Thursday, March 27, 2008

42 Months

Well now it's official. Lucas has turned three-and-a-half even though he already tells everyone that's how old he is...and I mean he tells everyone! He loves to talk to anyone who briefly wanders into his periphery, which is an absolutely delightful trait when it's a wonderful little child accosting you with endless questions that begin with the word "WHY". Although when a strange adult suddenly decides that they want to learn everything about us, the first thing that pops in our heads is "Why the hell do you care?" Children are a rare gift from the universe to remind us that all of the shit that we've molded around us to make us feel exceptional really ain't all that special. They show us that the simple pleasure of getting to know another human being is a truly empowering tool for humanity. They take us back into a world of wonder where we notice the pure beauty of life shining through the eyes of innocence.

Not to say that Lucas is a perfect and innocent angel all of the time. He has his beastly moments. Another aspect of reaching the fine age of three-and-a-half is the endless supply of energy that exudes from his tiny body. He bounces, he runs and jumps, he dances, he races and chases, he spins, he swirls, he wrestles and giggles and shrieks and moans, he laughs and he whines. Oh man, can he whine.

One thing that he loves to do (which I must admit that I encourage at times) is being chased. When we chase him, the smile that spreads from ear-to-ear cannot be topped. Unfortunately this joy that he derives from such a simple pleasure encourages him to indulge in this chasing-game during inopportune moments. Such as...when mommy or daddy really don't feel like chasing him...or when it's important for him to stay near us because of where we are, maybe a restaurant or a crowded store or a busy street corner (yes, he has raced into the street on occasion without looking). So now it's become obvious that we need to rethink some of the ways that we play with Lucas but it's not so easy changing the behavior of a three-and-a-half-year-old. He's become quite stubborn.

I've noticed lately that when he doesn't want to listen to our suggestions that he just doesn't respond at all. I know that he's heard me but he just continues on with whatever he's doing like there's nothing in the world that could possibly bother him. I started thinking to myself, "What the hell! Why is he blatantly ignoring us?" Eventually the threatening tones find our voices and he suddenly regains his hearing. Then the other day, Xtina and I were talking about a relative and their terrible behavior and remarking about how children are a reflection of their parents. I suddenly realized that concept holds true for us as well and if there was something that I didn't really appreciate in Lucas' behavior, well he had to learn it somewhere.

In our home, Lucas watches about two hours of teevee a month...if he's lucky. There were some concerns about how it affects children so we decided not to have that in his life. Despite all of that, none of those fears really came into the equation regarding the computer, which is on almost everyday for most of the day. Even though Lucas doesn't actually use the computer comprehensively, I suddenly saw how it was affecting him negatively.

When one is on the computer it's very easy to become absorbed in what you are doing (kind of like teevee but slightly more active) and it always seems like what you are doing is only going to take a minute. On more than one occasion, I have to admit that when Lucas sought my attention regarding something very important for him I ignored him. Sometimes he simply goes off to find something else to do but quite often this really irritates him. He even will climb into my lap and plant himself between me and my 17" screen just so that he is acknowledged in some way. This has also occurred in a less conspicuous manner while reading the paper or a book, or while scribbling away with an old-fashioned notebook and pencil.

Hmmm, I think I understand that irritation that he must be feeling at those times because that's exactly the way that I feel when his trains are more important than a clean room. So now, whenever I try to get him to cooperate with me and he's decided that what I am saying just isn't important enough for him to listen, I think about all of the ways he reminds me of me. He's my reflection and don't I feel good inside when he's adorable, when he's affectionate? When I feel the anger beginning to rise, maybe that's the perfect time for me to notice my own weaknesses flashing before my eyes, the perfect reminder to be thankful that we are alive.

I'm thankful that I have a beautiful little boy to remind me of all the ways I need to improve on my own behavior. I'm thankful for these little gifts from the universe.

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