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Slowly But Surely

When my darling son gets upset and the whining kicks into high gear, I try to see things from his point of view…if not remembering, then empathizing with how frustrating it must be to be nearly three. Sure, his communication skills are improving. His understanding seems to be growing, and others are able to understand him more clearly. But he’s still unclear on so many concepts. I’m sure he wonders what, exactly, is going on when I break bad news to him. Like telling him his treasured trinkets are broken or have gone missing. Why are Mr. Potato Head’s eyes nowhere to be seen? Why can’t the all-powerful mommy just fetch them? And I’m sure certain rules seem arbitrary to him at this point. Why can’t we keep the dripping-wet umbrella open in our little hatchback car? Or the more popular “no running into the street” or “no running with scissors”. Just what do I mean when I frequently repeat “Parker, be careful” or, in a pinch, just an urgently uttered “careful”. What does “you could get hurt” really mean to a nearly three year-old? Specifically to this daredevil of a child who has, knock on wood, never really been hurt. We’ve been lucky with all his fearless extreme sports-style climbing and jumping, he’s hardly had a scratch. While my friend’s toddler broke his arm after a simple spill off the kitchen stool. At least my son seems to have realized the concept of “too hot” without any extreme example to back it up. He knows that after food is heated up it needs to cool down a bit before eating it. I’ve told him a million times that the oven/stove is hot and can hurt him. Recently he pointed at the gas stovetop while I was cooking and said “blue”, referring to the flames. Thankfully he followed that up with “too hot”. So we’re getting there. Slowly but surely.