The rise of the Threenager
Three, it turns out, is not the magic number.
On the eve of Xav’s third birthday Mr T and I were pretty smug. We’d got through the not-so-terrible-twos pretty much unscathed and were practically high-fiving ourselves for signing out of the phase that everyone warns you to dread with not much more than a handful of ‘terrible’ epsiodes.
Enter: The Threenager.
Almost overnight, our sweet, sensitive and gentle soul went all Jekyll and Hyde on us.
This is kind of like that. Original Xav is still there, but with a new, slightly edgier alter ego whose sole raison d’etre, it would appear, is to outwit me. Each day, they both put in multiple appearances. They look the same, but they’re not the same. And you never know when either one is on duty.
Now, sharing is most definitely not caring. Sharing is a green light to go bat-s%*t crazy.
Incessant negotiations on every. little. thing. are the order of the day.
And what’s with the irony of taking an age to do anything I ask but then in the next breath demanding that we go to the playground NOW on repeat because going in 10 minutes is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE, MOTHER?!?
Here’s the best one. The mother of all Threenager traits that sends me running for The Priory in my mismatching pyjamas. The changing of his mind, only for it to be changed back again within approximately seven seconds. “Mummy….I want to go swimming.” (X 7,635 over four days.) So I plan for us to go swimming on one of my days off. The demands for swimming increase ten-fold when the day arrives. We’re half-way there. He starts crying. “Mummy….I DON’T WANT TO GO SWIMMING!” We turn around. I’m seething and warning him that he’s made his bed. No swimming for you, my friend.
Out of nowhere, he’s become me at 14 (CRINGE).
Where the hell did you come from and why am I so unprepared to deal with your shrewd, canny attitude and (quite frankly) brilliant wit?
I can only assume that the entire year he spent being two was also spent patiently carrying out a long game of lulling us into a false sense of security for extra impact. Well played, little one. I have to admit that’s utter genius. *claps hands with gracious-in-defeat look on face*
Threenager Xav seems to sense when I am about to combust, and retreats to give way to Original Xav who makes it all better with one little look, hug or “Mummy, would you like to read ‘That’s not my dinosaur’ with me?” And once I’ve finished throwing my toys out of the pram because I’m not accustomed to this headstrong challenger or hands-on-hips defiance, normal service will resume.
Yes, he’s infinitely more complex and unpredictable. But he’s forced me to up my game and I’m slowly getting better at being a serious player. He’s also developing amazing opinions, finding his voice, showing strength of character and growing in confidence. And his compassion! Man, he blows me away. I’m in awe of him.
Even when it’s 8.30am and I’m wondering if the shop down the road is licensed to sell booze at that time of day.