The 3 and 4-Year-Old-Phase: The Good, The Challenging, and The Awe Inspiring
The 3 and 4-Year-Old-Phase: The Good, The Challenging, and The Awe Inspiring

The 3 and 4-year-old phase, is at the same time, my least and most favorite phase.  I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either, but just hang in there while I try to explain myself.

 

This is the phase in which *most* tiny people have more words and can express what is going on in their cute little heads.  I love the level of communication.  I love not needing to guess *most* of the time which color of cup is the favorite today.  I love hearing their voices, and all of the questions that they have as they try to make sense of their world.

 

While some days I have no idea how one tiny human can make SO. MANY. MESSES while looking so dang cute, most days I am giggling and wondering what they will be when they grow up.  What is God’s plan for this BIG personality?

 

My current 4-year-old is, to date, my most challenging.  She is busy, has definite ideas of how she thinks her day should go and is the only one that has thrown books, among other things, in the toilet.  She is the only one that “goes dark” when she is doing something she shouldn’t and she is a master of hide and seek. (FYI no one declared a game of hide and seek, she probably has a leftover candy cane she is trying to devour before you realize she is gone.  I wish I were kidding.)

 

I REALLY want to enjoy this phase.  I know it won’t last.  I know I *might* miss it when it is gone.  I know that one day my house will be still and quiet.  I also know that the days are long and the years are short, but I’m tired.  Between cheerios all over the place, half-eaten strawberries, and everything being sticky (can I get an amen?), I’m tired.

 

I want to be fully present in this phase, to soak it in.  To remember what she looked like, sounded like, and what all of her favorites were.  I want to remember that adorable “can you guess where I peed this time” grin and how she danced to all of Elsa’s songs while she watched Frozen.
At the same time, there are days that I long for bedtime or a moment of quiet.  Days I wish I were the type of wife who had a tracking app on my phone so I could watch my husband’s progress as he made his journey home because I just want to go to the bathroom alone.
But there is so much joy in this season. Yes, I said that right.
JOY.
3 and 4-year-olds are hilarious. They say the best things, have big imaginations, and know that God is a big God who made everything! One thing I have loved is the big things she wants to pray for.
When we lay down at night for her to sleep we read a devotion from Foundations by Ruth Chou Simons, work on the memory verse, and then I ask her what she would like to pray for that day.
Most of the time is something like “all of the kids in our family and all of the kids in the world.” This is a moment when I get to see a glimpse into the heart God gave her. She already has a heart for all of the kids in the world. And while that is still basic and immature, it is a shadow of what is to come.
If you are in this season of life with me, please know, you can love it and be tired.  Being tired and needing help or just needing ten minutes alone doesn’t make you a bad mom. You can want to soak it all in and long for bedtime.  It isn’t either/or.  It can be both.
There is something I want to say to encourage you in this. Remember that God is our sustainer. He is right here with us during these seasons that are trying. These seasons survival mode. God is often seen as our deliverer but never forget that He is also the one who will and does sustain us in the valleys of this life.
So while I don’t think I would call the 3 and 4-year-old phase a valley, it can definitely be a challenge and God is right here with you as your sustainer and giver of rest.

Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!

Tyler OJ Campus

Teresa Ator: teresaa@gcc.org

Bethanie Tayler: bethaniet@gcc.org

Tyler UB Campus

Max Heller: maxh@gcc.org

Chrisleigh Heller: chrisleighh@gcc.org

Lindale Campus

Molly Pontius: mollyp@gcc.org

Debra Kirby: debra@gcc.org

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