I'm learning a lot about myself as a parent and a lot about the world in general, here's some of the "wisdom":
1. When a kid makes up words you end up hearing things like so and so "is a hooker" or "fucker" and then need to try not to laugh
2. Kindness and respect are really important to me - not a major revelation - but the way it warms my heart when he spontaneously says things like "you're welcome over to our house any time" to his friend across the street or "welcome back we missed you" to a teacher who was gone for a week. I only hope this is a sign of what's to come.
3. At 3, my kid knows more than me about many things and he's happy to explain them - why there are rainbows, how you can tell that the dinosaur is a parasophalophus, the hand motion the officials do in a basketball game when a player is called for traveling (no idea where he learned that) and the list goes on.
4. When you whine about something it's called "acting like a toddler."
5. We happen to have a kid who is generally a rule follower - he knows the rules and is happy to tell you when you're not following them (like telling strangers it's not safe to ride your bike without a helmet or it's not kind to splash people by jumping in a puddle). He also gets the concept of "school" - i.e. listening to a teacher, following the rules, sitting quietly and waiting your turn, etc. Not all kids know this or behave this way and it's okay for S to be around that - it's a hard but important lesson to learn that just because someone else is doing something doesn't mean you should too.
6. I am trying to live more by the motto - Don't be so quick to judge. This hit me a couple of times recently. First when there was a news story about a mom ignoring her son because she was on a cell phone or iTouch or something and eventually the kid bit her to get her attention. The assumption of the story was "bad parenting". What if we stepped back to see an overworked exhausted parent, a kid who talks nonstop all day and is learning patience, is it so horrible to make him wait a minute (without biting of course) for a parent's attention? The second was at swim class. Two boys in the class were totally not paying attention, doing their own thing, and running around splashing all the other kids. The parents were 10 feet away and did nothing. My initial reaction was, who let's their kids act like that. If that was S I would pull him out of the pool and explain he needs to listen to the teacher, it ruins the class for the other kids, it's not safe, etc. etc. Then I see a very pregnant mother who is parent to one of the boys, okay she's tired, this is probably what she deals with all the time, she may be out of energy for the moment to deal with it. My explanation goes in many other directions as well, most not as understanding, but I'm trying to go with, don't be so quick to judge - we all do the best can with the cards we're dealt at the moment, a different time and place and the scene would play out very differently.
7. It's really hard not to laugh at times - conversation between S and dad in the car:
S: (adjusting his car seat belt) is this okay so it's not cutting into my neck?
Dad: Yes. (then to me) Did you tell him that?
Me: Yes, he's been moving the chest strap up to his neck and down to his belly so I was telling him where to keep it for safety.
Dad: (to S) Remember when you asked mom about your nipples?
Dad: Do you remember where they are?
Dad: Point to them.
S: (points to his nipples)
Dad: The buckle goes right across your nipples.
[Flash back a week or two, S standing in the bathroom with no shirt, pointing to both nipples. What are these momma? Your nipples. What are these squishy things under your nipples? Now really how am I supposed to answer these questions without a chuckle?]