Saturday, September 19, 2009

Growing pains

My little man is heading toward three years old next month and is having serious growing pains. Despite being completely potty trained since February, he has decided he wants to wear diapers again. When we talk about his birthday party, he tells us he doesn't want to grow up. When someone mentions what a big boy he is, he says he wants to stay little forever. When did my son turn into Peter Pan? I thought this was't supposed to happen until his was a bit older.

I have to admit I'm stumped as to exactly how to respond. Consider it a phase and let him play baby? I'm hestitant. He was almost completely weaned at two years old when I was laid off from my full-time job. Let's just say he is still nursing late at night and at naptime almost a year later.

My mild-mannered, polite, and pleasant little boy has also gotten terribly grumpy, contradictory, inconsolable, mercurial and stressed out. Are these the "terrible twos" and how long are they supposed to last? I don't know if I'll still be standing when it's all said and done. Hell, I don't know if the house will still be standing when it's all said and done.

In sweeter news, there is at least one thing that has brought a big smile to my honeybear's face. A serendipitous dessert that disappeared in two days--a record for us, I believe.

What we're calling Black Forest Pear Tart is the perfect way to use up those almost-too-far-gone pears. It has the silkiest milk-less "custard" that slurps up the succulent fruit juices as the tart bakes, infusing the whole mess with the scent of sweet pear. For a cobbled-together recipe, it caught us completely off guard with it's wicked deliciousness.

Black Forest Pear Tart

1 all-butter crust (see Getting Crafty post from January)
5 bosc pears
1 cup blackberries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out your crust and lay into tart or pie plate, trimming any overhang and crimping the edge. Slice the pears and arrange in the bottom of the crust. Scatter the blackberries atop the pears. Mix the sugar, lemon juice, eggs and almond extract in a small bowl with a wisk to combine. Pour evenly over the fruit and pop in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the "custard" is set, the fruit is tender and the crust is golden brown. Let cool on a rack (if you can resist). Cut and serve when the tart still has a breath of the oven on it--a touch warm.


Cave Mother said...

I obviously haven't any advice or even words of comfort, since I'm nowhere near that stage yet. But what I do want to say is that it is sometimes a relief to hear that other people's children are as imperfect as our own. We are often told that if we do x and y then our children will never be naughty or challenge us. It's obviously rubbish. I'm sure he'll get through this difficult stage soon enough (and probably start some new, even more challenging behaviour).

docwitch said...

My girl is seven and still has times when she moves back and forth between being 7 going on 17 and then wanting to be a baby again - particularly when she's going through big changes or there's lots going on.

I'm no expert on any of this stuff, so this is only my own very subjective perspective, but I figure that what my girl seems to need from me is to provide a secure place for her from which to explore and be a big 7 year old, and then be there for the inevitable retreat/retraction back into being little again and snuggling up with teddy etc. I figure they probably do this stuff because they feel it's safe for them to do, and they're not being repressed/socialised out of it.

And from memory that 2-3 stage is quite a cusp to be on. A real leap from babyhood to childhood seems to take place. It's a big thing for them isn't it? A bit of retreating back to babyhood is understandable.

Mon said...

This is quite common - more so in times of stress (good or bad), changes, new sibling, developmental milestones/shifts, etc.
I feel it's perfectly natural to retreat - don't we still do it as adults, albeit in less obvious ways?

It's a totally personal thing and I don't judge others for using the terms, but 'you're a big girl/boy' makes me feel uncomfortable. Like we're pushing children to grow up. I imagine its also added stress to a little person that feels anything but big, or ready to be so. You know?

Amanda said...

It is good to hear some validation. In my heart of hearts, I know it is temporary. And, that as he figures these stressors out, he is learning and growing toward himself.

We mamas are also not perfect, so I'm trying my best to be supportive as he works through this stage and calm in the midst of the emotional tornadoes.

Thank you wonderful blogmamas for your words of support. Your perspectives are amazingly helpful!

Christy said...

Amanda: By now you realize you are not alone. Just when I think I've figured my kids out they do something completely out of character. And it's amazing to me how much they grow, change, mature in a years time. I would encourage you to not go backwards (i.e. the diapers) and although I'm in favor of breastfeeding, if they have come out of a "stage" I think consistency is important so I would try not to go back to things they have "conquered". Obviously my opinion. At his age, he is very much trying to figure things out. If he perceives that "growing up" means not being able to rely on those things that bring him security and comfort then that could be a big part of his struggle. I think your loving, motherly reassurance is the best thing you can do for him...and consistency. Most kids thrive on that. Your motherly intuition is rarely off so do what you feel is best and don't second guess yourself. Best wishes!

Earthenwitch said...

That tart - *mouth waters*

That boy - *mouth waters*

As others have already said, sounds like just another of the many phases we go through with the tinies. Am trying to think of a less casual way to say 'don't sweat it', but failing. :)