Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure - Three Year Old Edition

image: Kristina Alexanderson

Adventure #1

It is 37 degrees outside, and the wind is gusting up to 40mph. As you walk to the car, the cold air sends goosebumps down your spine.

(I know, I know. 37 degrees is not that cold. But I am an Arizonan. We are a warm weather people.)

 You get everyone buckled into the car and leave for your destination.

Two minutes later, you hear a request. "Mom, please may I roll my window down? I really want to roll my window down."

 You choose. 
 Choice 1: You deny the request. It's cold and no one needs their window down right now. The heater is on, for heaven's sake.
 Choice 2: You unlock the window.

 >>You have chosen #1. 

 "No, honey, it's cold outside. We don't need our windows down."

 Three year old immediately breaks down, tears rolling, loud wails fill the car. Complete breakdown ensues. The six year old is now holding her ears and crying because the three year old is so stinking loud. You arrive at your destination on time, but enter twenty minutes behind schedule due to the amount of time it takes to calm everyone back down.

 >>You have chosen #2. 

 "Alright, if you say so."

 Window rolls down. You brace yourself for the cold, but surprisingly, it is not that noticeable. A minute or two later, you hear a song from the back seat.

 "The wind is blowing, and I feel in my heart. It is so beautiful and I love the wind. I don't know why but I just love the wind, and I love the wind in my heart..." 

 There are few things cuter than a three year old singing original songs.

 After about a mile's worth of this, she says, "Okay. I am done with this window. It is cold outside."

 The window rolls up. Everyone is in a happy mood. You arrive at your destination and enter on time. You feel like a good mom today.

Adventure #2

Children are tucked into bed. Stories have been read, waters have been sipped, blankets have been placed the right way. Good night, dear children. 8:05pm.

You finally get to sit down next to your husband, where you plan to drink a glass of wine, maybe even finish an uninterrupted sentence.

Just as you get comfortable, a three year old voice travels down the stairs. 8:10pm.

"Mom, I have a question. Will you snuggle me?"

You choose. 
Choice 1: You deny the request. You've already hugged, kissed, tucked, snuggled, and you are tired. 
Choice 2: You go snuggle.

>>You have chosen #1.

"Sweetie, I have already snuggled you. You are supposed to be in your bed. Please go lay down and go to sleep."

Three year old turns for her room, big sobs causing her whole body to shudder. She returns to bed, where she proceeds to cry louder and louder. Now six year old is crying. She can't read because three year old is so stinking loud. Husband retreats to the garage to "check on some things". You gulp some wine and climb the stairs to begin damage control. Many minutes and tears and tissues later, the house is calm again. You go to bed, no wine, no conversation. You are exhausted. It is 9:07pm.

>>You have chosen #2.

"Sure, honey. I'll be right there."

You scoot into bed beside her and she wraps your arms around her body just so, and presses her little forehead to yours. She asks you to stay "to 100" and counts sleepily to somewhere in the 80's at which point she nods off. You muse about how perfectly her forehead fits into the curves of your face. Her breath becomes even, her arms limp. You stay for a few extra seconds to soak up what's left of her baby-ness. You gently slide out of her bed, and walk back down the stairs.

It is now 8:17pm and you have a quiet house. You might even get to read a book tonight.

Adventure #3

Six year old asks for her piggy bank. She has promised to pay three year old two dollars in exchange for three year old singing a song with her.

You choose:
Choice #1: You deny the request. "Two dollars for singing a song? Money is not for playing with, you know."
Choice #2: You get the piggy bank.

>>You have chosen #1.

Six year old gets angry. "It's MY money. I earned it. I PROMISED I would pay her. Do you want me to break my promise? You are making me into a BAD SISTER!" She stomps off to her room. Three year old is now crying because she wants the two dollars she was promised. There is a good chance that six year old is attempting to climb her bookshelf and get the bank herself, which will probably lead to injury. You sigh and head upstairs, most likely to argue some more.

>>You have chosen #2.

"Sure, here you go."

You listen as six year old gives three year old a little lesson on the different types of money in her bank, and quizzes her what the coins are and how much they are worth. Three year old wants to pay her sister for her lesson, and asks for her own bank. Two more dollars are exchanged. There are "thank you's" and "I love you's" spoken. They put away their money. You mentally check "teach some math today" off of the on-going list in your head.

*  *  *  *  *

Grown ups just can't see the whole little-kid picture sometimes. We see from the practical view, the "you'll put your eye out!" mind-set. Children hear the song in the wind, the sweetness of that last hug before sleep. I wish I could say that I always chose #2, and my household was always pleasant and idyllic. Sometimes I can't see past the sensible solution, or the quickest means to my end. But more often, I do, and the results often teach me a new perspective. For that, I  am thankful.


  1. I adore every last bit of this! What a creative post! Did you know that the co-creator of Choose Your Own Adventures series passed this week? And did you know that Neil Patrick Harris has an autobiography out in Choose Your Own Adventure form? (And can you tell I loved these books as a kid?!) Great post!

  2. Thanks, Caitie! I did not know the co-author passed. I loved those books, too. Writing this post reminded me to put them on B's library list! :) I did know about Neil Patrick Harris. I can't wait to read it - love him!

  3. You are so creative with these posts, Nicole! Thank you <3