Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Being Three (and NOT two!)

You know, March used to make me think of four-leaf clovers, corned beef and cabbage and my Irish grandma. Now when this special month rolls around I have just one thing on my mind - birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays! March is the month that saw all three of our children brought into this world, each 12 months and a week or so apart - March 6, March 15, and March 31. It is an unintentional, very sweet thing that I love about how God has created our family so far. It also means we have two birthdays down and one to go.

Rowan turned three on the sixth and (fingers crossed) may also be turning a crucial corner in his short little life - one that takes him out of the terrible twos (cheers and applause). I know it's more kosher now to call it the "terrific" twos, or so I've heard, but put yourself in a crowded Target with a slap fight distracting you from trying to remember what the heck your pin number is, followed immediately by a lightening-quick grab and dash that lands you stopping traffic in the parking lot, and then you can tell me how terrific it is.

We joke about it, but the twos have been rough. Figuring out the whole discipline thing has been crazy for everyone - yes for us, but also for our strong-willed, independent thinker of a son. Lots of head butting, both figuratively and literally. And we're still trying to nail down the whole consistency thing. Thus far everything seems very situational. Some days (and depending on the offense) time outs are the most effective, some days spankings, and other days a good talking to gets little man right back on track. This has required a lot more effort on our part and being "on top of things" more, but I think we're starting to see the pay off.

So yes, we've had our fair share of tantrums and meltdowns and Target trauma, but what has completely amazed me is watching our first baby turn into a little boy. I look at his curly-haired, mischievous little head on a daily basis and wonder at how big he is. I mean old. The kid talks like he's 3 going on 13. Sometimes it's cute. I walk out of his room after kissing him goodnight and hear "Don't forget to wash the dishes!" Cute. One time he accidentally destroyed an ant hill and leaned down to say, "Don't worry ladies. It'll be ok, girls." He then spent the rest of the day figuring out a plan to get the ants a new home, including buying and donating one. Cute.

Sometimes, though, it's not so cute. My three-year-old already does the eye-rolling version of "Fine!" when he finally concedes an argument. Like I said, 3 going on 13.Yesterday I told him he was going to time out and he yelled, "Never!" like he was channeling Braveheart. He's sassy and he's sweet. He's complicated; he has layers. And I love it.

He's already my little helper, wanting to be part of everything that John and I do. He's obsessed with "smoke stacks" because Daddy works at a refinery. In fact, if you ask him, he goes to his own "smoke stacks" every day as well. He will also inform you that there are exactly five smoke stacks at his particular place of business. This is really important.

But my favorite thing about Rowan has actually been somewhat of a surprise.

He's sweet. I mean tender-hearted, care how you feel, pets little babies sweet. The reason this is surprising is 50% the fact that he was a fussy, unhappy baby that didn't like being cuddled (aka mommy didn't know his body hated milk) and 50% the fact that he is prone to smacking friends (or anyone near him) with the closest sword-like object. All in the name of fighting bad guys of course. And he's loud....and a wrestler...a loud, wrestling, fire cracker of a kid. Essentially he's a boy. :) So to see a sweet and tender spirit developing in this little macho man is probably one of my favorite things in the whole world.

Now that we have one finally coming out of those terrific! twos, we have one waiting in the wings, raring to take his place, yay.  More on that later. But I think we're ready for this one. We've got one under our belt and, lucky for us, it's all still fresh in our memory. Bring it on twos!