The fastidiousness of toddlers

I guess three years old doesn’t count as a toddler anymore. But all afternoon he was pretending to be a baby, a fisherman or a monkey, and honestly his personality captures elements of all three of these usual suspects. He is on the verge of becoming a real life preschooler, but his true colors make me wonder how easily he’ll get there.

His older brother, on the other hand, was alternately stoic and silly while he focused on drawing an ocean mural complete with gigantic squid (not to be confused with colossal squid), scuba divers, fishing boat with double motors and a tracking system, fishing rods casting their lines into the water, and Daddy and son catching fish). When I vetoed watching Batman, he decided to watch Curious George. He is a lovely, normal, energetic, kind six-year-old. Thank goodness.

My eldest ate five pieces of puffed cheddar, one large banana and 3/4 of a cucumber with blue cheese dressing for snack. My youngest ate ten pieces of puffed cheddar and the remaining 1/4 of the cucumber. Then he demanded a sandwich “big – don’t cut it” for dinner. Fine with me. We are just home from a couple nights away at the coast, which was splendid and sunny and easy. Today it dawned drizzly, however, and all signs blinked neon “time to go home”. We did so with minor drama and returned home to check on the garden and note how it had changed and why that had happened.

Our three year old is as curious as a cat and as loud as an obnoxious neighbor. He sleeps well, is somewhat potty trained, and likes all sorts of food. But he is as stubborn as a mule and eager to criticize your every move. He is highly attuned to the world around him and if somethings seems out of place, he does not hesitate to let you know.

I can’t stop watching this video of a two-year-old child’s conversation with his father. It’s priceless, perfect, and no doubt you’ve already seen it.

I would never let my youngest kid meet this girl because together they would take over the world.

But I’d really like to have a drink with her parents. Their candid approach to documenting the experience of parenting toddlers is fantastic and hilarious.

At the beach my youngest requested a shirt with a pocket. Digging in the bag, I located one which he wore until it was soaked with sea water and sand and he couldn’t wear it anymore. He continued to request a shirt with a pocket throughout the weekend with no successful outcome. He also desperately wants a belt – a real one like Daddy’s, so he can be a worker guy. He asked no less than three older men we saw on or near the beach why they weren’t working since they were worker guys. Evidently if one wears a ball cap, jeans, boots, or basically anything, one qualifies as a worker guy and really should be hard at work and not relaxing at the coast.

Earlier in the week he asked me loudly and repeatedly about the old guy he spied at the supermarket. The gentle, 60-something woman he had in mind didn’t hear him, and I moved to a different section of the market.

He still calls every meal snacks. He doesn’t like waffles to be cut unless he has specifically requested it be done so. He makes sandwiches out of halves of bagels and toast and proudly holds them up.

He always eat the peas first, then the crunchy pod.

He sleeps with a soft purple pillow he swiped months ago from our sofa. It’s a sofa pillow. And it is now a critical part of the bedtime routine. He also sleeps with two identical blue elephants – he calls them his elefantes. They are worn and supersoft and sweet.

He drives his older brother crazy.

He likes being buckled into the car, but he has a certain approach to how he’s buckled in. He refuses to wear pajamas or long pants. He loves snuggles and will kiss you willingly when asked, but he also sneaks like a ninja (thank you, big brother) and hides when he doesn’t want to do something on his own terms.

Lately he gets really mad when he doesn’t have something tucked into his “belt” (a string or a stretchy yellow band from PT days). Inevitably whatever he tucks in there falls out and the world falls apart. Think quaking earth, tumbling waterfalls, fallen rock.

I AM SAD, he cries. Max don’t like you!

He looks quite innocent, but don’t let that deceive you.

In a word, he is three.

Not that he is running the show here, readers. Our Maxwell is simply, and I quote a friend here, “to the Max”. He is full of life and love and wonder and drama.

I love him to pieces, and I truly look forward to four.

to the max


6 thoughts on “The fastidiousness of toddlers

  1. paralaxvu says:

    I like the way you let those of us who don’t have kids in on the story. You make parenting real and I like that kind of reality.

  2. skpadilla says:

    Thanks, Paralaxvu. I sometimes wonder if ,my posts focused on kids and parenting bore non-parenting readers to tears. But I post them anyway and hope they resonate a little bit with everyone.

  3. luluface says:

    These are going to be great for them to read when they are older.

  4. Vicki Collins says:

    Too true! My 3 year old daughter shares some of these characterisitcs. Many things have to be done in a very specific way or I certainly hear about it. Hopefully her younger brother will be just as full of life at her age. He is already showing signs at the ripe old age of 1!

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