Gifts for Dad ➔

The terrible twos. An expression that can fill a first-time mom’s heart with fear and trepidation on the eve of her child’s second birthday. What could the terrible twos possibly have in store that make them so, well, terrible?

I was bracing myself for tantrums of epic proportions. I had visions of my toddler sprinting across grocery stores and parking lots, evading my every attempt to catch him as his wriggly body escaped my fingertips. Yelling, and thrashing, and gnashing of teeth. I was a little bit terrified of what was about to go down.

Here’s what I discovered: terrible twos? Not so bad. Then my son turned three, and things got real crazy, real quick. Terrible threes. That is what all the parenting experts should be warning us about! Age two was a cake walk compared to age three. And apparently, I’m not the only mom who has felt this way. I have had many friends share their own tales of woe when dealing with their threenagers.

Three-year-olds talk. Like, a lot. They have really strong opinions. About everything. They are determined to fine-tune their negotiation skills. “No” just means “I haven’t convinced mom yet.” By age three, their meltdowns are Oscar-worthy. They have another year under their belts of finding all your buttons, and they can push them with incredible accuracy.

With my oldest, I was counting down the days until we could slam the door on age three and never look back. But this second time around, it’s different. My youngest is almost four and I find myself wishing I could stop time smack dab in the middle of all this crazy. I know that once he turns four, I will never get to be here again, living in the wonderful world of three with my son as my guide. Yep, I said wonderful. As it turns out, age three can actually be pretty great. And I have been determined this time around to appreciate this age more, despite its many challenges.

Here are just a few things I love about my threenager.

His body is growing into that of a little boy, but he still has that sweet toddler chubbiness around his arms and legs that squishes into me as he plops himself on my lap for a snuggle.

He tells me “I really, really, really, love you, Mommy” multiple times a day.

He talks . . . boy, does he talk! But his speech is not perfect yet and so instead of there being a reason for things, there is a “roosen”. Cheeseburgers are “cheeseboogers”. His jokes make absolutely no sense but are hilarious all the same.

He tells me things like, “Everything is beautiful that you do.” Best compliment ever, because I think he truly means it!

He pretends to be a kitty pretty much every single day.

His vivid imagination creates the best stories with the craziest characters. By the time he is done telling a story, there have been six or seven plot twists, but they all end the same way: with the biggest smile on his face.

After a car seat battle of wills, he will tell me “I love you, but I don’t love you in the car.” The only way he knows how to be is his authentic self.

All too soon, he will know how to pronounce all his words correctly and will start to say “I love you” a little less. Eventually, my lap will become a little too small to cradle his growing body. He will show his love in different ways, but it will never be the way it is now.

So I’m going to soak up this last month of threeness. I’m going to kiss those chubby cheeks as much as I can, and I’m going to laugh at the jokes that make no sense. I’m going to smile through the temper tantrums because I know, those too will eventually disappear.

And when he blows out the four candles on his birthday cake, I’m going to be swallowing a large lump in my throat because my time living with a threenager has come to an end.

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at maryannblair.com or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.

There’s Just Something about a 4-Year-Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
4 year old girl smiling outside

There’s just something about a 4-year-old. The way their bubbly laughs and sweet little faces still have some traces of babyhood while they’re transforming into more and more of their own unique person right before your eyes.  The way they ask questions about everything under the sun, listen wide-eyed to your clumsy answers, and believe every single word you say. It’s so innocent (and scary) the way they believe absolutely anything you tell them—just because you’re “mommy.”  The way their still-a-little-chubby hand finds yours. And the way they still come running to you for a hug and kiss when they’re hurt. Or...

Keep Reading

Dear Preschool Teachers, I’m Going to Miss You So Much

In: Child, Motherhood
preschool teacher sitting with kids on her lap

Dear preschool teachers, There’s just no other way to say this— I’m going to miss you so much. You are the first adults outside of our family to spend your days with my children, and watching your relationships grow and develop this year has been the most bittersweet privilege. I’m going to miss the bright smiles that light up your faces every time my kids come bounding toward you on good days, and how tenderly you hold their little hands and guide them away from me on the tough ones. RELATED: Dear Preschool Graduate, I’m So Proud of You I’m...

