I often share the fun stuff we do as a family. As with all families, it is not all fun. People always commented when the Sugar Snaps were small and fragile how hard it must be. As they got bigger but were in the quad stroller, people said that it must be tough and asserted that I must have a lot of help at home. They must have assumed my army of helpers was on a lunch break when they saw me. Now that the Sugar Snaps are over 3 1/2, I get some comments that it must be easier now. The funny thing is, that it is actually harder. When they were smaller and non-mobile, it was up to me to set the schedule and they passively followed it without question. Even if they protested, they were not very mobile. Now that they are bigger and asserting their independence, everything takes longer.
I heard a saying that the three’s are like the two’s but with a year of practice (source unknown). I wholeheartedly agree. The two’s and three’s are wonderful in so many ways. They are more interactive. They say and do such cute things. Often times, they loudly profess their love for Mama and Daddy. We will miss all of those things when they get bigger. And then there are things we will not miss…
Even though it is not always the fun road, I set boundaries and follow through with consequences when they do not make good choices. The other day, the Sugar Snaps finished swim class and Capri and Ryder refused to get out of the pool. They sat on the steps and proclaimed, “I don’t want to get out. Why do we have to get out?” Meanwhile, Xayden was sitting on a chair I carried him to so he wouldn’t burn his feet and Grayson was scurrying in sandals out of my view. I had to get Grayson back and get the two kids out of the water while keeping my eye on all four. I told Capri and Ryder that they would miss out on painting if they did not get out of the water by the count of three. 1…2…3. They didn’t get out. I braced myself. We already stand out. Then we add the public spectacle of Capri screaming and crying on the top of her lungs that she loves painting and wants to paint. Yes, everyone in the pool was now gaping at this scene. Ryder was seemingly unconcerned with the consequence. I told them that they still had not lost play in the water table and if they made good choices, they could still do that.
I got them out of the pool and I got Grayson, Capri and Xayden in the car. Ryder was in my seat (after I told him not to do that) while I was fastening seatbelts. He proceeded to push all kinds of buttons. I got into the car after I managed to get him in his seat through protests. I turned off the front and back windshield wipers, the hazard lights and the headlights. Then, I released the parking brake. He made good use of his time pushing buttons! He lost the water table.
So, we headed home and I set up painting in the backyard for Grayson and Xayden and filled the water table so Capri could start on that. I told Ryder that he was welcome to play with cars or choose another activity. For a while, he stood in the doorway and watched in dismay as his siblings did activities he had lost, and then with a glint in his eye, he closed the door, and disappeared. He came back with a chair, stood on it and quickly secured the bolt. He locked us out! No amount of my pounding on the door and pleading for him to open the door or his siblings professing their love to him was going to convince him to open that door. Why should he? He had lost the outside activities and he was in charge now. He figured if he opened the door, he was going to have a consequence. When I asked him to open the door, he smiled and shook his head with an expression that screamed, “Neener, neener, neener! You can’t get me.” Capri, Grayson and Xayden pleaded and sobbed, “we don’t want to get sun boo boos! Pleeease Ryder.”
I pleaded that his siblings were getting sunburns (as the sunscreen had worn off) to no avail. I ended up cutting a leaf from the aloe plant and soothing Capri’s budding sunburn while shielding her with my body. On a side note, it is worth keeping an aloe plant for sunburns in you live in a warm climate. It really works! Ryder moved the chair to where I had placed his dog lovey out of his reach and got it down. He stared at me through the window as he hugged his dog knowing there was nothing I could do about it. As time went on, more shade appeared and I moved us all into the shade. Greg eventually came home after we were out there for two hours and let us in. Ryder went to bed early and had dinner in his room instead of with the family as a consequence. I had imagined grounding him for life as we baked outside in 100 degree temperatures…but alas, he’s three. Now, I make sure I always have a key in my pocket when I go outside. I know I can’t be the only one with stories of the challenging two’s or three’s. I would love read your stories in the comments.