“Rain, rain go away, come back another day,” as the saying goes and also as Jr tells us when precipitation forces our activities indoors. Of course when you have a healthy three year old in your home you very rarely have any rain days if (with all honesty) proverbially speaking you have any at all. When you do that’s what rain boots and umbrellas are for. A rainy day is only just an opportunity to splash in some puddles and to catch rain drops on your tongue.
Of course it goes without saying when you’re the father of a happy go lucky three year old little boy you really don’t have any rainy days. With our little Jr now closer to four rather than three every day seems filled with excitement and joy. Having just finished his second year of school milestones seem to be adding up. Time does fly when you’re a parent and the past two years especially have been powered by some high test jet fuel!
Looking back fondly upon two years ago when Jr started his preschool Montessori program I certainly had my doubts. He was just barely two years old, the youngest and smallest in the school at that time. Now two years later he finished the year as one of the tallest in his classroom which included kids 4 and under. I feel that two years later we had better slow down and take it all in for a few moments before the moment is gone. Two years later I think it is time to pause and watch, pause and observe and pause and record what this special time in Jr’s life is like.
What is our Jr like at 3 ¾ years old? What does he do? What makes him go? Let’s see…
He likes hugs, both giving and getting and kisses too, only he calls them, “pisses!”
He loves his family…and people who he associates with family and the concept of family and families of stuff like the weeds in the driveway he won’t let me pick. Every time I try and clean out the weeds from the driveway he says to me, “Dad don’t do that. They’re a family. They need to be together.” What is a dad to do? I pick the weeds at dusk when he is snuggled in watching a bedtime show.
He is very sweet and humble and innocent. Very sweet…especially when he wants a treat! Lately he has a special place in his stomach for what he calls, “Circulo bumpy treats;” peanut butter cups.
He knows some magic, words that is. They are please and thank you and he uses them appropriately all of the time.
When he misbehaves or does something he shouldn’t that forces my hand and makes me act as “stern” dad he quickly resolves the situation by asking me if I need a hug! Now that’s conflict resolution.
I was worried about his hearing because when he watches television he often asks me to turn it up because, “he can’t hear.” I am no longer worried about his hearing because if he hears mom or dad whisper a bad word two rooms over we are in for a scolding. “That’s a bad word,” he’ll say. His hearing is fine.
We’re going through the “I’m just” stage right now. It goes like this;
Dad, “Junior, come here please.”
Junior, “I’m just climbing this 40 foot high fence.”
Dad, “Jr come here please.”
Jr, “I’m just feeding this hungry lion.”
Dad, “Junior can you stop playing with that, please.”
Junior, “I’m just playing with the emergency exit row seat door at 10,000 feet.”
Okay those are exaggerations (a little) but I think you get my point.
Dad can be a pseudonym for little boy’s man servant. I spend much of my time fetching, feeding, cleaning, cooking and did I mention feeding? If I take too long in getting something to our little guy when I show up with said treat or meal or refill he will tell me that I almost forgot. He’ll say, “Dad, you almost forgot,” with a wide grin that thanks me for my remembrance.
He says daddy in the sweetest voice. It would make your heart melt. It does mine.
Now that we’ve established that his hearing is just fine I am quite certain that listening might be the issue at hand. I can be a little slow sometimes and when three years later I suspected that he wasn’t listening to us I began to ask him, “What did I say,” after I told him something. It goes like this.
Dad, “Jr, two more minutes left to play, okay? Jr, did you hear me? Jr, please come here?” Followed by the sound of dad’s footsteps walking towards Jr. Dad again this time making eye contact with Jr and speaking in the same calm tone, “Jr two more minutes okay? Did you hear me? What did I say?”
Jr staring up at dad, waits a few minutes and then replies, “What? What did I say!”
Dad, “Jr please listen to me Can you listen please? What did I say?”
Jr staring up at dad takes it all in then says, “I don’t know!!”
Dad, “Listen, please.”
Jr, “Yes dad, listen.”
Dad, “Two more minutes, okay.”
Jr emphatically, “Two more minutes!!”
Jr, “Thank-you too!”
Junior likes machines, only he calls them merchines. He says he has merchines in his stomach. He also has robots and batteries in there. Sometime his robots and/or batteries are broken. Then he needs to have some food! His words not mine! He also hears noises…in his ears, but that is a story for another day.
Sometimes when he gets a scrape he likes to have a band aid. He calls them boob aids after boo-boo aids. I give his boob aids a magic kiss before I put them on. Then he feels better.
