That's a long way off, I thought. By then, I'll have a four-year-old.
I really love three, for all its intransigence, it's got to be the cutest age (apart from 18 months, and 2, and all the other cute ages); but then, I love four too. It's so grown-up. Maybe it's because I remember being four, or because in Ireland four is when you start school, but to me, it seems like the real start of childhood. I remember being thrilled when Dash turned four, to have such a big kid.
But then. Mabel isn't Dash. Maybe I don't want a big kid just yet. She certainly doesn't want to be a big kid - not if it means giving up booboo (not altogether, just at bedtime, just maybe), or getting injections at her checkup, or having to walk instead of being carried. Even the thrill of a new carseat and a princess (and prince) party at which she can wear her party shoes and the prospect of lots of presents doesn't quite offset all that. Next thing you know I'll be getting her to wipe her own backside, and that will be entirely unsupportable.
I can see her point, to be honest. Dash is all about doing things himself (things he wants to do, that is; come to think of it, putting on his own socks or wiping his bum didn't really apply), but Mabel likes to be waited on hand and foot. "I need a tissue," is a common refrain in these germ-infested days of October, as she sits and waits for some disembodied hand to wipe her nose, and god forbid she should go to the trouble of blowing, no matter how often I explain that it will mean less wiping in the future.
I am bad at delegating. I'm bad at letting someone else make a hash of something when I know I can do a better job myself. Parenting is one long lesson in letting go, and I'm not good at learning it. I should probably leave her alone until the snot runs down her face and she comes and gets her own tissue and uses it by herself, but then, she might just decide to lick the delicious snot away, or wipe it on the cushions, or use it as glue. And then - she's right - I'm the one who'll be sorry.
Two more weeks, and I'll have a four-year-old. And everything - and nothing - will have changed.