Keep Reading

You’re Graduating From Kindergarten and the First Part of Your Life

In: Child, Motherhood
Mother, father, and little boy in graduation gown, color photo

To my little graduate:  I’m so proud of you. I used to think graduation ceremonies at this age were just a cute, end-of-the-year celebration. Now I see how much they really represent. I watched you in amazement this year. I saw all of your hard work. Not just academically but socially and emotionally as well. You learned to make friends without me there. You learned how to make your place in the world. You have learned to deal with disappointment, stand up for yourself, and the awkwardness of not being friends with everyone. You dealt with teasing because of your...

Keep Reading

He’s Outgrowing My Lap But He’ll Never Outgrow My Heart

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood

He’s five now—my baby, the third of my three children. I feel like I’ve taken the time to enjoy each stage, but no matter how much I try to savor, it still seems to go too fast. Like grains of sand slipping through my fingers—if I try to hold on too tightly, the years just seem to escape faster. We were sitting in church this morning. He had asked to sit in church with mom and dad instead of going to children’s Sunday school. And we let him. He’s gone from a squirmy toddler to a little boy who can...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Don’t Ever Lose Your Helping Heart

In: Child, Kids
Young boy carrying two gallons of milk, color photo

When you carried two gallons of milk on our way out the door at Aldi, I smiled. You insisted to take them from my hands. You’re growing out of your shoes and shirts, and my prayer has always been that you’ll reach your full potential as a young boy growing into a young man.  You’ve always had a drive inside you that is seen big on the soccer field, and I pray you’ll always desire to work hard and serve strong wherever you are. RELATED: Let Us Raise Boys Who Have Respect Running Through Their Veins I pray you’ll work...

Keep Reading

9 is Changing Right Before My Eyes

In: Child, Tween
Girl sitting in car holding stuffed animal, color photo

“You are officially tall enough to ride without a booster seat,” our pediatrician tells my daughter after reviewing her measurements. It was her 9-year check-up, and she’d grown three inches in a year, landing at the 96th percentile for her age. She’d likely been tall enough for months, but I insisted we wait for her doctor’s confirmation, comforted by the imminent discussion on sitting safely sans booster. My girl gleefully melts into the car’s fabric and buckles her seatbelt, flashing a smile that showcases an assortment of adult and baby teeth. Reality hits me like an airbag in the face:...

Keep Reading

Goodbye To the Preschool Years

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother smiling with giggling preschool daughter, color photo

For me, personally, I feel as though this is the first gut-wrenching string I’m letting go of with my little girl.  Although when she started preschool I felt nervous and I missed her like mad, I knew I still had two weekdays with her as well as the weekend. It has been perfect—freedom and growth while at preschool—but still time for us.  School is on the horizon. The year of starting school has come quicker than I was prepared for. It has literally flashed before my eyes.  I have spent every day with my girls since they were born. Every...

Keep Reading

Don’t Ever Lose Your Sparkle, My Child

In: Child, Motherhood
Smiling little girl

I wish I could freeze this time, right where we are now. Right in this moment. Nothing is more bittersweet than seeing you grow.  People say time flies, and I didn’t really know how much it did fly until I had you. Until I held you in my arms for the very first time.  Since then, I have watched a little girl grow, right before my eyes. I watched her first steps. I heard her first words. I wiped her first tears. I held her hand the very first time. She grew. She keeps on growing. I see her smile...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Will I Know You Tomorrow?

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Smiling boy

When you were a newborn, I knew you as well as it’s possible to know another human being. I was your everything; you were mine. I knew what each cry, each smile, each grasp intended. I anticipated your spit-up, your hunger, your fatigue. You grew into infancy, and we remained nearly as intimate: your laughs, your budding motor skills, and your newfound interest in toys were my complete delight. I was there with my camera to document the first time you sat up and played with toys on your own. I knew every single food you had eaten and its...

Keep Reading

Down Syndrome Does Not Define Her

In: Child, Motherhood
Infant in hospital bed, smiling, color photo

Riley’s story starts April 23, 2019. We had opted to get the 3-month scan and NIPT test with our third pregnancy just for the extra ultrasound. The tech brought in the maternal fetal medicine doctor, and he pointed out that there was an increased nuchal translucency measurement and that it was common with different trisomies. He suggested we have the materNit21 test to see which specific trisomy we were at high risk for. We opted for it. I got the call a few days later that the baby was at high risk for trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down syndrome....

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections