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Life Lessons From a Three-Year-Old

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Life Lessons From a Three-Year-Old

Having a three-year-old is trying.  It's physically and mentally and emotionally exhausting.  It's much harder than I ever imagined it would be, and some nights, by the time I fall into bed, I just want to scream.

The thing is, though...sometimes, I wish *I* could be more like my three-year-old.  Not the whining, tantrum-throwing, needs to be reminded to pee, puts underwear on backwards, only eats macaroni and cheese, me-me-ME part...rather, the imaginative and honest and true-to-self part.

Lately I've been trying my best to curb my frustration when I feel it rising after he asks me - for the ONE MILLIONTH TIME, I am sure! - what happened to the dinosaurs (I don't know what happened to the dinosaurs, ok!?  I. DON'T. KNOW.).  Instead, I try (my very hardest, because it takes some serious patience after answering the same question over and over and over and over again...) to think about it from his point of view.  I haven't given him a good answer yet ("I don't know what happened to the dinosaurs, Jack, maybe they got covered in lava!") and even if I did, it would probably be out of his realm of understanding (I tried telling him an asteroid hit the Earth once and killed them all, MISTAKE!).  So in that regard, why shouldn't he keep asking?  Ask until you get an answer you like, or at least, can understand, right?

And so, I've been keeping track of some of the things that my three-year-old does that are awesome.  Things that we should maybe incorporate into our "adult" lives.  Things that I wish I could be, and do, all the time.

Ask Questions
Seriously.  Ask questions, always, of everyone, about everything.  If the answer you get doesn't sit well with you, keep asking.  Ask until you are satisfied, and then, find something else to ask about.  And never, ever, ever stop asking questions or believe something just because it's what you've been told.

Use Your Imagination
I wish I could be as resourceful as Jack.  The beauty of being three is that you don't yet realize some things cannot be, and as a result, you can have whatever you want.  The other day, Jack needed a "blaster" like the one Optimus Prime apparently has on his arm.  Well, save one Star Wars gun we have laying around, we don't really have any blasters in our house.  So Jack found a cylindrical piece of Tupperware and asked me to tape it to his arm.  He now had a blaster "just like Optimus Prime!" and it was as simple as opening the cabinet and pulling out a plastic food-storage device and using a little packing tape.  Problem solved!

How many times have I thought, "I really need a ___," or, "I wish I had a ____."  I bet I could find what I need right under my nose if I'd use my imagination.

Don't Eat Food You Don't Like
It drives me crazy when Jack won't eat something I put in front of him that I absolutely know he would love if he'd just try it.  But you know what?  I'm picky.  As I've gotten older I've branched out and tried new foods (gasp!) all on my own.  When it comes to food, nothing drives me crazier than someone "forcing" me to try something.  In fact, some of the foods I just cannot convince myself to like are foods that I was required to eat as a child (milk, eww).

If someone puts green beans on your plate and you don't want them, by all means, don't eat them.

Be Honest
There have been many times when Jack does something he shouldn't do.  For example, taking a toy from his baby sister's hands.  "That's not nice!" I tell him.  "Why did you do that?"  And he always answers, and he hasn't yet figured out how to lie.  "Because I wanted to!" he will say, or, "I wanted the train toy."  Usually matter-of-fact and sincere in his delivery, it's hard to be angry when he's so...honest.  I mean, I'm still mad...but my usual response is something like, "OK, thanks for telling me the truth, now give the toy back to Claire," rather than just tossing him into time-out for causing trouble (and I'll be honest here, that's what I want to do more often than not!).

Be Yourself, Always
Jack lives his life in the moment, and always exactly how he wants to live it.  He hasn't shackled himself down with any of society's restraints, and he is himself in the purest sense.  He sings when he wants to sing, he asks what he wants to ask, he screams when he want to scream, he laughs when he wants to laugh, and he pretends to be a Transformer when he wants to be a Transformer.  He doesn't care what others think of him, and he's not afraid of his emotions (and sharing them with the world, for better or worse).  He is truly himself, at all times.

...What have your little ones taught you?

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