Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Alyce, Concering You Being Three

Dear Alyce, Concerning You Being Three:

My Alyce. You have grown into a delicious little girl. Yesterday you informed me that when you grow up you'd like to be both a princess and a dragon-catcher. I appreciate your combined desire for luxury and adventure. I am happy to support your ambitions in any way that I can. I do hope, however, that you permit me to be something else besides your prince, which is the title you bestow on me when we're playing dancing princesses. I guess being a prince is better than only being your lady in waiting, especially if as your prince I can join you on your dragon-finding expeditions. But I like beautiful gowns, too. Let's make Hille your prince. He won't mind. In fact, I think he'd kind of like it.

But your sometimes your world is more than twirling princesses and chasing dragons. Sometimes your days are filled with the most powerful emotions I've ever seen, soaring up and down at a moment's notice, catching the entire house off-guard. One moment you are Sleeping Beauty, dressed in your best pjs and crown, and the next you are losing that crowned head because I asked you to wash your hands after using the potty. You aren't just annoyed that I'm getting in your royal way with my tedious requests, you are collapsed in a heap of despair. This despair is the most intense, chaotic, melodramatic emotion I've witnessed. Ever.

Just yesterday I was loading the dishwasher, and when I asked you to wait before pushing in the racks (seeing as my hands were still inside the dishwasher), in what I thought was my perfectly patient parenting voice, your response felt catastrophic. I don't want to even get into the details of what happened next, as neither of us come out looking good. Let's just say that later, when we were both done crying, I appreciated how you gave me your best bunny to squeeze and how you rubbed my face.

At three, your days are often dances between two worlds, between dancing princesses and an exceedingly cruel reality where your parents insist that you wash your hands/don't sit on your sister or hit your mama/put on your dress/ok, put on your other dress/ok, fine, put on that other dress/please don't collapse into another tragic heap/and other seemingly ridiculous demands. Sometimes I forget that you are so busy learning how to do everything that you don't have time to worry about pleasantries. You are three. You are excited, impatient, curious, and sensitive. You are three.

EverydaySomedays I forget that you are three and I expect you to comply with my very reasonable demands. And everydaysomdays I forget that I am the grown-up and that I should limit my own meltdowns appropriately (one, maybe two, per day). I expect that we will figure this all out sometime soon, hopefully before Shira turns three. At the very least I'll make you deal with her. Speaking of Shira, I think she'd make a very fine prince.

Yours sincerely,

The woman who grew you in my belly and then pushed you out after more than one day of labour. Without painkillers. Also known as Mama. xxx

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