The Thunderous Threes

This summer has brought some of the worst thunderstorms I’ve seen and heard in a long time. The lightening, thunder and sudden downpour of rain took all of us by surprise. From flooded basements and roads to fallen limbs – the storms were leaving their mark. With the rain pouring down from the sky, we have been experiencing storms of our own INSIDE the house. 

You know how each hurricane gets its own name?  Well our storm is named James. He isn’t a storm ALL the time, in fact he is my go-to guy for hugs, kisses and laughter galore!  With his red hair, rosy cheeks and mostly laid-back persona he’s a great little guy to have around…but James is also smack dab in the middle of what it means to be a 3-year-old.  In honor of James and all the 3-year-olds out there I’d like to take a little liberty and name this group of little darlings.

I know I’m TOTALLY going out on a limb here, but I’d like to create a new tag line for all of our precious 3-year-olds out there.  I remember hearing stories about the “terrible twos” and maybe it’s just me – but I think the 3’s are MUCH worse.  When our kids are two they are still learning about social cues, boundaries and how to use their language skills.  It’s a constant job to keep our 2-year-old kids out of trouble.  I remember the 2’s quite well – it seemed like all I did was keep my toddler from taking things away from their siblings, encouraging them to actually use the words they were learning and making sure their hand/eye coordination was ample enough for the activities they were trying to achieve.

I feel like the 2’s are more of an “exploration” phase of life for most kids and during the 3’s they dive in, whole-heartedly with an “experimental” phase.  During the 2’s we teach them what the words “hot”, “stop”, “soft hands”, and “share” mean. During the 3’s they test if these words truly have meaning and if everything we’ve said would happen really does happen.

So here we are, with a 3-year-old, who sometimes sounds like he’s hit the teenage years a bit early.  Suddenly my chubby little bundle of joy is trying to say “no” when we ask him to do something, he yells or screams when talking to his brothers and, I know it’s hard to believe, just smile at us when we are trying to scold him.  Such a stinker!

Matt and I are using our usual discipline and parenting strategies…hoping to nip things in the bud as quickly as possible.  Now that he is 3 1/2 James is starting to understand that he doesn’t live in a bubble – his actions and reactions effect all of us!  His personality, tastes and opinions are not only forming, they are being expressed with as much gumption and conviction as a politician on the campaign trail. 

Someone help me understand how a human being that just recently learned how to walk, talk, feed themselves and NOT wet their pants; has the innate skill of blinking their eyes and grinning at just the right time when they are in trouble!?!?!  I don’t get it!

Whether I get it or not, I do know this – I LOVE watching this little boy make his mark in the world and start to understand what it means to be part of our family.  James is becoming a friend to his brothers and he is the best errand-running partner I could ever hope for.  

He is my last child to go through these toddler and preschool adventures.  I’m excited to watch him grow but sad that he’s my last little boy.  I guess most importantly I’m being reminded daily that this parenting gig is new each day, each child is unique and I should NEVER think that I have it all figured out.  The day I think I know everything is the day that James will eat, spill, explore or destroy something.

God’s showing me how to be patient and I’m glad James is one of my teachers :o)

So whether our kids are being rainstorms, snowstorms or a calm spring breeze, I hope each of us have time to stop and find some beauty in the weather changes that will face us today.  God says He will be all we need, say this verse out loud and act on it!  It’s helped me and I hope it brings you some encouragement too! 😮

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised, is faithful!

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