Mason - I knew it was coming. The mommy blogs all say it. Facebook says it. And man-oh-man, t's true:
2 is NOTHING compared to 3.
This mom pretty much summed up the top ten reasons 3 is worse than 2 (in bold), but I've added some color commentary:
1. At two, they can barely talk. At three, they never shut the hell up. [Generally speaking, everything you do is more unrelenting. You fixate on things and you have the vocabulary to express your fierce determination. "I want my stickers. Where did my stickers go? I DIDN'T use all my stickers. No I DIDN'T. I want more stickers...." You finally went to bed for the night, but 12 hours later the very first words out of your mouth: "Mommy, I'm sad because my stickers disappeared."
2. At two, they cry. At three, they throw temper tantrums so epic, you become convinced that they are possessed by the devil. You gave me one of the biggest scares of my life earlier this week. You were super pissed that I wouldn't let you bring your toy basketball into school, so I dragged you across the parking lot clutched in a death grip to prevent you from running back to the car. We got through two different sets of double doors with you kicking and screaming the whole way. We were passed by half a dozen parents: some sympathic, some judgmental. (F*ck the judgmental ones... wait til their kid turns 3.) By the time we got to the sign in desk, I figured it was safe to let you go, but the second I did, you bolted. And, as luck would have it, a few parents were coming in so before I even knew what was happening, you were through the double doors and running into the parking lot. (Sidenote: what kind of parent sees a three year old bolting towards a door and doesn't throw up a block. Help a sister out, for christsake.) We had a long talk about it, and the first thing you said when I got home that night was that you were really sorry.
3. At two, they’re happy to eat anything you present to them. At three, they eat only three foods (usually consisting of a starch and processed cheese. 95% of your diet consists of chicken nuggets, meatballs, waffles or pancakes with syrup, any fruit, carrots, and yogurt.
4. At two, baths are a ten minute event, the result of which is a clean child. At three, baths take over an hour, and result in a drenched bathroom, sopping wet mommy and 16 used towels. I am counting down the days until your sisters can sit up in the tub on their own and we can do big family baths because bathing all three of you takes days. Or maybe this summer we'll just strip you down and hose you off on the deck.
5. At two, they wear diapers that can be changed on your watch. At three, they’re potty trained and the world revolves around their bladders and bowels. On the plus side, it seems that you have *finally* mastered pooping somewhere other than on the floor. This makes me happy.
6. At two, they are distracted by a box of Gerber Puffs at the grocery store. At three, they want to dictate your entire food list. I've learned just to not take you to the store, even if that means we subsist off of non-perishables ordered from Amazon.
7. At two, they let you dress them, looking innocent and adorable. At three, they insist on picking out their clothes, looking like pint sized versions of mental institution inhabitants. You used to be the best dressed kid in day care. Now you insist on spider man t-shirts and soccer pants. Occassionally you mix it up and insist on your Under Armour t-shirt. You're such a dude.
8. At two, they don’t like to get dirty. At three, they thrive on it. You still don't really like to get dirty, but that doesn't stop you from eating your aforementioned waffles and syrup with your hands and then leaving a trail of sticky handprints all over the house.
9. At two, you can do things for them, saving infinite amounts of time. At three, they must do everything by themselves, taking FOR-fucking-EVER. We go through this battle Every. Single. Morning. You INSIST on climbing into your car seat alone, and if I have the audacity to help you, see #2 in this list. I will say, for the most part, I am remarkably patient. I read an article about how your brain literally does not comprehend time. It helps if I mutter that to myself under my breath over and over as I watch you struggle to get into the car, get distracted by the shiny thing in the way back of the car, climb over the seat, somersault back over, and finally CANNONBALL into your car seat.
10. At two, manipulation is the last thing on their minds. At three, they own you. And they know it. Yep.
Probably the most horrible incident of being three occurred earlier this month when we were going through our morning routine. I had managed to get you half-dressed, which means you had one of your spider man shirts on, but no pants and no underwear. As you stood in the middle of the living room, you looked at me and gave me an evil little grin. I knew exactly what you were thinking and warned, "Don't you dare. Go to the bathroom right now." You didn't listen. Instead you laughed and unleashed a 5' stream of pee across the living room right in my direction. Now, I'm super patient when it comes to potty training accidents. But this my friend, oh, this was no accident. Half-way through you finally noticed the rage on my face and then got super confused, as if you were thinking, "wait, why doesn't she find this as hilarious as I do??"
On the positive side, you're also a lot sweeter at 3, and when you were two, I didn't even think that could be humanly possible. It's so fun to see you digest the world around you and then translate it to your own feelings. For example, the other day you walked over to our 2nd floor bedroom window and stared longingly down at our neighbor's house. When I asked you what was wrong you said: "I'm sad. I miss Drew. Peter Pan was sad because he missed his shadow, and Mason is sad because I miss Drew." Or like when we were reading a book and you explained to me, "Dash is grumpy and cranky, just like Mason was grumpy because you didn't buy me more popscicles."
As a sidenote, I find the way you randomly refer to yourself in the third person super endearing. Though I must admit, it does get confusing because you name everything Mason. At bedtime, we have a checklist. Mason Polar Bear? Check. Mason Dragon? Check. Mason Dolphin Duck (a rubber dolphin that looks a lot like a rubber duckie)? Check. Bucky? Check. (Ok, the last one only gets a name because it's from Jake and the Never Land Pirates.) Mason Boy never goes to bed without Mason Polar Bear, Mason Dragon, Mason Dolphin Duck and Bucky all piled into bed with him.
The only other name that's part of our bedtime routine is Burt the Frog. Somewhere along the line, I made up a bedtime story about a frog named Burt who was sad because kids kept throwing trash in his pond. Mason Boy came along and said "Don't throw trash in Burt's pond" and the moral of the story was don't litter and help mom clean up the room. It was a good one. That became our nightly ritual and since then, Burt has gone on many adventures with his friends Mason Polar Bear and Bucky. My favorite part of the last few weeks, though, is the fact that now you are the one that makes up the stories and I just get to listen (although, you actually usually make me re-tell you the story you just told me. I wonder if you're testing me to see if I'm paying attention). One night, Mason Boy and Burt went to Africa to play with the dinosaurs. And there was a park. A different night you explained to me that penguins, dolphins and whales live in the ocean, but not arctic foxes. Arctic foxes live in the snow and monkeys live in the jungle in the trees. That night, Mason Boy, Bucky, and Burt went to look for monkeys in the jungle, while Mason Polar Bear hung out with the Arctic fox.
You have clearly mastered the pregnant pause and flair for the dramatic. One night you told me a story about how Ms. Nancy, your beloved pre-school teacher, pushed you. When I asked, "She pushed you?" with a little bit of curiosity in my voice, you responded, "Yeah, so high and I went higher than Burt on the swing." The swing was of course located in Africa. Obvi.
You're one of a kind, my sweet boy.