When pre-schoolers are awful it feels like your world is crashing down. But those moments of exhaustion are merely physical - no real emotional needs are being unmet as of yet. Strangers are indulgent about tantrums because of their cuteness.
We have a parenting groove down - we feel like we understand pre-schoolers. Their needs are simple: Love, food, sleep, arts and crafts, books and some physical activities. Maybe a little TV.
We expect them to pay attention to carving pumpkins... for five minutes.
Ned was carried screaming the length of the mall for our fast exit on Saturday morning with three naughty kids. But this morning he completely unprompted snuggled into me and said "Mom, I love you so much".
Penny can scream for over an hour about wanting to watch Small Potatoes which failed to appear after an episode of Special Agent Oso. Penny likes to instruct Ned on how to put on his shoes and underwear. She makes up songs involving chickens to the tune of "Five Little Pumpkins". She reasons "Well, maybe..." and still calls elastics "plastics". She is a very capable little girl.
Jo is into everything - climbing, falling, bruising, angry at not being 3 yet; but when Ned and Penny aren't around she is so chatty and a little less crazy. When we are walking places she wants to hold Ned's hand instead of mine.
She likes to feed me popcorn during movie time.
We may feel like we ran a marathon when the bedtime drill is over. When it is done the kids are in bed for almost 12 hours - the house is quiet.
It won't always be this way. Growing up is a blessing and a curse.