Monday, January 13, 2014

A Friendly Reminder to Take What Your 3 year old says with a Grain of Salt

It was a rare perfect morning.

After a rough week, I was actually getting to enjoy my day off. Sipping hot, freshly ground coffee out of my favorite chipped mug, I sat at a tiny table playing legos with the cutest 3 year old in the world. We were both cozy in our jammies relishing the lazy fun play day.

As he began arranging the legos in various piles, we chatted about his plastic construction projects. He declared he was building his house and I gave the appropriate amount of fake enthusiasm over his construction skills. He then handed me a stack instructing me to build "mommy's house."

"But I live at your house, silly head!" I said teasingly.

"No," he said, very seriously, "you live at the hospital, and I live here."

I felt the lump begin to swell in my throat and my eyes begin to sting. Then I took a deep breath.

If this interaction had happened 5 years ago with my first son, it would have driven me to immediate tears. I would have been overwhelmed with mommy guilt and self pity over my hours away.  My schedule would have been reevaluated. Long discussions would be had with me and my girlfriends about how I felt I was failing at motherhood.

Instead of falling apart, I thought a minute and asked my rather creative 3 year old a follow up question,"Where does daddy live?" (Daddy is the 'stay at home parent')

"At the Post Office." He replied quite seriously.

"And brother, where does he live?" I asked with a smile.

"At his school." He replied with a superior tone that nearly had an implied "Duh" at the end.

I smiled, explaining that these are all just places we go, not where we live. He then proceeded to argue with me. I wisely agreed with him because the other thing I've learned over the years is to PICK YOUR BATTLES with a 3 year old.

So the next time your child makes a comment that tears your mommy heart to pieces, it's OK to be sad, but remember to get the whole story. And to most definitely take what a 3 year old says with a grain of salt or perhaps the entire shaker.


  1. Definitely. People take children's comments as deep and profound when they touch at one's own insecurities, but these are just observations from people trying to construct the world -- and kids aren't always rational. One of mine recently announced -- after an amazing day in which we did a lot of his favorite things -- that it was the worst day ever because I made him turn off Power Rangers at 8:30 p.m. OK!

  2. LOVE this story!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing. This constantly crosses my mind as a younger physician including student loans. Posts like this always reminds me to laugh sometimes. Thanks!

  4. LOVE THIS STORY!!!! I live at the "doctor house." according to my 3 year old. And our house is her house. I'll now have to inquire about where everyone else lives!!!!

  5. Hah I think 3 year olds are hilarious for these very sort of takes on the world. I got into a pseudo argument with a 3 yr old nephew:
    Him: you need to button your sweater.
    Me: I do? Why?
    Him: because mommies button their sweaters.
    Me: oh ok. But I'm not a mommy.
    Him (perfectly seriously): yes. You are.

    I'm not. But you know. 3 yr olds.


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