Time flies when you’re having fun, so the old adage goes.
Parents know it also flies by when you’re busy changing nappies, but can drag at 2am when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep.
It’s traditional when reflecting on your children growing up to say something like: “I can’t believe how fast they grew up!”
So, here goes. I can’t believe our little baby boy is three years old – can it be so long since I sat there waiting to become a dad? Now that I’ve got the cliche out of the way I can pause for a moment in our busy lives to reflect on this milestone before I blink and he starts school.
“I’m A Grown Up Now Daddy!”
Three must feel like a grand old age when you can only count to five with any accuracy. (After that the eight might come before the seven, we aren’t sure.) And people keep saying you’re a Big Boy; it’s been happening more since your little brother appeared a year ago.
But you are really still on the cusp and sometimes you like to be a baby.
“It’s just pretend Daddy” you assure me as you crawl on the floor with a dummy in your mouth. But those dummies are proving annoyingly hard to let go of and the nappies only came off in January (in fact they are still there at night).
Nevertheless, I look back on photos, and more tellingly videos, of you at the age of two and I can see you’ve left toddlerdom behind. Gone are the remnants of your baby body; the short chubby legs and arms, waddling gait, pinchable cheeks, and button nose.
Is that the family roman nose beginning it’s long descent? (Sorry about that.) And the bottle-blond curly locks you were so famous for have become a muddy brown mop; we miss them! (And Mummy is determined that the summer sun will give you highlights.)
Your new height (and weight) sometimes take me by surprise, like when you reach the biscuits I think are safely out of reach or no longer need your special step to get your toys down from the shelf. Or when I have to lift you into your cot. Yes, still a cot. Partly because we are worried about potential night-time wandering, but those sides really do need to come off now.
But the biggest change from two to three has been the best. Getting to know you.
“Would you like more pasta?”
“MORE PASTA! MORE! MORE MORE MORE!”
So it was only recently that I suddenly realised we were talking. In actual sentences that we could both understand. Language is such a gradual development that it’s impossible to pinpoint when conversations began but it seems odd to think we were ever worried that you weren’t saying much. I think you were concentrating on physical upgrades. Now we can’t keep you quiet.
The ‘whys’ have begun and they are wonderful and exhausting, and when we play it is no longer simply about lining up cars and trains. They have adventures! The plots are basic of course but they often involve helping someone who has had an accident, showing your caring nature. Or this scenario, never repeated, when someone was going to the moon!
When we aren’t playing and have a rare moment sitting quietly or walking in the park you constantly surprise me with what you think about. You are taking everything in and mulling it over, so we really do have to watch what we talk about in front of you these days! Recently you became fascinated by the world, wanted to see a globe, and talk about where your uncle and cousins live in Africa. And sometimes you are simply hilarious, often at my expense…
You’ve also become interested in keeping things tidy, but we need to work on the participation.
And I love your singing and performing – have we got a future pop star on our hands? Well, at least the BRIT School is just down the road…
It isn’t all a laugh a minute of course. Since I took on the bulk of the childcare I’ve experienced more of the poor behaviour, like hitting your baby brother or throwing toys down the stairs. The ‘terrible twos’ weren’t actually that bad looking back, and tantrums were relatively rare but now you can argue like a politician and sometimes I have to remember and remind you who’s in charge and find myself saying something I vowed I’d never say: “Because I said so. That’s why!”
Is this what people mean when they talk about ‘threenagers’? Well, I’ll take the extra arguing as the flip side to the interesting conversations. It’s better than listening to someone scream.
I’ve always preferred to encourage good behaviour than have to punish the bad so to this end we’ve introduced a reward system where pompoms mean prizes. The threat of a pompom being removed from the jar usually works if some threenager defiance is brewing!
We’ve Been To A Marvellous Party!
So last weekend we celebrated the arrival of our three year old boy with a small party for his closest friends – basically the children of our NTC companions and a couple of other local families we’ve met since embarking on parenthood.
Mrs B organised a wonderful farm themed event and booked the brilliant Lottie from our local ‘Hartbeeps’ to come and entertain the mob. Of course, as soon as she began the show our boy decided he’d had enough and sat in a huff on his own playing with a tractor. Never work with children? The others enjoyed it immensely however and he was eventually persuaded to join in some dancing.
I don’t think we’ll have a party at our house again. It is, as many of you will know, A LOT of work getting everything ready. And as we have two boys whose birthdays are the same month I think we will have to have a joint party next time, probably at a local community hall. Or just do a family day out!
Four Things To Do Before You’re Four
So I am excited about the coming year, being able to take you to more of the wonderful attractions on offer in London and beyond, which until now have often been too grown-up. Here’s my short list of things to do this year…
- Go to four of the best London museums for children: Science, Natural History, Transport, and Childhood.
- Go for more country walks: we have many wonderful places within a 20 minute drive but the double buggy has denied us for the past year. So I look forward to exploring a little more now that you have more stamina. We will still have a one seater with us for your baby brother of course but there’s a great website called Walks With Buggies that shows us where we can go off roading!
- Making and drawing: you have started scribbling with crayons but so far haven’t shown a lot of interest in arts and crafts. Recently you became obsessed with scissors so I need to channel this in a non-dangerous direction. Luckily Pinterest has a wealth of ideas for us to try!
- Finally, I simply want to enjoy as much one to one time with our Big Boy as I can before you starts school. It’s been hard balancing our time between a new baby and you so I think at weekends me and your mummy need to take turns at going off and giving you the attention you crave without your very cute little brother competing for our affections. Sometimes I sense you need time apart…
Here’s to another wonderful year with our Big Boy!