Recently, our three year old son has been a little aggressive towards his favorite people (grandparents, parents and even beloved sister). Nothing major, just some light hitting, scowling faces, doesn’t want to cuddle, generally a grump. He has been very determined and generally defiant.
This has been subtle, yet obvious. I know this is a normal stage, but I had not understood what it actually meant. He is going through the “I don’t need them, yes I do need them” stage. Becoming his own person. Development of his independence as an individual. Struggling with the departure of the baby stage and the admission into the child stage. Ugh. How sad. Yet also has some perks. He dress himself, feed himself, toilet himself, sleep through the night (12 hours, yay!), and so on. It’s nice as a parent, after three years of tending to his every need, to have a little less weight to carry around (literally and figuratively).
Last weekend my husband spent over an hour in the kitchen with him making dinner. Little Goblin was very happy with this. I’ve noticed that with allowing him to watch is often all he needs to feel like a “big boy” feeding his curiosity about things. He also needs that “love” from everyone, despite the fact he isn’t as keen on cuddling anymore. I make time to ask for a kiss, give hugs, tell him how much I love him.
I wonder what is from here. He’s learning to write letters at school, curious about telling time, and desiring more time with his friends (having friends over). It seems so young to me, that at three years old, they truly desire to begin the process of self-discovery, emotional independence, and social independence as well.
The amazing thing about children is that it seems their “nature” exists from day one. Almost as though it’s predetermined. As parents we have little influence over this “core” of who they are. There are many theories in our world about this subject matter, and I am casting them aside to note my observation as a parent. My son has the same “core” personality now that he did as a baby. Baby Goblin is showing the same evidence that they have a built in manner in which their brain functions that gives them this “personality” from day one. So the parental role is to help shape this core into as happy/healthy as a human that we can. Yet when it comes right down to it, certain traits we will have absolutely no control over or ability to change within them.
In my last post, I mentioned the “Slow Family” movement. Silly that this should be a “movement” but it’s the concept of slowing down family life, and spending more time together. The idea is that it fosters healthier relationships between kids and their elders, benefiting their future relationships and their general frame of mind. The hope is by being a “slow family” these kids will have a more compassionate, globally concerned frame of mind as adults and some great childhood memories as well. It’s a lifestyle and commitment.
Anyway, the timing of my thought on the “slow family” and Little Goblin’s sudden independence is kind of perfect. An opportunity to integrate cooking family meals together, doing chores as a team, and fun stuff too. We have a beautiful apple tree on our property. It is PACKED this year with big beautiful red apples. So, despite the energy required, (sigh), this weekend we are planning an apple cider/applesauce/halloween cookie decorating party of sorts. Little Goblin’s cousins are coming to help, my mom is in charge of canning, the husband in charge of apple picking, and I am in charge of herding the children. A team effort, yet packed with plenty of fun and some great childhood memories as well. Of course the rest of the family can come too, but they don’t need to do any serious labor, just eat cookies.