I will not be the first or the last parent to note that, even though he talks constantly, I often times don’t know what’s happening inside my kid’s brain. Nor does he, I suspect.
Logic doesn’t really apply to three-year-olds. I get that. And yet…
Declan probably went two months–both night and day– without having an accident. This past week, he’s had an accident every night and a few during the school day. Why?
For the most part, he listens as well as a three-year-old can, follows instructions as well as a three-year-old could be expected to, and generally behaves in a way that (for three-year-olds) is considered mature. This past week has been different. It feels like I have to hold him up, put my face in front of his, make him look me in the eye, tell him what I want to tell him, then ask if he understands. Of course, I did this the other night and asked if he was listening and to his credit he flat out told me “No.”
Why, after weeks of relatively drama-free school drop-offs did Monday’s suck the big one, with tears and accusations and theatrics? And was it really triggered by his concern that he didn’t brush his teeth (which he actually did) or wash his hands. Really?
What’s all that tell me? He’s going through SOMETHING. What it is, I have no idea. Does he realize he’s about to have a baby sister? I mean, really realize it? Is it a delayed reaction to us going to New York for a few days without him? Is it a developmental leap that limits his focus and patience for the mundane every day stuff like sitting on the potty or listening to Mom and Dad?
I don’t know. I have a feeling I’ll spend the next few decades trying to fit puzzle pieces like this into some coherent whole that tells me why my kids are doing what they do and how, if at all, I should respond to it.
I think the important part is just acknowledging that there may be forces beyond our control and vision, his and mine. And we have to trust the process. Parenting is a long game. It’s like investing. You don’t pull your money out of one stock and put it into another one just because of one bad day on Wall Street.
So we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, getting up to change the sheets every night or repeating ourselves 30 times until this phase passes. And then we’ll look back and go, “boy, wasn’t that weird?”
Problem being that, in a few months, we won’t just have one kid going through these phases. We’ll have two. Which means…
Well, it means a lot more to ponder. With a lot less sleep.