“Don’t eat my food and make me cry,” my three year old Dean warned with perfectly enunciated words yesterday as he left the table mid-meal to use the powder room. He was not bluffing. He was being very matter-of-fact about it. He will cry, loud and strong if so much as a crumb is found missing upon his return.
But it’s not just MIA food that twists on Dean’s water works. He manages to work himself into a blubbering lather over missing toys, stuck zippers, lost boots, mean glares, anything he finds as a personal affront to his Dean-hood. It’s exhausting.
The tears aren’t immature solutions to a wanting vocabulary. He’s quite articulate and well-spoken as three-year-olds go, so why he sobs at the drop of Woody’s hat is beyond me! My heart strings have become immune to his crocodile tears, I don’t care how big he can make his baby blues. My “there-theres” have expired and I find myself declaring,
“Nobody likes a crybaby!”
“Then hit him back!”
“I’m happy to help you when you can talk in a big boy voice like this.”
“Repeat after me: Hey Mom, would you help me find my Woody doll? There! Much better.”
(This last one is by far the most effective. He’ll usually wipe his nose on his sleeve, repeat the words in trembling tones, then replace his frown with a big smile when he sees how his big boy voice sure does get results! The problem is, we keep repeating the exercise, never learning from the mistake.)
I used to attribute the rivers and brooks down his cheeks to his two-ness. Two was a very long year and not because I was savoring it. But I want to savor three. His dry-eyed three-year-old self is so wonderful, you can’t help but fall in love.
The only long term solution I’ve read about comes from a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book where the child is given a magical elixir that prevents her from turning off the water works. In the story the crybaby cries and cries until she floods her bedroom, the playground, the school! And when she’s finally all cried out and the flood subsides, boy has she learned her lesson!
I know. Not very feasible. Besides, there are no Piggle-Wiggles even listed. I’ll have to settle for reading the chapter aloud as our bedtime story tonight. I’ll bring along his floaties just in case…okay, as a visual aid.