Three year olds, eh?
*pours large glass of brandy*
I am fiercely proud of my three year old wonder, all babyish round cheeks and vehement vigour pouring from determined eyes. Her timid shyness, her determination, the way she will place one chubby little hand over my mouth if I’ve been talking to anyone that isn’t her for longer than she approves of.
I love the way that she sees the world and I love the world that is only hers to see, the one that exists nowhere but inside her mind where she is queen and her toys talk and run and jump and the only limits are those of her imagination. Only recently has she developed attachments to teddy bears and although her favourites change almost daily she will pick up last weeks best friend and embrace it as if they had never been parted.
Sat astride my hip, one hand through the hair at the nape of my neck and the other clutching Amy. Amy the IKEA rabbit who I frequently have to hold animated conversations with, Amy who is ‘actually quite very soft and tuggley really’ and who is easily the naughtiest inanimate object I’ve ever met because ‘it wasn’t me Mummy, Amy did doing that and now he is sad because he is very naughty. Naughty Amy. Tell him off Mummy.’ …Amy is also a boy.
Amy becomes the subject of a typical three year old exchange with the friendly bloke behind the shop counter. Shyly at first – but only at first – she looks out from beneath her golden fringe and tells him Amys name and that Farver Kissmass bringed him for her, and I have one of Those Moments because woah, I am a parent to this little chocolate eyed creature and she’s so grown and wonderful and I’m so proud of this madcap conversation that I am a spectator to.
‘Amy did bouncing all the way here because rabbits are good at bouncing.
I can do bouncing too.
And then he ate some carrots because rabbits like carrots and I was giving him carrots in the car.
But Amy doesn’t eat carrots…He eats bones.’
Amazing how abruptly a conversation can end, isn’t it?
Alongside the imagination and the bone eating and the mispronunciations is the unbridled emotion, my god, the EMOTION. Passionate and wild, and the most unpredictable thing that I have ever encountered. It doesn’t just drip or slowly build, oh no, it smacks full force and all at once and out of nowhere, it sucks the air from the room and the breath from my body with its sheer potency.
The life of a three year old, as amazing and fun and easy as it all seems on the surface must actually be pretty frustrating. Such a desperate desire to do all of the things and do them by myself and on her own terms and so many nos and be carefuls and please sweetheart, no more grabbing Mummys boobs and shouting BEEP BEEP in public it’s not nice. I understand that she gets cross, I really do. I understand and I envy the absolute contempt that she greets her dinner with because WHY IS THE JUICE IN THE BLUE CUP I WANT THE RED CUP AND OMG THE PEAS ARE TOUCHING THE POTATO MY LIFE IS RUINED.
I get it, but I have no idea what to do with it – with her– when she turns into this flailing ball of palpable emotion or anger or fear or rage or frustration or love. I admire it and I admire the tears that stream down her pink cheeks when she laughs so, so hard or when she is just so happy that they cannot be contained.
It’s the other stuff that scares me a bit.
I can’t remember the last time that I dealt with my own fear or anger or sadness in any way that wouldn’t have a psychotherapist carving ‘unhealthy’, ‘self-loathing’ or ‘destructive’ with black biro and wiry handwriting onto a crisp sheet of A4.
So how on earth do I teach her to deal with hers?