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When I left for work this morning I did something I often do, namely to kiss and cuddle each of my children goodbye. With Olive, there is often an additional sentiment wherein I look into her inhumanly gorgeous eyes and say something to the effect of "don't ever change".

I say this in part because I'm in love with her sunny personality, but also because I am utterly terrified at the fast approach spectre of her third birthday.

While many parents go through the journey of sharing their homes with a Threenager, we are still reeling from the sucker punch that continues to be Esme's journey through those "troublesome" years. 

Please note everything in that last sentence was literal and not hyperbole, as in we are literally getting sucker punched on a daily basis.

Or as Keith so wisely responded to a meme about strong willed children changing the world "Esme will definitely change the world. Like physically. Until it is a cube spinning around the sun."

Which is only slight hyperbole.

Like any finely balanced ecosystem, we coped with the fact that one of our children delivers regular bouts of wanton violence, because it was balanced out by two children who seemed to skip through life on sunbeams and fairy song.

As of tonight, we are down to one child. The other dun fell off the sunbeam.

I came home tonight to see the children in various states of undress, covered in the foodstuffs and adventures of the day, and entertaining themselves with the electronic device of their choice. All of which is entirely normal for our household, and certainly nothing that would warn me of the catastrophic, soul destroying, moment that was about to hit me square in the face.

Once I had shed my biker's skin, I went into the kitchen to help Keith with the dinner, only to be stopped by a pouty version of the sunny little girl I had left behind that morning.

"Want cereal"

"I'm so..."

And that was all it took. I hadn't even finished the word "sorry", let alone tell her whether I was sorry that I couldn't instantly cough up Lucky Charms like a demented mama bird, or whether we had taken a moral decision never to let cereal pass our threshold. 

There was no context given, and apparently none needed. 

Literally the hint of me doing anything other than sprinting headlong towards the nearest cereal bowl was all that it took for Olive to drop to her knees, throw her head back and howl out the song of her people: The ancient lament of the Threenager.

An on some deep, primeval level, her father and I sung right along with her. Not in reality, because that would have looked stupid, but inside our hearts we wept the bitter tears of a parent who knows how this story goes.

This is the start of those "big feelings" that will grow exponentially depending on the number of people around us, and the quietness demanded by the location. We know the drill, we will be avoiding crowded libraries and the upcoming ANZAC dawn services until further notice. 

This is the point at which "no thank you" will be replaced by a well aimed punch to the groin, and "stop it, I don't like it" will become a shrill screech that will set off car alarms all the way to Auckland.

Right now is when we give silent thanks for the nearly-three-years we have spent on Easy Street and hunker down with a bottle of wine to console us. 

We know these things because we are, after all, the oil to her troubled water, the chill in her pills; dammit, we're the wind beneath her fucking wings

Or to put it another way; we are completely, and totally screwed.    

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