It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done one of these posts–probably because I’ve been SO awful about writing down the things that Jake says and does. You know what else has been at the bottom of my to-do list, nagging and gnawing away at me? Jake’s baby book. (Or Teddy’s, for that matter!) How cruel is it to ask a mom to document the first year of her child’s life when said year will also be the most physically taxing year of parenthood? (Not to mention, Jake’s baby book has also been missing ever since I moved him into his “new” room–nearly a year ago! I’m sure it will turn up shoved behind a dresser or underneath a piece of furniture, but at the moment, I can’t place it.) Anyways…my hope is that the memories I record in these posts will be just as precious as the pages of a baby book–one day!
Caution: Threenager Ahead
I’ve seen so many posts from other moms about their three-year-olds being “threenagers,” and I kept thinking, “I thought twos were supposed to be terrible?” Doesn’t that mean that threes are supposed to be blissful by comparison? Apparently not. Jake is T-minus one month away from turning three, and the threenager attitude has already begun. It is distinctly different from terrible twos–less tantrum-ish, more sophisticated rebellion–such as logical reasoning, argument, negotiation, and a near-constant foul mood.
For example, two-year-old Jake might:
- cry for seemingly no reason
- collapse onto the floor as if his legs suddenly can’t hold his weight
- emit a primal scream that would startle even the most veteran of jungle explorers
This newer, almost-three-year-old Jake might:
- question “but why?” when issued a command
- counter “how about something else” when given a request
- make requests and commands of his parents in an authoritative tone (usually ending the commands with “right NOW!”)
- tell his parents that they’re “about to get a spank” when they don’t comply with said requests
- yell “go away” and slam the door, shutting himself up in his room to sulk
Jake is still in kind of an in-between phase, so sometimes I get two-year-old behavior from him and sometimes I get three-year-old behavior. Sometimes he is having a logical, reasonable conversation with me (three-year-old style) and he suddenly gets so upset that he loses his words, preferring to cry or scream instead of simply telling me what he wants. Whether I get two-year-old Jake or three-year-old Jake, one thing is certain: he seems to be angry much of the time. At least several times a day, in between bouts of being rapturously happy (which I suppose meshes with the whole moody teenager analogy). Yes, these are the golden years which everyone assures me I will look back on and miss one day. 😉
An Not-So Expert Negotiator
Jake loves to turn everything into a negotiation now. Dinner time, potty time (which we are still working on by the way, and no nearer success than we were back in January), play time. It’s like he’s constantly sizing up the situation and determining how he can get something out of it. Case in point:
Justin at dinnertime: “Jake, eat your green beans.”
Jake: “How about just one green bean?”
Justin: “You need to eat at least three.”
Jake: “How about eat three and get a cookie?”
Rachel: “How about eat FIVE and get a cookie?”
Jake: “How about SIX green beans?”
Justin and Me: exchange a confused look
It’s okay…we don’t mind his weird lapses in logic during a negotiation. He has plenty of time to hone that craft. I can already tell we’re going to have our work cut out for us in the years to come!
Dreaming and Imagining
As Jake nears three, he is also becoming more sophisticated in the way that he plays. For a long time I would get him together with his little church friends for play dates, and they would really just play near each other, showing more interest in the toys than each other. Now he’s starting to interact more while he plays, and he quickly learns names in day care situations and calls his friends across the room to come and join him. It’s so fun to watch him play!
Sometimes when Jake is playing by himself, I hear him talking out loud about what he is doing. Occasionally he’ll ask himself a question (usually a question that I have asked him many times before, like, “Do you want to build a tower?” or “What should we do next?”) and go ahead and answer it, which would be super creepy if he was older, but at this age it’s really cute. I think it’s just his way of practicing conversation. Or our house is haunted and he’s talking with a ghost…
Jake has also very recently started imagining things, which is so exciting to me because I have always had an overactive imagination, even into my adulthood (I am definitely a “kindred spirit” of Anne Shirley’s). We’ll be sitting at the table eating lunch, and Jake will look at me very seriously and say, “What’s that sound?” I always pause and listen, thinking that he actually hears something, but then he’ll take the liberty to answer, “It sounds like there’s…..MONSTERS in here! RAAAAWR!” (He has been very into monsters ever since I introduced him to the story Where the Wild Things Are.) He also likes to take bites of his food at odd angles, munching away until he has created a shape. “Look! It’s a dinosaur!” he’ll say, holding up a piece of toast.
Recently, Justin finally unboxed a paint-your-own-rubber-duck (a Melissa and Doug creation that my mom gave Jake a LONG time ago–maybe for his 1st birthday?–and we have never painted it). He and Jake painted wild colors all over it together (and gave it black racing stripes for some reason), and now he proudly walks around the house carrying his new painted duck along with the one that we (used to) keep in the bathtub. (It’s a guardian angel duck–the kind that changes color if the water in the tub is too hot.) He has started insisting that the painted duck is the mommy and the angel duck is the baby. One night, before I knew about the mommy/baby situation, I was tucking Jake into bed and he was very distraught and kept saying, “Where’s my baby?!” I had no idea what he was talking about, so I went and told Justin, and Justin said, “Oh, he wants his rubber duck.” I was amazed that he knew that, and furthermore, amazed that he knew which duck was the baby. #parentingskills
I Am My Brother’s Keeper
Jake has graciously taken it upon himself to become Teddy’s third parent. Sometimes it’s actually helpful, like when Teddy (who has just recently started properly crawling on his knees) is cruising around on the floor and putting yucky things in his mouth. Jake will say, “No, no Teddy!” and take it away from him. But he also has the same response if Teddy touches any of Jake’s toys (and ALL of the toys in our house belong to Jake, apparently–even the baby rattle). We’re working on the sharing thing, but you know–threenagers…
Oftentimes, when we’re playing, I’ll make a point to include Teddy in what we’re doing and I’ll randomly say, “Teddy wants this red car,” and hand it to him. Now Jake has taken to telling me what Teddy wants (“No momma! He wants the YELLOW car!”) and switching them out. But you know, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jake is using the system to his advantage…
I know that once Teddy is old enough to argue and fight back, these two are really going to be at each other’s throats. But I’m still hoping that they’ll be best buddies. As of right now, there is no one who can make Teddy laugh as much as his brother Jake. There are days when Teddy is fussy and crying for hours, and I wonder if he needs a nap or some TYLENOL or something, and then big brother Jake comes along and suddenly Teddy feels fine and he’s smiling and laughing and having a great time. I ❤ these brothers!