I’ve been assembling a cedar playhouse for him. It came in a kit and it is quite impressive. It has also taken a bit of time to assemble but finally it is finished. One day he was quite upset at me because I wasn’t sharing with the assembly. Yes his words were that I wasn’t, “sharing the work!” He likes to help and has his hands in everything. He’ll easily make a bottle of soap disappear “doing the dishes” or spill half a bucket of water helping to wash the floors but in the end his willingness to help is all worth it. I mean after all he isn’t even four yet and he fetches me the drill and screws, holds boards in place for me while I attach them together, vacuums, does dishes and washes floors and even cleans the windows!
He loves building things. When in the mood he will get this glazed over look on his face and focus on some crazy building mission. One hour later he’ll have made some massive project out of whatever is available. Some of his favorite sources for materials are packaging materials, string, tape and ropes. He is especially adept at building roads and can often be seen with the measuring tape sizing things up. As I write he sits in front of me tying a piece of artwork to his Plasma Cycle. He never stops.
And for every Ying there is a Yang. It seems that I entirely clean up the house at least twice if not three times a day. I have been wondering why this is for a couple of years now? I know that Jr is the cause but when you look in on him he is just all sweet and innocent. Then the other day I was watching him play when the answer hit me. About once an hour he goes on these little spurts where he touches, moves and plays with everything in the house once! Then he goes back to being sweet and innocent. I swear that if you left him by himself in a large manufacturing plant overnight he would have everything disassembled by morning with time left over for a nap!
Once in a while out of the blue he will call me sir! We are not quite so formal at home so I find this funny. “Yes sir, no sir.” he will say with a straight back. Sometimes this routine is followed by him calling me captain, “Yes captain,” he will say with a salute.
When he has something to tell you he says, “I have something to tell you.” It goes like this.
Jr speaking, “Dad I have something to tell you.”
Dad, “Okay son what is it.”
The other day he comes up to me and tells me that we are matching. He says that we both have eyes, ears, a nose, a head, hands, feet and a body. Yes son you are right. We match.
Sometimes when I ask him what he is doing he’ll look up at me with those eyes that say, “Don’t you know?” before he responds verbally with, “I’m thinking.”
In the morning when he wakes he will often start his day by letting me know that he needs to be changed. He really is as honest as the day is long and I hope he can continue with that and with communicating with his dad as long as forever. I routinely tell him that he will not get in trouble for coming to us with the truth no matter how difficult that is (for all of us) and so far so good.
He says that things are pretty. If he especially likes them they may be, “Pretty, pretty, pretty!”
He speaks Spanish (when he wants to) as a second language and in the least comprehends it quite well. He also speaks just a little bit of German. “Dunkenshein,” he will say, just like that. Multilingual he may be but he sometimes struggles with figures of speech. You have to be very careful what you say sometimes or he will take you literally. If you say I’m just pulling your leg he won’t differentiate what the words say and what they mean and might just take a step back as if you were going to actually do so (pull his leg that is). You will never win a logic battle with him because with pure honesty comes pure logic. He is very if not all logical. He also has trouble with homonyms. Currently we are confused with aunts and ants so I say little bugs and aunties.
He plays the violin, reluctantly. He prefers the bongo drums. He also is strangely attracted to pianos but not so strangely he is more attracted to his selection of “noise makers.” They include his harmonica, a plastic horn and the World’s loudest whistle which just so happens to be shaped like a famous blue train engine. He likes to sing but tells dad, “Don’t sing, dad,” when I join in. He can turn just about anything into a drum set and will make rythms out of any combination of sticks, wooden spoons or random kitchen utensils.
He likes rainbows and calls colors his rainbow colors. He likes to go out in the rain with maybe his favorite possession his umbrella and look for rainbows and worms and puddles that he splashes in while wearing his rubber boots…or not (wearing his boots that is)!
He has a pet cat that he adores even when he is stuffing her in a box or lying, er I mean giving her a great big hug.
He gives the neighbor’s dogs treats.
He likes horsey rides either at the store (for a penny!), on his toy pony that rocks back and forth or on dads back when dad is innocently cleaning the floor or bending down to pick something up. He also likes airplane rides in the laundry basket, only he is starting to get just a bit heavy.
He likes pirates and monsters and robots of course. Who doesn’t like those things, robots especially!
