Who’s More Mature – Me or the 3-Year-Old? by Melissa Swedoski

My first born, the love and light of my life, the reason for so many tears and so much laughter, is turning 3 next week. We’re going to have a little family party this weekend, and she’s going to get to enjoy the bounce house she’s been asking for since the one she frolicked in at New Year’s. Of course, the concept of renting might prove to be problematic when the party is over, but we’ll cross that ugly bridge when we get there, right?

Our little Annie is one big ball of energy. She doesn’t even sleep as much as “normal” kids (at least what the books tell me is normal), but when she does crash, she crashes hard. Sometimes I can convince her to sleep a little longer if I let her in our bed, but she usually gets a case of the giggles and all bets are off. Last weekend she appeared at my bedside at 6:45 a.m. and announced, “I want to play with you, Mommy.”

Annie was a slow starter with the verbal communication. Truth be told, we made it easy on her, since we catered to her grunts and points. But when her little sister started talking before she turned 1, the pressure was on. Especially with the addition of daycare/preschool in her life, Annie is a talking machine. Last night, she put together one of the longest sentences I’ve heard from her: “No, don’t take my blanket away from me!” She was under the impression that someone was trying to steal it. Whatever.

She’ll tell me that her sister is her best friend and she loves her. Then about two minutes later, they are fighting over the baby strollers. Of whiche we have two. And they look exactly alike. Toddler rules are very complicated.

Annie was our infertility baby. She was the one that we were blessed with after several IVF tries. She didn’t really want to be bothered to come out of the womb. I had two days worth of P-gel to try and kickstart labor, and got 1 cm dilated. I remember – in my delirium – pushing and pushing and she wouldn’t come out. Through my tears, I asked my sister, “Why won’t she come out??” It’s funny now. Not so much then.

She has taught me to remember to look at the world with wondering eyes. You don’t always have to be suspicious of people and their motives. Strangers aren’t always as scary as my newspaper My 3-year-old is more mature than I am - by Melissa Swedoskireporting years ingrained in me. It’s okay to wear mismatched clothing. Not that many people are really looking, anyway. Listening to the same song four times in a row is actually quite fun.

The thing about kids is that they greet every day with the look of wonder and amazement. They haven’t been jaded yet. They haven’t had their hearts crushed (no matter what they say when you won’t get them something out of the vending machine), and they haven’t had their dreams altered by unexpected life circumstances. Annie reminded me that it was okay to dream. And thanks to Annie, we got our second born, the one all the doctors said wasn’t possible.

I think my daughter is fairly mature for her age. She is well behaved at restaurants, is polite to strangers, doesn’t hit or bite other kids (the non-sibling ones, anyway), and gives lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you’s.”

Me, on the other hand, well, I’m still snarky about new people (especially when wearing my judgy mom robes), I will make a scene in a restaurant if I’m displeased, I’ve been known to both hit and bite other people (though usually not strangers), and I’m a little more stingy with my hugs and kisses. But I say “I love you” more now than I ever have, and it’s the most blissful feeling in the world.

Happy Birthday, beautiful Annie. I wish I could bottle up this moment and keep it forever.

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  1. 11 Responses to “Who’s More Mature – Me or the 3-Year-Old? by Melissa Swedoski”

  2. What a touching (and realistic!) tribute to your little girl! You SO captured the magic (and frustrations) of living with a toddler that is growing up so quickly. As a mother of two teen agers, I can tell you, it slips away so fast…

    By Kim on Jan 14, 2014

  3. Oh… well, this just melted my icy heart. How incredibly beautiful and wishing your sweet daughter a very happy birthday.

    I love your “the thing about kids” paragraph towards the end. This makes it to the very tippy-top of the list of reasons why I would love to be a momma bear one day. To wake up and see things with a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective, well, that’s just a gift unlike any other.


    By Charlotte on Jan 14, 2014

  4. I so love this. My 11 year old always floors me with how mature she can be in situations. She’s always been so caring and wear her heart on her sleeve that she reaches out to others in pain and is more acutely aware of others feelings than most children.

    Seriously, floored! I’m 3 times her age and I have a problem with doing that.

    Happy birthday to your sweet angle, I hope the bounce house is everything she dreamed of and more.

    By Felicia on Jan 14, 2014

  5. Happy birthday Annie! And I would like to report, I haven’t bitten anyone in decades!!!

    By Mindie on Jan 14, 2014

  6. My six year old definitely has more mature behavior than I do, about some things!

    By Skye on Jan 14, 2014

  7. Melissa is great! Snarky or not. Happy birthday little girl!

    By Rebeccafaith on Jan 14, 2014

  8. This is great! I have a son whose turning 3 in February and he’s not a big talker. My one year old tries harder to pronounce the words then the 3 year old. He’s been really trying hard and I’m so proud of him. He’s a sweet boy and loves his bothers to death.

    By Courtney @ Crafts by Courtney on Jan 14, 2014

  9. Beautiful Melissa! And, as the mom of a 10 year old boy (going on 20…lol), I will tell you the years do fly. Treasure them and make memories!

    By Robin Gorman Newman on Jan 14, 2014

  10. This is so beautiful! What a lucky little girl to have a mom who loves her so very much. And what a lucky mama to have such a very special little girl! Thank you for reminding me to look to my children for the many lessons they can teach!

    By Elizabeth on Jan 14, 2014

  11. Happy Birthday Annie!

    And 6:45 is sleeping in! My three year old is up between 5:30-6 every morning!

    By Holly H on Jan 14, 2014

  12. Happy birthday to your sweet girl! Hope she has a wonderful time at her party!!

    By Roshni on Jan 15, 2014