I am greatly entertained by Dylan lately as he barrels his way through the unstable and ridiculous waters of being three. He is so con brio about everything, exploding with top-volume declarations about whatever activity is at hand, no matter how banal.

We were making our way through an overstuffed hardware store yesterday and he stopped in the aisle, turned to face me, and announced that “Mom! Mom! Dis is blowing my mind. Is it blowing your mind too Mom? Mom? IS DIS BLOWING YOUR MIND?”

(Cue twenty nearby shoppers, turning with interest to see if a selection of painter’s tape was, in fact, blowing my mind.)

While babies are often slobberingly intense in their google-eyed observances, life for toddlers is like an endless Phish concert full of happy nonsense songs, billowing clouds of sparkly smoke, and the occasional really bad trip. Dylan will spend his entire day burbling and chirping like a contented coffeemaker and talking about raccoons and helicopters and raccoons flying helicopters or whatever scenario is playing out in the bizarro landscape of his mind, then suddenly—kaboom, the clouds gather, the sky darkens, and ALL IS WOE.

As was the case last night when JB asked Dylan to pick up the 38491 wooden blocks he’d dumped on the carpet. In an emotional whiplash hairpin turn normally reserved for schizophrenics in need of heavy medication, Dylan launched into what appeared to be the tragic final death scene in a particularly harrowing opera.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” he intoned piteously and continuously as he bent over his unbearable task, a mournful wolf with an interminable supply of oxygen.

Five minutes later he was doing his signature Running Man dance while shouting “IT’S PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME NOW DERE YOU GO DERE YOU GO PEANUT BUTTER JELLY WID A BASEBALL BAT!”

(Why. Why did I ever let him see this.)

There are times when I think three is going to kill us all. Or maybe, more honestly, it’s that I’m occasionally not positive he’s going to survive being three. (For instance, the day he used a dry erase marker to draw on the wall right in front of me, then turned and smiled beatifically while saying, “Goddammit, right Mom?”)

Most of the time, though, I think, oh, this is my very favorite age of all.


(Except for five, maybe. Three and five is a pretty good place to be.)


37 Responses to “Odd numbers”

  1. Lindsey on March 13th, 2011 1:57 pm

    I just adore the way you write about your boys. I laugh and tear up at the same time with every post. This little man … oh. Delicious. xox

  2. Heather on March 13th, 2011 2:18 pm

    He has the most adorable baby face!

    We are finishing up 3 and moving into 4 with one son – so far I like it! Also moving from 1 to 2 with the youngest and I DO NOT LIKE it all.

  3. Emily on March 13th, 2011 2:21 pm

    Oh, the peanut butter jelly. The endless loop in my brain begins … now.

  4. wendy wisniewski on March 13th, 2011 2:38 pm

    right mom? crack me up.

  5. bessie.viola on March 13th, 2011 2:49 pm

    Yes to all of this. Three is insane and wonderful.

  6. NancyJ on March 13th, 2011 3:38 pm

    You have no idea how much I look forward to your posts. I read about your sons and think back to my son at the same age. I would be dressed for work and he’d say “Is that a new dress Mommy? You look beautiful”. Melt.My.Heart.

  7. Grateful Twin Mom on March 13th, 2011 3:55 pm

    Awww. What an adorable face. I so miss those little toddler faces.

    Cracked up at the Peanut Butter Jelly Wid a Baseball Bat. I’m gonna show that to my kids too.

    So cute.

  8. Sharon on March 13th, 2011 4:59 pm

    I love the cheeks. By five things get easier, but the baby cheeks are gone!

  9. Lesley on March 13th, 2011 5:10 pm

    Dylan’s as cute as ever. I like that he seeks confirmation/reassurance that your mind is being blown by what’s blowing his mind.

    Kids are what’s right with this crazy world.

  10. Kirsten on March 13th, 2011 7:17 pm

    Glad to know my kid isn’t the only one with bipolar attitude changes. As we face the threes here next month, my husband is wishing we had another baby at least on the way because he’s worried once we really get into three, I won’t have the energy for another one – ha!

  11. Helen on March 13th, 2011 8:14 pm

    I love three, but especially three in second children, when the heartbreaking emotional 180 turns wash over you a little more. Three nearly killed us first time round…!

  12. Vanessa on March 13th, 2011 9:21 pm

    I constantly struggle with not yelling at my 3 year old, and trying to remember some empathy when he melts into a hysterical fit at the tiniest and most bizarre triggers. Now that there is a new baby it seems he is even more prone to these kinds of episodes.

    If there were awards for pushing boundaries and most annoying and overtly defiant behavior, my son would certainly win a gold in all of them.

    Is he funny? Very much so. He has very curly hair, and the other day announced that his head looked like a vagina. I was so shocked and stunned, but couldn’t keep from laughing. Is he frustrating beyond all I could ever have imagined? OMGYes. I can deal far better with a classroom full of teenagers than I can my one 3 year old on most days. You are SO right. I often wonder if HE will survive 3. I also work from home currently. Taking things one day at a time is the only way we all manage.

