Convos with my
twothree-year-old is one of my guilty pleasures. The sheer irrationality of small children’s minds never ceases to amaze me. The older my children get, the more rational they appear to be, but sometimes this is deceptive.
My older one asks a lot of questions. We drive past a donut shop on the way to drop off his brother at preschool and we have never been inside. Apparently I told him months ago that one day we would go in for donuts. Yesterday he spied the huge sign and asked me when we could go in. I told him that since Bubba (his grandfather) is coming to town in a few days, he could take him and his brother because he loves donuts.
How do you know Bubba loves donuts?
Because I know my father pretty well. I know lots of things about him.
Well, you don’t know me very well, Mom.
Really? I don’t?
No. There are a lot of things about me that are mystic.
Yep. Very mystic.
Getting to know my children often includes things that are not, or were not, of interest to me. For example, spiders. Scorpions. Snails. And the most recent obsession, sharks. Tiger shark. Reef shark. Mako shark. Hammerhead. Great white. Orca. Megalodon (look it up). We talk sharks every day. EVERY DAY. Did you know that there are over 470 distinct types of shark?
Getting to know my little guys involves being silly and often pretending to be a sinking ship. Not on a sinking ship, but the actual ship. It requires tremendous patience (of which I sometimes run out). It thoroughly entertains and exhausts me on a regular basis, unlike, say the getting-to-know-you process that one engages in with a new partner. Then, it’s all about lust and love and one’s patience isn’t being tested – at least not in a bad way. If you’re interested enough in getting to know someone, the fact that he or she has an odd habit or two or an unusual obsession with sea creatures isn’t a deterrent from spending time with him.
What’s wonderful about raising young boys, however, is that I’m not in it alone. In addition to their dad and me, my kids have dedicated, compassionate, smart teachers. They also have other parents. While not spending significant time alone with them, they do hear and see other adults in our home, at the playground, in the grocery store. My oldest has good manners, most of the time. My youngest needs to be prompted to say please and thank you.
I try to parent positively, but I definitely resort to threats and extortion when it comes to good behavior and I’m at my limit.
It’s that time of year when Santa starts watching.
Navigating my preschooler’s emotional roadmap is hard. I feel like there are hidden, undetonated bombs buried beneath the surface of his soft, sweet skin. They could go off at any time, and I know it. I prepare accordingly, but I don’t always manage to avoid them. In fact, I sometimes step right smack into them and then we both fall apart and I long for bedtime and a book about a dystopian community inhabited solely by teenagers.
Literally two minutes after the meltdown, he brings me a blanket from his room under which I can hide. He is a kissy-huggy kid right now and it’s impossible to stay mad at a wriggly, adoring person who is 40 inches tall. He’s like an Oompa Loompa – a practical joker, merry and mischievous but sometimes moody and a little dark.
And another thing.
I’ve never seen the Star Wars trilogy, but I did once rock Wonder Woman underoos. I know the story of Darth Vadar and Princess Leila and Luke Skywalker, more or less due to being alive in the late 1970s, but I never dreamed that one day I would have extensive dialog on the characters and content of the original trilogy with a six-year-old who hasn’t yet seen the movies. My eldest and I Googled ‘how to build a light saber”, but I’ll save that for another day.
Here’s to donuts and dismantling bombs tonight.