My three-year-old fascinates me right now. I find each of my children interesting in different ways, in their various personalities and stages of growth, but Oscar is a wonder to behold.
Part of it is just being three, I think. People talk about the terrible twos but we’ve found with the two oldest boys that three is the most challenging age so far. Three-year-olds are old enough to understand some things and stake a claim to their own little corner of the universe, but they’re not quite developed enough to be rational. Oscar and I have a lot of arguments that go nowhere, because he is stubborn and nonsensical and will not let anything drop. Ever. So we have conversations that go like this:
“Daddy, what is it?”
“What is what?”
“What IS it?”
“Oscar, I don’t know what you mean. Can you give me more information?”
“Just TELL ME WHAT IT IS!!!”
“I don’t KNOW what it is! I don’t even know what we’re talking about!”
“TELL ME! AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!”
He can exasperate me more than perhaps anyone on the planet right now, but he can also make me laugh harder than anyone. His goofy joy is infectious. The other night at dinner I made a face at him and he laughed so hard that he drooled a mix of saliva and red peppers down his chin, which cracked me up. Soon we were both in hysterics.
Then, barely an hour later, he jumped on my head and broke the nose piece off my glasses, and I was about ready to lock him in a closet.
(I mean that figuratively, of course.)
He is a little whirlwind, a mass of contradictions. He can go from deeply offended sobs to gut-busting laughter in seconds. Sometimes he seems blissfully clueless — I can say to him, “Do not do that or else you will get in trouble,” and he will immediately do the exact thing I told him not to do, and he will act shocked when I discipline him for doing it.
Other times he astonishes me at what he picks up. He watched an educational video yesterday that featured a song about punctuation, and a few hours later he explained to me, in perfect detail, exactly how to use a comma, a period and a question mark. (At bedtime prayers, he wanted to pray about punctuation, so we thanked God for commas and periods. Which made my grammar-freak heart extremely happy.)
He is so alive. His alive-ness is a thing of ferocious and terrible beauty; he is raw nature unhinged and unfiltered, full of joy and rage and wonder. He learns new things every day and finds secret mysteries in the tiniest, most ordinary things.
Even at just five, his brother Xander is more world-wise and analytical, equipped with filters with which to process the world, generally more cautious. All of which is good in its own way; he’s far more likely to think through consequences before he acts (though not always). But Oscar just is. Sometimes I look at him and I think, “how did we produce such a magnificent force?”
Yesterday it poured here, and Shawna asked the boys if they wanted to go puddle-jumping in the rain. Xander thought about it, realized it would involve getting soaked and dirty, and said, “I’m not doing that!”
Oscar didn’t think twice. He was in his glory, tearing through puddles at top speed and laughing his face off. He came home absolutely drenched from head to toe, and completely satisfied.
He was made to be wild and dangerous. I don’t always know what to do with that, but I know there’s something sacred about it. Something amazing.