Christmas at 3

Do you remember how intense everything was at three years old?

I try to put myself back there sometimes. It's the only way I can deal with the tragedies that occur at my house on a daily basis. Because everything is a tragedy.

Because I don't remember much. Just the important stuff. Like my cousin getting the black patent leather shoes that I really wanted, and how tragic it was that I got the white ones. Because tap-dancing shoes weren't white! They were black, MOM! And these black patent leather shoes that my cousin got were not regular shoes in my tiny head, they were the shoes of a future dance star! They were tap shoes! Because I was a female Gene Kelly. And white shoes were not going to cut it. I was pretty broken up about that. That, I remember.

This afternoon, I sat down at the computer for the first time all day after baking cookies. The kids had just gotten up from their naps and were riding around the house (like lunatics) on their motorcycles that my parents had given them thank you so much! When all of a sudden I heard the loudest scream EVER. It was the scream of a broken body part. It was blood-curdling and I was scared out of my mind and I leapt from my chair and fled to the scene of whatever ailment/slash/crisis was upon me!

And in my panickymother voice asked, "What's wrong, are you ok? What happened! Where are you hurt! WHAT'S WRONG??!!!!"

To which my screaming three-year-old held up a broken candy cane and sobbed, "My candy (sniff) cane (sniff) is BROKENNNNNNN!!!!

I wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, but you must know, it was very important for me to relay just how awful that scream was and how it must never be screamed (scrum? scram?) again EVER.

So I said the following:

"Wait a minute. You're mad about a candy cane?"

And he sniffed real big to stop the big stream of snot flowing from his crying nose and wailed, "Yeahhhhh!"

And I asked, "So you're not hurt, then?"

And he said, "No." (sniff.) Still holding up his candy cane that was once one candy cane but is now two for me to see.

And I said, real calm-like, "Honey? I want you to know, that THAT is not the 'I broke my candy cane' scream. That is the 'my arm is broken' scream. Or the 'I'm bleeding from my neck' scream. Or the 'I'm pinned under something very heavy' scream. Not the 'I broke my candy cane' scream. OK? Do you understand what I am saying?"

He nods, still crying.

And I went on, "Because Mommy has just had a heart attack. In the split-second that it took me to leap up from my chair and get to you, I visualized very terrible things that you might be screaming about and I had a heart attack. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

And he said, "But my (SNIFF) CANDY CANE (BIGHUGE-SNIFF) IS BROKEN!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!" Followed by more crying and then running into his room and slamming the door.

Yes, I have a tendency to launch into these monologues that my children don't understand.

I like to talk things out. They are not quite there yet.

Until then I will continue my full belief that motherhood is a string of tiny heart attacks because you feel like you're protecting this tiny little egg like you did in Home Ec and you just want to put it in bubble wrap. There is all this leaping up and rushing to and trying to stop.


I know I should be glad that the veryterriblescream was just over a broken candy cane and not something worse.

Of course, to a three-year-old, what could possibly be worse than a broken candy cane?
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