On a recent visit with my friend Walker, he accompanied me on a trip to the nearby Urbanna Market to pick up some essentials. There were of course, certain conditions for this excursion laid down by Walker- one, he was going to ride his bike and two, I was going to buy him cotton candy. Done and done.
After leaving his bike parked by the front door (“I can’t ride my bike in the store”), he made a bee line for the cotton candy display. Placing a bag of the brightly colored spun sugar treat in the basket, he proceeded to start grabbing more, telling me he was getting his sister Abigail and his girl Edie each their own bag. Not wanting to squelch his generosity (Walker is quite possibly, one of the most generous souls around) but also not wanting to bring back three bags of questionable cotton candy (I’m a cotton candy snob. I love the fresh stuff, am leery of the bagged at the grocery store stuff, but you do blame me?), I steered him towards choosing other treats for the girls. This became a sort of blank check to my three year old friend, who took off through the store on a mission to procure the best treats ever for two of his favorite big girls. He carelessly tossed a box of Gushers into the basket for Abigail, then took off to get popsicles for Edie. Along the way, I paused to grab what we had walked to the market to get, which is where I bumped into my husband, Pat, who was on a mission to procure dinner.
“Hey, I was wondering why Walker was in the frozen food section” he greeted me. I explained Walker was selecting popsicles for his Edie when Pat clarified, “He’s IN the frozen food section”. With that, there was a crashing sound coming from the direction of the freezer section, where we discovered Walker scaling the freezer shelves as things flew off them to reach the desired box of popsicles.
Pulling the toddler out of the freezer, I decided it was best to just get out of there before anyone noticed the mess he’d made, so we headed to the check-out. A display of sunglasses kept Walker entertained for a few moments as he modeled some of them for me. It wasn’t long however, before I realized he’d moved on. I looked behind me only to watch him tumble down (gravity!) and in his attempt to play off his stumble, immediately sprawl out on the floor.
“I’m swimming” he cheerfully told me, as if swimming on the floor of the local grocery store was a common event. As I stood there laughing, the clerk behind the register looked down and in a slightly horrified voice informed me “That floor is gross”. “Yeah well, not my kid” I shrugged as I picked up my bag and called to Walker to get going.
Three is quite possibly my favorite age – three year olds live their imagination out loud, having not quite had the conventions of life fully impressed into them yet. They can be horribly stubborn at times – as much as I love three, as a parent, I found it the hardest age and freely admit, three was a factor in my girl being an only child. Epic meltdowns can occur just as quickly as they can climb into the freezer section when you’re not looking. But as a tourist, particularly of the fun aunt sort who throws caution to the wind and gives said three year old a blank check to buy whatever his little heart desires at the local market, spoiling him mercilessly, three is a wonderful place to visit, hands down my favorite age.