My first baby – wee smiley, quirky, sensitive Bonnie is no longer a baby. She is 3 years old going on 13. The modern term for it is ‘threenager’ and I don’t think it will be long before a definition can be found under this word in the Collins English dictionary.
We survived the terrible 2’s and many an epic tantrum. It must be so tricky for these little people when they can’t fully express themselves. I get it. As parents we just have to go with it. Let them have what looks like an epileptic fit over not getting to watch a final episode of their favourite show before bed. Now she is 3 though it’s a serious game changer. She plays mind games, she gets so frustrated by the silliest things. If I walk down the stairs too fast she goes nuts ‘slow down Mummy I need to be the winner’. I walk up and down the stairs with Bonnie a lot. It was cute the first 10 times.
Sometimes the drama is such great entertainment but at the same time I need to remember she is 3 and not 13 and these ‘silly’ things mean the absolute world to her. Sitting at the table this morning I asked her if ‘Cindy’ was enjoying her toast. We were having a fairly pleasant breakfast together. Then everything changed – ‘Mummy, what did you just say?’ oh dear if looks could kill ‘don’t you EVER call her that again, this is Cinderella – we are leaving the table right now’. In an instant they were gone. Bonnie had to take Cindy oops I mean Cinderella (better not make that mistake again) upstairs for a nap. It had all been too much for her.
I apologised to Bonnie and tried my best not to laugh as I knew this was really upsetting for her. Shortly after we decided to have a little teddy bears picnic on our new rug. Just as things were getting back to normal she realised that I hadn’t brought enough plastic bowls through for everyone. Peter Rabbit and Benjamin had one but what about Lily? How could I forget about her? Also I had brought two green cups and Peter only likes a red cup. Disaster strikes. I sense meltdown number 27 of the morning #divathreenager #mummyproblems.
Of course on a good day I hear some really lovely things ‘Mummy I love our family’ ‘Mummy Jojo you look pretty today’ ‘Mummy let’s go and have some girl time’. Over the weekend though she has started playing mind games when Daddy is home. Only Daddy is allowed cuddles and they are the best ever. She knows how much I want one and she looks over at me and hugs him even tighter.
The other day she said ‘Mummy you just go away, I only want Daddy’. I am not sure if this is her way of getting back at me for the fact that our 1 year old is far more dependent on me at the moment and needs more attention. In the past when she winds me up like this I can get her out of it fairly quickly by leaving the room and saying ‘ok bad Mummy is going away’. That strong conscience kicks in and she comes running. The other day though she took it a step further ‘Mummy you can go live at Uncle Nini’s house’. Wow that was a low blow. I had only asked for a cuddle. How far do you play the game – she is 3? I had to go for a run anyway so upstairs I went to get dressed and ready to head out. I genuinely was feeling a little hurt. She has a breaking point though as she believed I was in fact moving away (ok I confess to putting my dressing gown in a bag knowing she had followed me upstairs and was inquisitively keeping watch). I could see the fear spreading across her face ‘Mummy Jojo what you doing’? ‘Well you told me to go, I am so sad you don’t want me here. I will miss you so much.’ Instant tears. Oh no I have taken this too far just to get my 3 year old to tell me she loves me really. What a cruel, desperate Mummy I am becoming! I calm her down and tell her of course I am not going and that I am just going a run. I tell her not to say hurtful things she doesn’t mean and if you love people you have to be nice to them. I do get the biggest hug before I leave though #bonus and she tells me to look out for foxes. She must care.
Then there are the days she gets home from nursery exhausted and every single thing is a drama. She needs a drink, a snack and RIGHT AWAY or she will cry and scream until it arrives. If I bring her the wrong colour of straw in her drink she will react as if I have just slapped her hard across the face and thrown all her toys in the bin. I am running around looking for the remote control like a dog on heat. Just for some calm, some distraction. Meanwhile my 1 year old is desperately pulling on my leg with his own needs. He only knows a handful of words so that horrendous moaning noise babies make when they need something will have to do. My head is spinning. Charlie needs his nappy changed, how dare he interfere with the snack making. My threenager simply cannot wait any longer or the world will end.
Sometimes I feel distant from Bonnie. She can be fiercely independent. She can go to the toilet on her own, use the remote control and put her rubbish in the bin. Her imagination is amazing. She loves looking after her dolls and soft toys. She loves her friends and has started taking them upstairs to play in her bedroom. I am watching her become less dependent on me by the day (post nursery tantrums aside). Rather than holding me tightly before I leave her at nursery, she runs in ready to have fun. She feels so at home there and knows exactly what she wants to do. I hid behind the door the other day when I dropped her off. She was the first to arrive that day and I wanted to check that she was ok with that. I hear the teacher ‘Hi Bonnie how are you today’? ‘Fine thanks I am off to the book corner’. I feel so proud. What a difference a few months can make.
My little threenager can be a massive diva but she is also a very precious, innocent little girl fascinated by life. She just wants to have fun, to learn and to be loved. How can I stay close to her? By embracing her little world. By showing interest in the things that are huge to her and silly to me. Cinderella it is then x