  13. http://www.designermama-manaallamano.blogspot.com/ on March 13th, 2011 10:57 pm

    My girl is now 4.5 and I LOVE FOUR!!!! Its so awesome, my favorite age this far. She is so funny and interesting and the mood swings have gone away-which from 3.5-4 were horrible. Its good to hear that 5 is great too.

  14. Antropologa on March 14th, 2011 4:05 am

    You really understand the worldviews of children. It’s really something.

  15. Jenny on March 14th, 2011 4:46 am

    Your kids are awesome.

    And the giddy, stream-of-consciousness ridiculous talk doesn’t stop when they get older. Ever heard “I’m a banana?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH5ay10RTGY

    Yeah. And mine is 16.

  16. Nann on March 14th, 2011 5:34 am

    I was sure we were not going to make it through 3. 4 was blissful :)

  17. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on March 14th, 2011 7:07 am

    OMG, that video is like CRACK to a three-year-old boy. (I know because I have a four-year-old boy. Who will not see it if I can help it!) LOL-really. Your blog is my absolute favorite mom blog. Next to mine. :) Although I think you’re a better writer than I. And far funnier. Thank you so much.

  18. Run4Donuts on March 14th, 2011 7:29 am

    LOL at this post – love how you share your adventures with your kids.

    My kids are teens now and so far the odd-numbered years are always the most insane, with 3 and 13 topping the countdown of ages my children were least likely to survive.

  19. Olivia on March 14th, 2011 7:54 am

    OMG, tears of laughter! I guess in his mind saying “goddammit” when seeing scribbles on the wall is declaring a masterpiece.

  20. Tia on March 14th, 2011 8:26 am

    This is my life right now. Sometimes he catches me smiling at him and asks what dis making you happy, mom? Huh, mom, why you smiling at me? Oh, kid you are so my favorite right now.
    And when they say goddammit at the most awesome times how can it not bring a smile to your face.

  21. Courtney on March 14th, 2011 10:26 am

    I’m sorry, have you started putting mascara on Dylan? Because the eyelashes in that photo just killed me dead!

  22. Emily on March 14th, 2011 11:37 am

    that Phish line just killed me.

  23. Erica on March 14th, 2011 1:34 pm

    this is blowing my mind! So cute and awesome. I love it.

  24. Nell on March 14th, 2011 1:53 pm

    Goddammit Mom!!!
    This made me blurt out a big farting laugh!!! You write so well and your boys are a riot!

  25. thatgirlblogs on March 14th, 2011 4:20 pm

    that’s my kinda kid!

  26. Andrea Fox on March 14th, 2011 5:17 pm

    no one told me 3 would be like this! My 3-year old daughter goes from being magical to morose to weepy to insightful to nostalgic to tired to off the hook to, etc. Preview of what’s to come 10 years from now???

  27. willikat on March 14th, 2011 6:44 pm

    This is probably one of my favorite of your posts of all time. It makes me want to have kids. The “goddammit” really, really got me.

  28. Life of a Doctor's Wife on March 15th, 2011 7:30 am

    That photo is amazing. And I love this whole post. He sounds utterly fascinating.

  29. Melissa on March 15th, 2011 11:48 am

    Love this. So true in my household as well! While waiting to pick up my daughter from gymnastics, my little man shouts ,
    “Oh Dammit!”, in front of all the other moms. Completely out of no where like he has Tourette’s or something. And the meltdowns…wow. I hear you…I love it and I’m not sure we’ll make it. Beautiful post.

  30. Anais on March 15th, 2011 2:23 pm

    This is one of your best posts ever. I love how you compare him to a contented coffee maker. lol So cute.

    Goddamnit, right mom? That killed me!

    I can’t wait for my little gremlin to come into the world. I have my first sonogram tomorrow! So excited! =D

  31. Melissa on March 15th, 2011 5:10 pm

    I too love three. So smart, and potty trained (or close, or whatever), and talkative and responsive and hilarious.

  32. Josefina on March 16th, 2011 6:56 am

    I am sitting here laughing about the wall drawing thing…thank you for that. So funny.

  33. Toastedbeagle on March 16th, 2011 1:11 pm

    Oh my gosh, I am laughing to the point of tears. This is the best post ever. I love that you feel this is the best age of all. It is! I said that about every single age: infancy, toddler, pre-school, tweens, all of it is just as magical as three. Enjoy that gorgeous baby face every day.

  34. mixette on March 16th, 2011 6:02 pm

    You are *the best* writer about kids. I don’t have kids. I don’t read mom/kid blogs…except for yours, since forever…

  35. Suzette on March 18th, 2011 11:05 am

    OMG. I can so relate. My little sunshine turned 3 two days ago. Getting into the car I say to her, what is on your fingernail? (She had just had hers painted for the very first time on her birthday with purple sparkle polish, which started to peel off) She looks down and sees some of it has come off and says to me “Ohhhhhh Mommmmmy, you just ruined my life”. Oh dear me…..LOL But yes I love this age too!!

  36. Alison on March 22nd, 2011 8:13 am

    We have a little boy that just turned 3 in February. I am forever emailing links to my husband b/c it’s nice to know we are not the only ones. You crack me up. I drove over a pot hole the other day with him in the car. He asked what it was. I told him it was a pot hole. He said “it wasn’t a pot hole, it was a crackhead!!” uh….

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