I posted this on Twitter yesterday, and I'm still chuckling about it (although only because the alternative would be whimpering, and I try not to go the whiny route).
I made nachos for lunch today, and Blaise wanted some, but neither a) with meat, nor b) without meat. Uh, it's called the law of non-contradiction, kiddo. You can't get around it.
Oh, yes. Blaise is three.
When Camilla turned three I thought I was going insane. How had my sweet, rational, affectionate little girl suddenly become this crazed impossible-to-please monster? What had I done?
This time around I have a slightly more balanced perspective. I know I haven't gone insane. HE has gone insane, and whatever developments are grinding away in his brain must be serious, demolition-level stuff, because the histrionics are so ridiculous they're hilarious.
But Blaise. Oh, Blaise. That kid has my heart.
Two weeks ago he fell down the stairs at 6pm and I had him to urgent care before 7, so sure was I that he'd broken his arm. Praise God, his arm is fine, but waiting to get the x-ray took a couple hours, and I was there with him for a while before Bryan switched me out. (Babies won't take a bottle. Bah!)
As he sat on my lap in the exam room waiting for the doctor, munching an apple and watching me play games on the iPad, he snuggled his head into my shoulder and whispered, "I love having Mama-Blaisey time."
Me too, buddy. Me too.
2011 was a tough year for all of us but I wonder if - Bryan's and my exhaustion and general strung-outed-ness notwithstanding - it wasn't hardest on Blaise. Camilla was old enough to understand and anticipate the babies' birth, but Blaise couldn't, and I imagine he must have been surprised when we took him to the hospital to show him two (!) brand-new brothers.
(My sister Tirienne told me that after Blaise went to see the babies, she asked him what they were like, and he held up his hands close together and said, "Dey're really little and tiny." For some reason that description tickled me.)
But then we brought the babies home and - while Blaise loves Ambrose and Linus and has never tried to hurt them or acted out toward them - both his devoted parents were suddenly very, very busy. Our household has never had such a stressful year, and I can imagine dealing with it as a two-year-old has been bewildering, to say the least.
In my head, Blaise looks like this:
Still a baby, always my baby, in a onesie and a diaper, the skin on his chubby arms and legs soft. My baby Blaise loves to cuddle, is enthusiastic and fascinated by the world around him, but is sweet, always so sweet.
But, the eyes of mother-love aside, this is a truer picture of him:
That striped/pink item is not some bizarrely-shaped sofa cushion. It is his sister. He is sitting on her.
My Blaise, my always-sweet baby, is a first-degree stinker who is filled with glee at each chance to pummel his sister, or tackle her, or grab a toy out of her hand and run away cackling while she chases him shrieking.
So... "always sweet" might be overstating it, is what I'm saying.
Yesterday Camilla and Blaise took a bath, and near the beginning he was threatening to dump water on her head. I told him he'd have to get out if he did. That was enough to deter him... until about twenty minutes later, when he was ready for bathtime to be over. I heard Camilla wailing, ran in to discover he'd poured an entire cup of water on her face, and told him he was done. He grinned, "Okay, Mama!" then hopped out of the tub.
Did he do it because he knew the threatened penalty was now affordable? I'm hesitant to ascribe that level of craftiness to a young three-year-old. But he's got the potential. The SEEDS are definitely there. And I think we're going to have to get more creative with discipline as he grows.
(He worked the system! My sweet baby worked the system!)
Blaise is a middle child all the way - a little tentative, a little attention-hungry.
He JUMPED right in front of her, showing no remorse when she whined. I had to hide my laughter.
Those are small (or as he would say, "tiny," his stock word for all things diminutive) train engines clutched in his hands. Percy and Gordon and Hiro from Thomas the Tank Engine (Puh-cy, Goa-don, Hee-ro), his favorite toys. He takes them to bed with him. Lines them up, end to end, and lies on the floor pushing them in a circle around him for ages. Ten to fifteen minutes at a time, anyway, which is an age for a three-year-old. Just him, whispering "chug-chug-choot-choot" and talking about shunting and puffing and all sorts of train-related things.
He's verbal, surprisingly so for a kid who didn't say a word before 16 months, but if he's frustrated or upset he clams right up. I try - and mostly succeed - not to compare him to his sister, but shoot. She was so much easier to reason with, even as a three-year-old, and I'm finding myself adjusting, tweaking, reassessing my approaches to keep up with him.
I think of Blaise as resilient because he's always been so much less emotionally needy than his sister, but in his way he is just as sensitive. Last week he was distressed for a couple days over a dream he'd had that we left him alone at my parents' house - as much as I tried, I could not get him to fully realize that it was just a dream - and he was so forlorn. He teared up every time he talked about it and I wanted to gather him into my arms and never leave him again, so sad did it make me.
His speech quirks are disappearing rapidly. (Until a few months ago, he inserted "no" randomly into his sentences instead of using proper negatives. I miss that so much.) But he still does one of my favorites, saying "were" instead of "our." "Were babies" he calls Linus and Ambrose, bestowing fervent if none-too-gentle kisses on them. I find myself saying "were" instead of "our" sometimes too; I think it's my subconscious way of trying to prolong his error.
To prolong his toddlerhood, really.
Blaise is our tough guy, rough-and-tumble, fully capable of terrorizing his sister and other people bigger than he is. (Ask Bryan, who handles his night-time wake-ups, all about that.)
But he is soft too, still little, still in many ways that sweet baby I see when I imagine him. Over Christmas we went back to our hometown for a week and he had a great time: playing with cousins, running wild at the grandparents', but after six nights he was ready to go home. He wanted "were house."
I promised him that we would stay there, stay home for a couple of days, and on the strength of that assurance he rested on the drive.
I can see in him the big guy who will someday leave us, who will be excited to grasp his independence and stride out to meet the world. But for now my baby just wants to stay at home, to be with the people who love him best.
Three can be a challenge, but on my Blaisey it's just as lovable as every other age has been.