“How old is your son?”
Three years old. That means we’re parenting pros. Babies, sleep issues, weaning, learning to walk, potty training. Done it all.
Or that’s how I used to see parents of three year olds, anyway.
Three seemed like a grown up, slightly intimidating age. Oh, you have a three year old. An actual walking talking child human. What do I say to a three year old?
Inside it very much feels like we’re still muddling through this parenting gig. Three years on, and the baby stuff might be in the past, but our boy is still our baby. And as our firstborn, every experience is new. We are still learning, the lessons are just a bit bigger and more child-like.
Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts (usually when doing the washing up, for some odd reason) and I can so vividly transport myself back to a time before children that THAT starts to seem like real life. And then I’m jolted back to the present (invariably by a three-foot presence), left with a sense of surprise and wonder that fate happened and we ended up HERE. With these two.
At times, three years is not quite long enough for all this to seem really real. But I’m pretty happy living this unexpected life.
So, what do I say to a three year old?
I tell you how clever you are. How sharp your mind is. How much you surprise me with the things you know, and the things you learn from listening to us. I tell you what amazing conversations we have these days, and how much fun it is to talk to you and hear your opinions. I tell you about your wonderful sense of humour and how you have come to be able to make us laugh just as much as we make you laugh. I tell you about how kind and thoughtful your heart can be – with your friends, your family, and with your little brother – I LOVE seeing you so full of love for him, looking out for him.
Some facets of your personality don’t change, but I am learning that they grow, just like you. You are still the hugely vocal, ‘shout if I don’t like it’ baby, you are still the one year old obsessed with trains, you are still the 18 month old with a hatred for messy hands, you are still the two year old with an amazing memory for bird and dinosaur types. You are still the two and a half year old who can recognise all the different London train services. You are the just-three year old who can identify the exact type of ford focus with one glance.
Happy birthday, Arlo.