I have to admit, I am struggling with The Age of Impossible. That is, Three.
Although I love her into a squillion million little bits and just want to munch her up, I can’t help getting frustrated by the squillion million little unreasonable requests a squillion million times a day.
There’s unreasonable. Then there’s impossible.
Like that half hour you are desperately trying to get out the door. “I need my flower shoes!” “They are too big for you, and I don’t know where they are.” “But I neeeed [insert high-pitched scream here] them!” “No!” “Yes!” “No!” (Unreasonable.)
And in that same half hour…
“But I need that painting. The one that daddy gave me.” “No, we are in a rush now. I am not getting it.” “But I neeeed [insert high-pitched scream here] it!” “No!” “Yes!” “No!” (Unreasonable.)
Later that day…
“Put the box under the hammock. No, not like that. Like that. Like THAT! Under the bottom. No, the feet. Under the feet. Like a hot air balloon! Tie the hammer to the ribbon. No, not like that. Like THAT! [insert high-pitched scream here] Not there, THERE! [insert high-pitched scream here]”
Even later that day…
“I need the mouse one. No that’s not the mouse one! Not that one, the other one! The other ONE! [insert high-pitched scream here]”
The unreasonable requests, on their own, are OK. After all, from a three-year-old’s perspective, they are not unreasonable at all. Impossible requests – they are getting tricky.
But it is when any request of any impossible nature is accompanied by a high-pitched screech, perfectly pitched to get you leaping into full-blown action, or rolling on the floor in tears that mummy falls into a frustrated, messy, cranky puddle.
The screech. Like nails on a blackboard. Without it, I can handle anything. Before the screeching and the age of impossible, I believed I could solve every problem. Now, my resolve has been weakened, and I am pretty sure my solution will be rejected.
People assume I am perennially gentle. Believe me, I wish I was. But when the impossible requests and the screeching happens in pairs throughout the day, I begin to get my “Mum” voice on, and sound less than gentle.
I hate how I sound.
“Right, I have had enough. No more!”
“I will not get that painting. It’s ridiculous. Now get in the car.”
Actually, I can’t even bear to write it all down. It’s like hearing my voice on a tape recording. Yuk.
Every morning, I wake with a new resolution. Today I won’t get frustrated.
But I know from reading other people’s blogs and status updates, this is a global phenomenon. Mums get their cranky on when they have had enough of cranky children. I swore this wouldn’t be me. But then these words are coming out of my mouth, coded into me. No matter how many resolutions I make, they come, with the crazy three-year-old requests.
“It’s a shame they grow up,” said a shopkeeper, admiring the quiet baby I held in my arms. I nodded, in agreement, because at that point my three-year-old was yelling at me to do something or other. I didn’t want to be that mother who thought this thought. But I thought this thought.
What is it about being three that is so confronting?
Why do these unreasonable requests irk me so? I think this period brings out the control freak in me. Usually latent, it’s brought alive because I can’t control this situation. Negotiation, kind words, hugs…it’s useless. I can’t make my three-year-old say or do anything. I can’t fix the problem, or find a solution to the impossible.
It’s challenging. I am trying to control the situation by putting my foot down, and not putting up with it anymore, no! I have had enough. It’s time to stop.
But I can’t control her. And of course, the bigger picture me knows I don’t want to control her. I really don’t. I want her to be free-spirited. Unrestrained. This is what makes the children I know so beautiful.
Raising free-spirited children, who are now not only free, but have their own minds, and can disagree, and insist and refuse and invent impossible scenarios, which must happen immediately is all very very challenging.
I’m hanging in there, not quite. Trying to get my head around Three – The Age of Impossible.
*Note. Since writing this last night, things completely turned on their head. I had a beautiful day with a perfectly reasonable three-year-old, hanging out at the markets, chatting, telling stories. She’s so beautiful. I really could munch her up. Maybe three can last forever after all. Until the next screech.