Oh boy! Kostyn's 3.

I’ve been wanting to write something about Kostyn turning 3, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it is I wanted to say. Nobody needs to read another “My how time flies” post or a drippy “My kid is so amazing” post. That old Chinese proverb is true: “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.”

Still, I wanted to say something about who he is, and who we are, at 3. Sometimes I think it’s best to just get the ordinary stuff down on paper (so to speak) ... before it slips away to new habits and phrases and obsessions that make him quite a different kid than he was just a few months before (because it really is amazing how time flies, and my kid is uniquely beautiful).


So when I think about the everyday Kostyn, I think of the little ways he’s shedding his toddler facade and becoming a boy. He’s still tiny compared to his peers — I think all the shorts he’s wearing this summer are still size 24 months, and several of the T-shirts are, too — but his eyes are impossibly big. And they are somehow even bigger, round as saucers, when he wakes up from his nap. He wanders out of his room, his hair matted and damp, and there is something in the way he looks at me — so wide-eyed and rested, his mind already tripping over itself with ideas for the afternoon and memories from the morning he needs to share — that makes me love him a little more somehow. I often wish I could capture that look on film but I know he is at his most fragile upon waking, and if I were to whip out a camera at that moment instead of open arms, I’d capture something entirely different than what was intended.


He often spends all day talking nonstop (non. stop.), just a constant barrage of questions and statements and songs and gibberish and role-playing with his cars and trains and animals. There is always a mommy and always a baby, and there is almost always polite conversation between the two.



“How are you today?”

“I’m fine thanks, how are you?”

“I’m fine thank you what’cha doing?”

“I’m just riding around,” one car says to the other, and off he goes with both, riding and talking and singing and playing ... until he notices Evan playing with some random thing (doesn’t matter what), at which point Kostyn decides he MUST play with THAT EXACT TOY right away, and he grabs it from his bewildered brother and much whining and shoving and crying and possibly a Time Out ensues.


Oh, the trials of being 3. He understands concepts of love and family and friendships and manners, but he still wants what he wants when he wants it. (Don’t we all?) It is still hard for him to control his emotions and desires. It’s a trying time for all of us, but I’m sure it is somehow hardest on him. He loves his brother deeply, that is apparent and the feeling is mutual. Yet he naturally loves himself more, and it’s difficult to find a balance.

But he keeps trying. I know this because when he’s not taking toys or yelling “No Evan!” or throwing a shoulder as he passes by, he’s doting on his little brother like the best friend he is.

“You want a puzzle Evan?” Kostyn asks when he notices Evan looking up at something on a high shelf in the playroom. “You want this one?” he says, reaching up on tiptoe to fetch his brother a puzzle. (No matter that it’s often one Evan couldn’t possibly put together.)


Or “You want to read a book Evan?” he’ll ask, and when Evan nods excitedly Kostyn gets one off the shelf and sits down with his brother, patiently labeling everything Evan points to.

“Dat,” Evan says.

“That’s a cow,” Kostyn says.

“Mmmmmoooooo,” Evan says.

“That’s right! A cow says ‘Moo.’ Good job, Evan!” he encourages, mimicking Mommy and Daddy and making us smile and swoon ... until Evan wants to go back to a previous page and Kostyn wants to turn to the next page, and in a flash the idyllic brotherly bonds evaporate into a board book tug of war, and much whining and shoving and crying and possibly a Time Out ensues.

Oh, the trials of being 3. (Did I mention that already? Because a lot of my life at the moment feels like “Groundhog Day.”)


Right now Kostyn’s favorite things in the world are trains, sprinklers, bubbles, cars, books, bugs, ice cream and Evan. He is getting more physical every day, wrestling and climbing and jumping and head-butting and bouncing off the walls (literally) for a laugh. He is curious and careful. He loves to sing, but only on his terms. Every week we go to a playgroup/storytime at a local church, and he refuses to sing the songs with the rest of us (although he will do the hand motions that go with the tunes). But on the ride home, and for the rest of the day, and three nights later in the tub, and in the grocery store checkout line a month after that, he will sing all the songs he learned at the church over and over, sometimes asking me to join him and other times telling me to shut my trap when I try to sing along.

“I’ve got peeeeeeace like a riverrrrr, I’ve got peace...”

“No Mommy!”

“....like a river....”

“NO Mommy! No, it’s NOT. You CAN’T sing.”

“Um, OK.”


Incidentally, when he’s in a “No singing!” mood, it doesn’t just apply to singing silly storytime songs. He also considers “singing” to be humming, clapping, snapping, or tapping one’s fingers on, say, the steering wheel. “Stop singing!” he’ll admonish me from his car seat if he sees my thumbs moving like drumsticks as we listen to the car radio.

He’s trying on a sense of humor these days, too, which I find adorable and surprising. He tells me, “Mommy, you’re a silly...boy,” and his dimples get deeper with every giggle. Then he follows up the joke with more. “And Daddy’s a silly tree, and Evan’s a silly dog.” And I shake my head and scoop him up and kiss his face a dozen times while he writhes around and explodes with laughter as I tell him he’s a silly house.

Ice creammmmm!

“I wipe your kisses off Mommy,” he says with a smile, waiting for my reaction, and I tell him it’s impossible to wipe off a mother’s kiss because it seeps right into your skin instantly and besides, I’m going to kiss him a million-billion more times and he can’t possibly wipe them all away. And then I kiss him six times for good measure and he claws at his face and shakes his head and laughs in a way that says “I love you and your kisses, Mommy.” And my heart is so full that I forget about the whining and the shoving and the Time Outs and the “NO SINGING!” and just soak up the laughter, the dimples, and those impossibly huge brown eyes.

So there ya have it. I have a 3-year-old who wipes off my kisses and calls me a boy and tries to walk on my shins when I’m kneeling on the floor changing his brother’s diaper. Yep, that toddler facade is fading fast and in its place a silly boy is emerging, an aggressive, thoughtful, sweet, complicated, quirky little boy.


He is the only pretty child in the world, and I have him.


Maestra said...

Awesome Robyn, just awesome!

Dee said...

Beautiful, and oh how I missed your writing....especially about your beautiful boys

Lyn said...

Oh Robyn...a talent like yours is a magical gift. I'm not exactly sure why, but I was crying like a baby when I finished reading this. Your writing always moves me, that's for sure...but there was something a little deeper about these tears today. I think it is partly because Leah is almost a full year older than Kostyn so when I read about him, I fondly remember her younger days. And then hearing about the relationship your boys have with each other makes me yearn to give Leah a sibling (luckily, this feeling will pass the next time I am locked in a war of wills with Leah...which will probably happen tonight...). One thing is true...those boys have been blessed with an amazing mama...and they will never for even one second doubt it. Glad your blogger's block is un-blocked!