Monday, September 26, 2011

Free to Be Three


He stumbled into the living room rubbing sleep-swollen eyes, clutching faithful blankie in one hand and Buzz Lightyear sunglasses in the other. Even though it was 7 a.m. And raining. 

He is the poster child for randomness right now and I love this stage entirely too much. I wish it could last forever.

At three years old {almost four,} he does not apologize for wearing mismatched clothes or backwards shirts. 

Snow gloves in September? 

A bowl full of milk for dipping one's muffin? {Notice the sunglasses still within reach.}

Reading a book while sitting in a cardboard box in the middle of the bed?

Watching TV while sitting in the same cardboard box in the middle of the living room?

{Obsessed with cardboard abodes in general?}

Bandit masks with Pollyanna hats?

It's all good with him. And it's all good with me too.

Had he been my firstborn instead of my thirdborn, we'd all be missing out.  

Ten years ago I was a bundle of insecurity and control, steamrolling my grown-up conventions over her free-spirited expression, too caught up in perfection and appearances to allow for mismatched clothes and light-up shoes. 

It's one of my biggest parenting regrets. 

She had a mile-wide independent streak and I was too busy trying to mold her into my vision of perfect, pink, compliant girlhood. Thank goodness I realized it before she was grown and have since changed my ways, vowing never to go back. 

The point is, kids do not apologize for being who they are. They wear their bold colors with confidence and we'd do well to soak it up instead of stamping it out. 

I know that eventually self-consciousness wins out and that freedom of expression emerges in more socially appropriate ways. Its inevitability brings tears to my eyes. 

Until then, I'll love every second of the kooky, unexpected, sheer craziness of abandon. 

My 38-year-old "refinement" marvels at his three-year-old recklessness, wishing desperately that I could be as brave and adventurous as he is, if only for a day. 


  1. I loved this! My Truman, only a week older then cupcake is in the same stage. Most of the time both tops and bottoms are on backwards and reported to be more comfortable that way.:)
    I have a picture of myself at 4 with my hair in four braids,(as I always requested) and a crazy kimono over a striped shirt.

  2. Oh, how I miss those days. I love my big boys, but there's just something about those times of unselfconsciousness that makes for the sweetest memories.

    And aren't you grateful you have a camera to capture all these moments? :)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing! I am at this stage with my first born and there are days I love letting that free spirit run and days I find myself squashing it.... usually because of my own pride. This was so encouraging!

  4. yes. to everything. it's beautiful :).

  5. Wonderful boy! Wonderful blog post! Wonderful truth! Some moments are simply for freeze-framing . . . if you could. This is one of them (or several of them).


  6. Your boy is so cute. And his "recklessness", "randomness" and "imperfections" are just perfect for me. Thank you for your insights on allowing the kids to be the free spirits that they are, because I also have a tendency to steer my kids to perfect behavior all the time.


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