Is it 3 or is it just me?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since a while now. As my son is approaching his third birthday, suddenly, things seem to be changing. I’m not talking about the various milestones he’s covering, or skills and words he’s learning; rather, I’m puzzled about the expectations that are now surrounding him. And me.
Is 3 the golden age?
One is a magical birthday. The little addition that made a big difference to your life is now a year old. He or she is no more a teeny-tiny helpless baby. He/she can get places, be it by crawling, shuffling, walking. There are words like ‘Mummumm’ and ‘Dada’. There are teeth. There’s solid food, no more purees. And there’s the onset of toddlerhood! Yes, One is BIG.
Two is a progression of the ones, with the not-so-looked-forward-to Terrible Twos. But Three, now Three is a different ball game altogether! Suddenly, everyone expects your three-year-old (who is still a two-year-old plus a day) to be more mature, know more, do more stuff on their own. There are just a whole load of expectations attached to being three!
Does it have to do with the fact that they are now pre-schoolers? There is such a hullabaloo about pre-school anyways, about how your child should be ready for it, whether you are ready for it etc etc. I mean the way I see it is such: your two-year-old was going to nursery – and was fine – so why should pre-school be any different? Agree, there will be more learning than play, more independence, probably even a uniform, but he/she was ready a year ago, and so were you. The ‘settling in’ (for both toddler and mum) is done. And dusted. In essence, it’s just a move upwards to another classroom with new faces. Why the fuss?
Then there’s the other big issue. Of potty-training. It is almost an unsaid law that by their third birthday, your toddler should be at least 80 per cent potty-trained. He/she is ready; it’s just you, the lazy parent that has not done your job. Just a mention of the number three, and you are asked whether your little one wees and poos in the toilet. It’s like nappies are a sin to wear on their third birthday party!
There is too much pressure (I’m feeling it, if not Little Man). Too many expectations. Does your three-year-old sleep in his own room? Does he dress/ undress himself? Still using a stroller? Shame! He must walk everywhere now. Still has a dummy? WHAT!!! It’s like adulthood has suddenly sprung upon your three-year-old and he must grow up. Just like that.
This doesn’t happen at four. Or five. The next big birthday is then 13, when your kid officially becomes a teenager. Which, again, is genuinely BIG. But, what’s it about three? Or is it really just me???
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