He sleeps with his yellow construction hat. And a stuffed toy he calls baby jaguar and he still uses a pacifier. He’s almost 3.5 and he’s not potty trained. He’s headstrong and testing limits and can be mean and rude and dear god sometimes I forget that he is still such a baby. Sometimes I’m so hard on him. Sometimes I give him the silent treatment because I don’t want to yell at him. Because I’m angry. Because I want him to know I’m angry. He screams for a while. Repetitive, wants something, doesn’t matter what, just wants to win, just wants me to hear. Then he starts repeating “Be nice to me mama.” I still don’t talk. I can’t. I’m just so angry about the way he acted and angry that I have to be consistent with my punishment because dammit I wanted to go to Target and get a cookie too but he didn’t listen and I took it away and now we can’t go. How old am I? He sleeps with a construction hat and a stuffed toy he calls baby jaguar. He still uses a pacifier. He still wants me to lay with him when he goes to sleep. He asks me to turn on his turtle light when I leave so it’s not so dark. He’s just a baby. Why do I want to yell at him like an adult? Actually I want to yell at him like I would never yell at an adult. Sometimes I want to be ugly. Sometimes I am ugly. When am I being too hard on him and when do I need to enforce even more? What do I let go? How am I going to let him go? “I like holding hands with you mama. I need a hug.” He’s still my baby. I’m trying so hard to be a good mom. He’s still a baby, but comes incognito as a teenager when I least expect it. But because he still needs to hold onto baby jaguar. Because he still needs to hold onto my hand. I will take more deep breaths tonight and not be ugly. I will hug and hold hands and be patient. I will be creative and find ways to make doing what we need to do fun and possible. I will love the stuffing out of that little boy for the rest of my life and I will not miss even an ugly moment of 3.5 because I won’t get it back.