Monday, May 23, 2016

Parenthood: Week 153 – Turning 3

Tonight was the last night I said goodnight to my two-year-old, because tomorrow, he’s going to be three.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to Ollie turning three. We’ve given a fair amount of thought to his third birthday party, but Ollie actually turning three, that hasn’t been on my mind.

When Ollie turned one, it really felt like an accomplishment. That first year was a roller coaster ride and it really felt like a big deal that we had made it to that point. It’s not that the past year hasn’t been a roller coaster ride. It’s just that we’ve gotten used to the twist and turns of parenthood. Even now with new loop de loops, parenthood may be getting harder, but it’s the same ride.

The warnings about the terrible two’s were completely off base. Don’t get me wrong; at age 2, tantrums are pretty epic. So? Ollie also sleeps better than he ever has. No, it’s not all about trade-offs but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Because toddlers present sometimes to have such intellectual knowledge and emotional expression, parents are sometimes fooled into thinking that they are more mature than they actually are, which leads to frustration.

Just because a two-year-old can count to twenty doesn’t mean that he understands what the different between 11 and 18. And just because a two-year-old puts away her toys one time, doesn’t mean that she will do that without a fight the next time cleanup time occurs. Instead of thinking about a two-year-old as a young three-year-old, sometimes we should think of a two-year-old as a simply a one-year-old with better verbal skills. I’m not advocating low expectations for your child, but tempering them, is sometimes helpful.

More than ever, Ollie no longer feels like a new part of our lives. There’s a moment when as parent that you wake up in the morning and your life with kids feels closer to you than your life without kids. For me, that happened around age 2 with Ollie. Being a father was no longer a new part of my life, being a father was my life.

Part of the reason that I haven’t thought a lot about Ollie’s upcoming birthday is that it feels like he’s growing up too fast. I know that this sentiment is so cliché, but there’s a reason that so many parents bring up this idea. The past three years of my life with Ollie have gone by so quickly. I look at pictures of Ollie as a newborn and that seems like it was yesterday.

More than missing my baby Ollie, I am proud of the three-year-old he has become. He’s my special little guy. He’s curious, empathetic, and he’s completely turned my world upside down, but I like it better this way.

Happy birthday Ollie-bear.  You will always be a blessing, never a burden.  I will always be proud of you, never ashamed, and I will always love.  And with this love, you will never be alone.  

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