Our little four-year-old woke up this morning loving life. The second day of living four years, he loved most everything and cooperated beyond belief. Brian and I were not sure what to do, really.
To be honest, his birthday weekend was hard. We loved every minute of it, but it was really hard. Brian and I are still trying to figure out what we are teaching about presents, giving, and celebrating traditions...especially while living out of town from our families.
We were so lucky to have Bobbie and Aunt Merpha and Lydia here. That made Henry feel very special.
As did the Sunday Discussion Group singing loudly to him over candles.
And I'll just come right out and say it: Three is way harder than Two. Seriously. If any of you parents out there have advice about the threes and fours and birthdays in general, I would love to hear them.
Brian and I tend to parent the best we can until we hit a breaking point, then we initiate a sea change in the house. That started last night. It seemed a good idea to use Henry turning four to demand that no child enter our room at night (unless it's an emergency - definition pending on that one). All the palettes were removed and Henry and Svea have no place in Mommy and Daddy's Room. We were up a LOT last night due to thirstiness, needing to pee-ness, just missing you-ness.
All you judgers out there are probably saying, "You should have never let them in your bed to begin with." And I say to you, in my loving voice, "Thank you for your opinion, but YOU HAVE NO IDEA."
Mostly what I mean by that is that I have consistent nightmares and am still honing my self-soothing and coping skills. At 31. So when my now 4 year old has terrors and nightmares, I have a hard time not conceding.
Before Henry turned 3, I was sharing with my wise friend Alicia that I didn't know how to keep up my energy around Henry's difficulty sleeping and Svea's needs as an infant. Alicia exclaimed, "Oh my...they are experiencing the adult emotions of fear and frustration with limited ways to express those feelings."
That changed everything for me.
Then a few months ago, Henry told me he wanted to read Pops the book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. So we started practicing. Over and over...until he got over it and won't read it with me anymore.
In the book The Art of Maurice Sendak by Selma G. Lanes I read tonight:
"Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious - and what is too often overlooked - is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things."
Amen, Maurice. And THANK YOU.
So here we are, entering the 5th year for Henry and working on completing the 3rd for Svea, intent on teaching them to tame some Wild Things.