Dear Child #3,
I’ve realized lately, as we navigate the choppy waters of your toddler years, how spoiled you are. But I’ve also realized that I am okay with that. I think it is okay that you get your way now and then, because so much of your life has not been your way. You weren’t scooped up every time you cried as a baby. You’ve never had a nap schedule. You’ve sat through endless basketball and baseball games and gymnastics practices and school performances, being shushed and told to sit still. You skipped right over Sesame Street and were plopped down in front of Star Wars instead. I think a lot of times we forget that you’re 2, and we make you do big kids things. So yeah, the other day when you were having your 11th meltdown of the morning, I let you have fruit snacks at 9 a.m. Because I could tell you were tired. And I could tell your molars hurt. And because, well, I think it is okay that you are sometimes spoiled.
You see, your whole life (even your time in my big old belly) has been rushed by me. As you and I neared the 40-week mark, I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore. You were just lounging around with your enormous fetus-self, on top of my poor bladder. There was one day at Costco that I would have bet anything and everything that you were about to fall out. Right there in the bulk toilet paper aisle.
But you didn’t. You stayed right there, using my bladder as your own personal pillow, until medical interventions said, “Let’s go, Tub-O.” And boy was I happy—for about 37 seconds. And then I was instantly sad. I was sad that I had wanted it to be over, because now I had to share you with the world. And I regretted that I had rushed you.
Lately, my dear, sweet, tyrannical, temper-having #3, I am doing it again. I am rushing you. I want you to not be 2 anymore. Frankly, my love, you’re making me batshit crazy. Like borderline day-drink lose my ever loving mind how can you be freaking out about the green marker again crazy. And I keep thinking that things will be better when you are 3. So here I am, wishing away our time together. But you know what? As much as 2 is probably one of the hardest parenting years, it is also the best. It is the year that I sit outside your door, listening to you kick the wall with anger because Mommy said no more cookies, but it is also the same year that once you’ve calmed down, you curl into my lap (where you still fit perfectly) and say I sorry Mama, followed by a kiss that misses my mouth and often lands on my nose.
Your birthday is in a couple of weeks. You really are going to turn 3. And 3 is close to 4. And 4 is close to 5. And I remember when your brother and sister turned 5. I know 5. I know what happens. I have to really start sharing you with the world. I have to give you away for so many hours a day. So as much as I am beyond exhausted with you right now, I also want to freeze time.
I want to keep you 2. Part of me wants to keep letting you pee everywhere and pour syrup on the kitchen floor. Because that means you’re still 2, and you can still fit all curled up in my lap, and you still want to climb into my bed and grab my arm and put it around you while we say prayers. And it means you’ll still say, You stay, Mama? You stay with me?
In a couple of weeks, my wish will be granted. You won’t be 2 anymore. So until then, I am going to cling a little bit harder to your baby-ness. I am going to hold you every time you ask. And I am going to try very hard to stop rushing you. I am going to try very hard to let you be 2 for a little bit longer.
Love, your exhausted, but very lucky mama.