He also likes money even though he doesn’t quite fully know why. He does know that you can get things with it but a penny and a thousand dollars hold about the same value to him. He does own some “monies.” He keeps them in a jar. Soon, I think, he will be getting a small allowance. Maybe his “monies” will grow.
When I tell him he can have a little bit of something he will say, “No! Lots…Please!”
When I say, “Okay lots.”
He’ll reply, “No thank you just a little bit, please.”
Then I will do this with my mind, “!!!!!”
He tells people that he is a big boy and has a “big boy heart.” He does.
He is very caring. I was digging in the garden and he was very concerned about the one tree that highlights the area. He started talking to it and reassuring it that everything would be fine. Then he gave it a hug.
When dad gets upset he asks me if I need a hug. After he gives me one I feel better!
If you say he is a little boy he will tell you that no, “He is a big boy. My grandma tells me so.” Then when you correct yourself and tell him that he is a big boy he will say that no, “I am just little.”
Then your mind does this, “!!!!!”
He likes his ABC’s, numbers and colors and refers to them as, “MY,” ABC’s numbers and colors. Lately he will ask me what do those numbers say as he points to some sign. When I read him what the sign says he will only be somewhat satisfied as if he is not sure whether or not I am being fully truthful.
He likes peas. He drinks apple juice by the gallon and is a meat and potato man. He also likes peas!
He has a great sense of humor…even though he may be funnier to himself than to others at times. Still he has a great sense of humor and is beginning to develop a penchant for practical joking.
He is very well travelled. His little passport is full of stamps and short on blank pages. He collects air miles like once kids collected stamps. He has been on three continents, in 6 countries, to 3 Canadian Provinces and every State in a bee line from New York to California and more. Now that is a well travelled 3 year old! When we take a plane trip now he has the routine down pat. Before you know it he’ll have his buckle done up and will be looking out the window waiting for take off. He always wants to go over the safety instructions with me and says, “Why, why, why” to every answer. Then he laughs and makes jokes about the plane crashing. Imagine if you were afraid of flying and you sat down beside a 3 3/4 year old veteran flyer who was making jokes about that!
Sometimes when he is under the weather and gets a cough he’ll brave it out and just say that his, “throat tickles.”
Junior adores going to the park especially when it involves a bike ride. We just upgraded from a tricycle to training wheels and he is a natural. I suspect (touch wood) it won’t be more than another summer before he is two wheeling it…but of course there is no rush.
He has spider strength or maybe better put the strength of a spider. Little kids when given the opportunity to play and develop are so strong in relation to their size compared to adults I wonder if it is they that are in such great shape or us that are so out of shape. I’m pretty certain that if there were adult size play structures like the ones kids played on most adults couldn’t handle half of the apparatus. Jr can flip himself head first over a swing and hold his body weight in the air in perpetuity. I can’t even think about being upside down without falling on my head!
The other day when we received some pictures of a bird’s nest and eggs I showed them to Jr. He pointed out the blue bird’s eggs and mentioned that there was a baby bird inside. I thought for sure at that point we were done for and he would never eat eggs again. No worries friends, not five minutes later he was asking me for bacon and eggs.
Upon waking up one morning he asked me if I was, “going to get a coffee to fix my eyes.”
Potty training has been a big part of our lives the past couple of years. We still have the odd accident but mostly things are “flowing” along pretty well. Accidents often happen because we wait until the last possible second to tell mom and dad we need to go. The back pressure must be incredible! Sometimes if we are having some family time he will make me pause the TV and then we will all have to run to the potty together as if we were racing for our lives. Then everyone has to go, “Woo hoo” as if we had just won the lottery. #1 is always referred to as pee pee and #2 is pooh and, “we don’t do that in our pants because that would be bad!”
As you can all see we have a very sweet, innocent, fun loving, busy, imaginative little boy who is happy and smiles a lot. He is not afraid to express himself or fearful of adventure. He has confidence. When he says he’s sorry with sincerity he can wash away all grief and clean any slate. He is charming.
He asks for ice-cream for breakfast and will rhyme off 20 items that he has played with and refer to them as, “All those things.” He is proud to be himself and happy with his skin just the way it is. He is happy being our Junior.
If I thank him for his help he’ll reply by saying, “thank you for your help too!” before he flashes me a great big grin.
What is our little guy really like? I think this sums it up nicely. The other night I was tucking him in when I told him that he was the best little boy and that we were very lucky.
It was then that he looked up at me and said to his mother and I, “You’re the best mommy and daddy too!”
Yes we are all very lucky.
Peace and love all.