Friday, March 7, 2008


I have been having some trouble with Andrew this week. He has been irritable and bossy and just a little hard to be around. So in an effort to look on the brighter side, I am offering some stories as mommy therapy.

1. One day we were riding the subway and Andrew was reading off the letters and numbers he was seeing. He spotted one advertisement with especially bright letters. "C!" "O!" "N!". I turn to Dave. "what is he spelling?" Dave replies, "condom." And sure enough Andrew was fascinated by the safe sex advertisement. But honestly, who isn't?

2. Andrew's new trick is to demand things. He runs into the kitchen and yells to me "Open the fridge and cook!" How frustrating for him when I don't cook and just laugh at his, um, good joke.

3. Yesterday he opened the door to the china cabinet. He ran to get me and dragged me over to the cabinet. He pointed to the open door and said, "Andrew in there!" This was a tough call. Should I let him get into the china cabinet? Sometimes parenting is so vague.

4. Andrew often overwhelms other kids. What adults find funny, kids have a hard time making sense of and he hasn't learned the difference yet. At playgroup he was trying to engage a little girl. He ran up to her and started laughing. He used his best maniacal laugh to charm her. The girl looked at her mother frightened. "It's okay!" said her mom. "Just be scary back!"

I remember telling a friend when I was pregnant with Andrew that I felt good about handling a newborn and a baby. What I was worried about was 18 months until about 3-4. We are in the full swing of the 2's and some days I love it and some days I want to hide. But it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Well, not usually.

So much of his little person is emerging right now. The good, the bad and the ugly. And I like seeing that. We are often surprised by what he knows and well, by what he doesn't know. How is it that he can spot abstract letters and numbers everywhere he goes? A paper curled up the right way is a 'C'. If you hold the two ends up of the hose of the vacuum it is a 'u'. He arranges his legos into "l's" and train tracks into the number 6. But ask him to play with a little girl and he doesn't do so well. Ask him what a cow says and he would rather tell you about his firetruck.

It's easy to see what he does well and bask in moments of "we must be such good parents". It's hard to see him not understand how to engage socially and know what to think. I do blame myself. Of course, I mean, I am his mother. But, that isn't very helpful. Trying to step back, see where he needs growth and figure out how to get him there without taking it too personally is tough. But ideal.

It's hard to parent. Especially with your eyes open.
I just hope I am.


Firefly said...

I love the "just be scary back" story. The idea of Andrew assertively turning on the charm, and the little girl and her mom interpreting it as a "scary" act is hilarious to me. To me, it seems like a pretty good example of how gender roles come together on a daily basis.

Susan said...

This was great, Robyn. Just what I needed today. I was thinking of e-mailing you on leads for boarding schools for the 1-3 set. My impressions so far is that age two is worse for the kid and age three is worse for the parents. We'll have to compare notes in a year or so and see if you agree.

Robyn said...

That is so interesting, Susan! I bet you are on to something. I have heard about a lot of stress for parents of 3's. But Andrew just seems to be in agony about not being entirely in control. hmm....

thedanceofthegates said...

One of my favorite stories of my niece at 3-4 years old is how when my sister would deny her something she wanted (say, watching another Dora episode) she would scream, "You're ruining my life!"

What's amazing is that we don't know where she heard it, but it is exactly what my sister was/is most afraid of. As much as she laughed at this, my sister would still have to reassure herself that she wasn't ruining my niece's life.

Kids are smart.

Susan said...

It's overwhelming to parent a three-year old. They can do so much and so little. So many opportunities but so much parental involvement required. I totally understand the pre-school temptation, though we have no plans to go there. Threes really need a lot of guided activity or they go nuts and start ramming their sisters with their wheelchairs--but that needs to be balanced with free time to just be, too. I guess this is true to an extent with all kids but I feel like it's one of the major issues for us right now. I think Joseph was more independent as a two-year old, in some ways. Anyway . . . maybe I should write my own blog post on this topic instead of hogging space in your comment box :)

Tara Whalen said...

Where did you get the cherry paper? Someone came in the store the other day asking about cherries. who makes it?

Great stories. I am not a big fan of the 2-4 years either.

Robyn said...


feel free to leave long comments here. I love them, love them, love them. I love them so much that I have been leaving long comments on other people's blog because I think they might love them too.

You are not going to believe this. Really. You won't. It's stampin up. I know, right? wild. The 'occasions' mini catalog has this great little stamp set (an orange, cherries, apple and a strawberry) and this matching paper. So fun. So summery. Contact your favorite demonstrator for more information. ;)