people take my toys.
They’re not all cute emotions, of course. There’s the visceral ones where he goes from smiling cherub to screaming monster quicker than you can shout “birth control,” and for reasons that are puzzling, to say the least. Like the box of squeezy frozen yogurts isn’t actually frozen yet. Like a hard plastic toy that can’t actually bend that way, no matter how much he insists that he wants it to. “But I want to” or even a simple “no” can turn into an end of the world, post-apocolyptic, apologies to the neighbors, hiccuping, gagging, massive shitfit of a tantrum. And the screaming melting violence can go away just by laughing about farts. Or stinky things. Basically, 100% of the time. Wait until he takes a breath, and then…anyway.
So here’s my wee little ode to three, and all the bits and pieces that such a trying age has brought our family. It was the third year that I was proud to be Dad, and, a wry smile on my face and a not-endless supply of patience brewing, I am happily looking forward to next one.