I don’t want to say this too loudly, but I think my three-year-old has been switched for a calmer, happier, identical-looking three-year-old. It’s been about 36 hours since he has cried or melted down about something. I’ve witnessed him speaking calmly to his vehicle-usurping little brother, instead of shrieking our windows to shards. He’s voluntarily put his toys back, and for the first time was the one exempted from the afternoon nap. Oddly, it’s also been about 36 hours since I’ve felt like my head was going to explode.
While Ian slept, Isaac requested to go outside, saying, “Let’s go out and watch baby Elijah play. He’s such a sweet little guy.” He suggested we bring cars and books and a blanket, but instead, we stepped out the door with a big blue ball. The storm door had barely slammed shut when he said, “It’s too hot. Let’s go inside.” So we headed through the house and the little guys played in the shaded sand box on the front porch.
After they decided to come inside and play kitchen, Isaac began asking me about colors – what things are Green, what things are Blue, etc. He asked me what color I like. I said I liked Green. Taken aback, he said, “No, Mom, you like Pink!” I surmised, “Is that because I’m a girl?” “Yes,” he replied. I tried to explain that, despite what the toy store says, some girls don’t like Pink, me included. “Oh,” he said, “I like Yehwow.” “Oh, I think Yellow is a very happy color,” I added. “Is Pink a sad color?” he inquired. “Well, no,” I said,”Yellow just makes me think of sunshine. What does Pink make you think of?” “Pink makes me think of Yellow.”
Before Ian was escorted to a nap, the three of them were happily playing blocks. The older two were building stunt ramps for their Hotwheels, using triangles for jumps and blue blocks for water hazards. Elijah was proudly stacking his blocks. He’d stack three, then screech with delight, clap for himself and reach for another block. Usually by the fifth or sixth block, his tabletop tower was too high or his arms too short and he’d invariable knock his stack over. He’d belt out a huge scream of rage, then repeat. After a couple cycles of building and screaming, Ian sighed, “Oh Elijah, stop that baby drama.” Then, in an apparent problem-solving attempt, Elijah would stack three blocks, then stack a second set of three blocks and try to lift one three-high on top of the other. A slippery block kept sliding off and he’d belt out a huge scream of rage, then repeat. He did this for quite a while, before turning to crush Ian’s stunt track.
It took many calming words, and a story of his favorite block-knocking pastime from his 18-month-old days to understand that’s just what babies do, frustrating as it is for serious block architects. Standing up from his chair, he sunk deep into another building project. Elijah slipped behind him and sat in “Ian’s” chair. When Ian noticed, he tried to wedge back in, prompting Elijah to belt out a huge scream of rage. What’s a mom to do. Yes, baby is pushing buttons, but yes, Ian DID get out of the chair.
Elijah is a very happy boy. Obviously, he gets a temper about being 18 months and thinking he’s three. However, Ian, age 4.5, has been the one of the bigger boys to have meltdowns lately. He has fairly big emotions all around right now. When he’s happy, his eyes arch so big and bright and he lavishes me with compliments and shares his big ideas. When he’s scared, he recounts the events, saying, “I keep seeing it in my mind!” When he’s angry or frustrated, he collapses into a giant scream. Sometimes, before the frustration really builds, he’s actually fairly amusing. The third time something falls, he might say, “Oh, bahder (bother).” The fifth time, it’s a sharper, “Oh, gravity!” After that, it could go anywhere.
Right now he’s deeply DEEPLY attached to his friend, Luke. One day I asked Ian how many brothers he’d like to have, his answer was, “Three Lukes.” He talks almost daily about Luke. At the conclusion of every get-together, even if he sees Luke every day, Ian will cry an anguished, broken-hearted sob. He get’s sentimental about his brothers too. He recently said he can’t wait until there are “three big boys” to run and play together. He says he’d make a balloon chair for them to ride and it would have a remote control, and then he would push the space button and go into space. Bon Voyage, fellas!