The gift of a 3-year-old.

“Here, Mommy. I picked a flower for you because I love you and you should have nice things,” sang E in her sweet little 3-year-old voice.


And my heart melted into a sloppy, messy puddle.

When I spotted it sitting on my kitchen table this afternoon, I almost forgot about our morning trip to Kroger when E dropped a pint of blueberries, squished them on the floor and then tried to eat them. Grocery shopping with kids is awesome.

It’s this flower and the unbelievably kind and unexpected actions that she pulls from thin air that get me through the really, really not fun times.

This simple gift of a flower snipped from the neighbor’s bush (shhh!) may seem, well, simple but to me it’s monumental. It is the fruit of three years of prayer and patience.

For my sweet E to show me love, unrequested. To know that not only does she love me, but actually likes me.

She has always been a daddy’s girl. From just a few hours old, she has always preferred J and his jungle gym body and afternoons of adventures. When E is fighting against me with every fiber of her being, J can get her to obey without incident. She counts down the time until he comes home in the evening. I’m certain she only naps because she knows it means daddy will be home sooner. I’ve always felt like the caregiver she tolerates but would never select.

Earlier this month, she informed me that she’d prefer if I went back to work so that Daddy could stay home and play all day. Ouch.

With the new year, I decided to make strides towards becoming a better mother. With that goal in mind, I’ve been listening to E and letting her speak. She can make decisions. She has more responsibilities and in turn, more rewards. While she is still very much a little girl, I’m treating her how I’d want to be treated if I were a 3 years old. Within reason, of course. She still can’t have any of my nutella.

And if my little gift is any indication, I think it’s working.

Do your children prefer one parent over the other?


3 thoughts on “The gift of a 3-year-old.

  1. What a doll!

    My little guy was a mommy’s boy while he nursed. No one could take the place of mama. Well, he weaned a few months ago, and the calls for “Daddy” are starting to surface. Part of it is a relief that he is bonding so beautifully with his dad. Part of me gets that twinge of jealousy. But I know he will flip-flop on his favorites throughout time. He just better remember that I’m the cool one 😉

    • That’s how it is with my younger daughter – she has always been all about me but recently began wanting my husband. It’s nice to have a break but it’s nice to be wanted. I guess I can’t have it both ways 🙂

  2. such a sweet post. My little girl (now almost 7) definitely prefers her daddy. They are so much alike in so many ways, so I get it, although, it still makes me feel sad sometimes. I want to have a good daughter/mother relationship unlike the one I had with my mother growing up. But, it really is work. And, I accept that. Luckily I have two little boys that think the world revolves around me. 🙂

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