I hate to have to break this to you, but, you see, as our first born, you have been our little experiment. You have to understand that your Papa and I are both rookies at this parenting thing.
We don’t always know what we are doing, we are more likely to be wrong in more ways than one, yet insist that we are (mostly) right and with you, we are always, always, always on a steep learning curve. It feels like it was only a month ago that we celebrated your second birthday. And suddenly, just like that, you turned THREE right before our eyes. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbow all these 3 years (you made sure of that with your big personality), but despite us being such novice at parenting, we believe that we haven’t screwed up too bad so far.
We marvel at how much you have blossomed into this social butterfly and well-adjusted little tot who is just curious about the world. You have endless supply of energy and I get exhausted just watching you bouncing off the walls. Being quiet and meek are never your strongest points. You are boisterous to the point of being clumsy at times – falling over, getting cuts and bruises all over the place just because you weren’t looking while walking or running. With the bruises you earned yourself sometimes, I do wonder if there may be people out there who thought that your mother may have been smacking you way too much!
Because you are so quick at grasping things and seem more mature than you are for your age, I sometimes forget that you are barely three years old. Just about a month ago, you surprised us by rattling off your Papa’s phone number while we were at the cashier as we were paying for groceries – all 10 digits of ‘em! You have always demonstrated to us that you have an incredible memory and this recent incident completely blew us away. You were so happy that you got it right and you repeated it effortlessly. We will not be showing you how to dial those numbers on the phone just yet or you’ll be wanting to call Papa every 2 minutes. Since then, I’ve been rattling off my phone number to you every now and then, as I do think that it is only fair you know your Mama’s phone number too, just in case. And, within a week or so, you surprised us again with your incredible memory!
Like your Papa, you have turned out to be quite the chatterbox. You talk about everything and nothing, and you say what is on your mind with ease. Sometimes you get frustrated if you cannot articulate it, but you keep on trying (although not without temper tantrums). You repeat what you hear so often these days, and more than ever, we realised that we have to be very careful of the words which come out from our mouths.
You are into the princess phase for several months now (a phase which I find to be extremely annoying) and telling everyone you pass by, whether they know you or not, that you are a princess. I smile my wry smile (and secretly roll my eyeballs) every time somebody eggs you on it, and each time I reminded you that you are not, you again insisted that you are. I guess you can keep working on that. I can only hope that you get out of this phase soon because I am so done with this princess crap.
But then again, I realise this is not about me. This is you trying to create your own identity and find your ways about the world. I need to respect that, understand that you are going through a phase and in fact, I should fuel your creative imagination. I promise you I am all for it… as long as you stay away from all those princessy, girly crap which I equate to being unnecessarily high-maintenance. OK, OK. I will bite the bullet for as long as it takes, but sorry, but your Mama has got her quirks,too.
These days, you are very quick to “appease” us with your ready answer of “Already” every time we ask you to brush your teeth or put on your dress to name a few. Clearly, you haven’t quite figure out yet that your mother is actually able to see if you have put on that piece of clothing you said you already put on. But that’s OK, you are only 3. You will eventually be able to figure out that your Mama can actually see through you soon enough.
You love singing and not a day goes by without you belting out a song or two every 5 minutes. Whenever we are in the car, you would say, “I don’t know how to sing”, every time the music came on the stereo. You sound annoyed because you cannot sing along. There have been moments when your Papa realised that he’d have to skip certain songs because the lyrics were just not meant for kids in the backseat. But be patient, my child. Very soon, you’ll probably be belting to Green Day, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd and the likes of those classics!
Darling Spud, I know that I have never been your most favourite person. You rejecting me when you were 10 months old for over a year was a very tough pill for me to swallow. I keep asking myself what I have done so wrong that made you repel away from me. I want to go into that little head of yours and find the very source to understand what I can do better to make it right. Every morning I wake up hoping that you would come to me first, but that’s like asking for a cow to produce chocolate milk au natural. You would be upset if you don’t see your Papa but would think of nothing if you don’t see me. Sometimes I just want to disappear, feeling unworthy to be a mother, especially when you blatantly refuse to allow me to even hold you, let alone touch you, when you crawl into our bed.
When you fell or hurt yourself, you refused to come to me for comfort even when I was sitting right next to you. Instead, you went berserk if I tried to comfort you and you would run away as you search for your Papa, even though he wasn’t in plain sight. While I try my best to keep my cool and telling myself that it was nothing personal, I can’t help but feel hurt every time you push me away. People tell me that I could only smother you with love, kindness and to never give up, and I tell them I’m trying so darn hard. Every.damn.single.time. It’s always easy for other people to make comments about what I should or shouldn’t do when rejection happens because they are not the ones dealing with you day-in, day-out…but sometimes Little Spud, it would help if you cut me some slack.
We have come a long way where this rejecting crap is concerned and I believe that both of us are healing in our own little ways. You have actually been quite sweet to me and I thank you for that. Your rejections, if any, have not been as violent, and while there are some pockets of resistance every now and then, I hope these rejections will desist for I am so bloody sick of being rejected and feeling like the “lesser” parent all the time. You are my child, I am your MOTHER and nothing can change that. If you don’t like me, then bloody tough luck – go find another Mummy who would take in all your crap, cook your favourite meals, clothe you and love you all the same the next day!
Now THAT is out of the way….
I know being 3 is tough, Little One (guess what! It ain’t gonna get easier…), and you being Spud would want everything done your way if given a chance. But we know you cannot always have that, and sometimes like us, you would have to suck it up. The last one week had been particularly trying as you upped your ante with your over-the top tantrums that appeared to have come from nowhere. So ridiculous those tantrums were that at one point, I just wanted to burst out laughing because I thought your screaming were just too ridiculous to entertain. You drove your Papa up the wall and tested his patience real good.
Meanwhile, know that I am trying my darnest and as a mother who is on a permanent apprenticeship, I sometimes falter as a parent. I am sure you sometimes cannot understand why I scream at you when you push my buttons. To be honest, I don’t get it either and I blame it on a few screws missing in my head.
I remember that one time I almost, almost, almost hit you with a plastic tail-tub because you made me so, so mad while I was showering you as you were engulfed in one of your epic temper tantrums. I swear that scared the living daylights out of me! I then diverted my anger by slamming the tail-tub full-force on the floor…the force was so hard that my hand hurt for a few hours. You cowered away as you wailed, probably frightened at how I reacted. The moment I regained my composure and realised what could have happened had I not been able to control myself, I broke down and drew you close to me. I felt horrible. I realised how much I love you and that I would never want to hurt you in any way. I later apologized to you for my unreasonable behaviour and I am ever so glad that you can be ever so forgiving.
You have taught me so much, my darlin’ child. In the last 3 years, our life together is anything but boring. You taught me the virtue of a little bit more patience when I thought I had none left. You taught me that losing my head in a screaming fit isn’t cool because apart from stressing myself out, I achieve nothing from it. You taught me empathy when I thought that I am just an emotional fuckwit and most importantly, you taught me the importance of forgiveness when I thought that I have ruined it all and you let me try again so I can be a better parent.
We don’t know how you will change or who you will eventually become. And till then, we’ll just have to wing it. I want you to have the bestest childhood you could ever have and milk that childhood for what it’s worth. I want you to play till you collapse, sing till your throat is sore, dance like there is no tomorrow, get and give hugs and kisses like your life depends on them and never ever let the pressures of society define who you are. You are learning, and as long as we have blood running through our veins and our hearts are still beating, we will learn and we will soar.
You still have to go to bed by 6.30 pm though.
Happy Birthday, dearest Spud. The best years have yet to come.