The Psycho Threes.

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Asher is in a difficult phase I like to call the “psycho threes.” Based on prior experience, I expect it to last until he’s about 5 years old.

I’m pretty much over it and it only began in earnest a few weeks ago, the epic meltdowns and unintelligible screaming over things like his sister sneezing on him or touching him or touching his blanket or staring at him.

Sometimes it’s over things like the fact that I broke his banana off the bunch because HE WANTED TO DO IT, or because there is sand on his hands after he got in the sandbox or there is a rock in his shoe after he walked through gravel.

I’ve gotten better this time around (because Maverick’s third year of life was literally the hardest year of mine, and this experience by comparison isn’t that bad) at maneuvering the whole living-with-a-tiny-psycho thing … but it wears on me. A lot. It begins first thing in the morning when he can’t get his blanket to hang just right on the back of his chair at the breakfast table, and it ends approximately 12 hours later when someone pulls the plug on his bath because HE WANTED TO DO IT.

Some days I handle it better than others. There have been many days lately where I just sat down and cried with him because I didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it and frankly, I needed a good cry. Being a mother is so, so hard when you’re not at your best emotionally and physically, when you are tired and feel like you need a break and yet … they are still there, asking for things. Needing things.

But tonight, at the end of a long stretch of hard weeks, after a bath and dinner and a book and a bedtime struggle, came the arduous task of picking out just the right pair of pajamas and the right pair of socks and trying and failing to put them on himself. And then it was finally time to put that sweet, psychotic, three-year-old boy to bed.

I was so OVER it, but I was holding it together, masking my exhaustion by sitting calmly on his bed like I had all the time in the world. I said — because now I must ask first, instead of just picking him up and plopping him on my lap — “Asher, do you want to sit in my lap?”

And after a long pause, he broke into that dimply grin and said very seriously, “IT IS MY FAVORITE THING.”

Then he climbed up, leaned in, smelled my shoulder like someone would smell a bouquet of flowers, and put his head on my chest.

It’s my favorite thing too, you know. So at least we have that in common.

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