I had been working on a post for the past month that had been sitting in my app in drafts, but it seems to have vanished so whatever thoughts I had recorded last month are gone. Luckily I have a few thoughts this month.
Bud turned three last month! Emotionally, this was harder for me than his prior birthdays. At three he is no longer a baby anymore. He looks like a little boy, acts like one, and talks like one. Everyone warned me it would go fast, but you can’t prepare yourself for how hard it hits you. We had his party at a local nature center and invited mostly friends from his class, and some parent friends we’ve connected with since having Bud.
It’s always been hard for me to make close friends. Part of it is because I’m an introvert, but I think that I must put something off inadvertently that keeps people at a distance. Who knows. Anyway it’s so much harder to nourish new potential friendships when you are both raising little kids. I don’t even have time to shower every day. The struggle is real.
Before Bloom was born the spouse and I made a pact to connect with acquaintances who have kids Bud’s age and seem to be good temperament matches. It went pretty well, we had a few play dates before Bloom’s birth and he hit up the birthday party circuit pretty hard this Spring-Summer. Bud loves being social, and Bloom can pretty much be toted along anywhere with little fan fare. Easy baby!
The latter part of the summer has cooled down in terms of socialization. We did go to a farewell cookout the other weekend for a social work friend of mine who has young daughters. The backyard was full of children ages 2-5. When you’ve had people attack you for your child’s behavior in social settings, you can’t help but be on edge and assess your surrounding to determine if you are with friend or foe and if it’s a child-friendly set up. This was great. Social work friend has really chill friends, some of whom are also social workers/therapists. The kids got to run free and be kids. The host was really great with kids and at different points built a fire and taught the littles how to toast marshmallows (Bud was a happy, sticky mess), and later towed them all around in a wagon hitched to his lawn mower. There was another little boy Bud’s age who was also a very active little boy. Naturally, Bud and the boy were drawn to each other. The mom came up to the spouse and I individually and told us to come get her if he was giving Bud any problems. We both assured her that his energy did not bother us and that our son is also very active. You could see her entire body relax after that, but she didn’t fully trust it because she asked a few more times. I’m going out on a limb to say she is also a mom who has been yelled at.
One interesting thing is, both boys completely on their own accord separated from all of the stimulation going on in the backyard and ended the night playing independently in the playroom. I found it interesting to observe (former play therapist, I can’t help it!) that they each separated themselves just before they got overstimulated. Bud played quietly and brought his energy level down. The other little boy lounged on the sofa watching Ice Age and brought his energy level down. No one directed them to do this, and they did it completely independent of one another, but around the same point in the evening. I just think it’s so cool to watch him self-regulate at such a young age.
Driving home from the cookout, I commented to the spouse that it was such a positive social experience and we need to make cool, laid back parent friends who we can have more positive experiences like that with. I suppose if I was better at making friends I would have connected with those parents who hosted the party and the mom with the active little boy, but you guys it’s sooo hard making friends! I’m so socially awkward, how do you say “since having children my small social circle has become almost nonexistent and I occasionally want to interact with another person whose butt I don’t have to wipe so lets please be friends!” without coming off as a total weirdo?
Well this post has been all about me pretty much, so let’s talk about the kids a bit.
Bud: Three is a sassy age, hence the term “threenager” being out there these days. He ran into my bedroom the other night, slammed the door and yelled to me “I gonna throw your clothes on the floor and make a mess, then YOU gonna clean them up!” This was of course one of his many expert level bedtime stalling techniques. Surprisingly he didn’t throw anything on the floor for once. I’ll take verbal sass any day over the raw, emotional outbursts of two years old. After Labor Day he moves up to the threes classroom. I’m sad to leave behind his teachers because they are so wonderful with him, and I credit them with fostering so much of his growth and development this year. But he is ready, most of his friends moved up in June because their birthdays were earlier in the year; now Bud is with a bunch of young two year olds who are not very verbal. He’s pretty bored and talks longingly about his former classmates who are now in the threes classroom. He had so much fun with them at his party, I’m glad he will get to reconnect with them soon.
Bloom: I can’t believe it’s been four and a half months! She’s belly laughing, smiling, looking all around, manipulating toys, and chewing on her fists all the time. She sleeps through the night and sucks her thumb in the morning which is sooo cute! She is so chill and loves her big brother. Bud is starting to interact with her more, but mostly ignores her. I’ll take it.
My cup is really full these days. I’m happy at work, it’s busy and I know I’m out of a job when the grant ends in three years, but for now it’s really good. Parenting is the most exhausting and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. My heart is exploding with love and admiration for these kiddos. My house may look like a combo laundry, dish, and toy explosion at any point in time, but it’s all good.