Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Terrible Threes



The terrible twos are indeed, fairly terrible. 



There's the constant screaming of, "NO!", the occasional hitting and/or kicking, and, of course, the always beloved tantrum-throwing. But one thing you can say for the twos is that at least they have the decency to give you some warning. 

The horribleness of this age range is consistently conveyed by parenting tomes and fellow Moms alike. Such universal acknowledgement of all the ills the twos contain is comforting, and it helps one get ready. I mean, by the time you have a two-year-old, if you're not prepared to devote a full year of your existence to battles with your offspring over an unending range of senseless minutiae, you've really got no one to blame but yourself.


Then finally your child turns three, and you justifiably believe that your time of turmoil has come to an end. Patiently, you wait for the long-promised door to good behavior to open. Having survived 365 days of "the twos" you are poised to welcome the freedom from strife you have been told is at last, your due.

Until that day when you find yourself asking your three-year-old to put on his shoes...


...and rather than complying with this seemingly innocuous request, your child instead chooses to throw both said shoes directly towards your skull while screaming at the top of his lungs, 

"I DON'T LIKE IT THOSE SHOES!!!!!!!"


You are confused.

What's going on here? By any calendric standards the terrible twos are, in fact, behind you. And yet, where is the calm and delightful three-year-old you've been promised?

You tell yourself that perhaps this incident was some sort of anomaly. Maybe your kiddo had a bad night's sleep. Or perhaps he ingested a bum chicken nugget and it is affecting his judgment. 

You attempt to remain calm.


Several days later, you invite your darling three-year-old into a nice warm bath before bed, as you have done every single night of his life since birth. But instead of thanking you at some length for your thoughtfulness, your child chooses to take several nude laps around the house while shrieking at ear-piercing volume,


"I WON'T GO TO THE BATHTUB!!!!!! I WON'T!" 




Something is definitely amiss here.


And so you seek out fellow mothers to demand some answers. What is going on? The terrible twos are supposed to be over! These are supposed to be the halcyon days of the terrific threes, are they not? 


This is when your friends and peers finally tell you the truth - that three is NOT the end of the terrible twos, as you had been led to believe. Instead 'the terrible threes' are the unannounced rageful sequel to 'the terrible twos'. And they are so terrible that they often make the twos look like nothing more than a mild warm-up act.




You attempt to process this information. Unfortunately, you cannot, as you are far too busy fending off nuclear-level meltdowns from your toddler on subjects including but not limited to:
  • I WANT TO SLEEP WITH THE POTTY IN THE BED!
  • I DON'T WANT THE CAR TO BE RED ANYMORE! I WANT IT TO BE GREEN!
  • I'M SCARED OF THE COUCH!

In your confusion you make the classic mistake of attempting to reason with your three-year-old. You lovingly discuss precisely why the couch is not scary. You carefully detail the downsides of having one's poop receptacle in the sleeping area. You calmly explain that one cannot change a vehicle's color using only one's mind. 

In response your child strikes you about the face and neck before diving to the floor, kicking wildly, and smashing his fists upon the ground. And you come to accept that the twos were just the beginning. But now, the threes have arrived.

Which is terrible, terrible news.




But fear not! From what I hear - the fours are a total breeze.

9 comments:

  1. Preach it! On this beautiful Thanksgiving day, my 3yr old threw an explosive fit because I could not, in fact, reach up into the sky to pull the sun down so he could play with it. Uh-huh.

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  2. Love it. My nephew just cried for a half an hour that he wasn't allowed to ride a ten-speed bicycle because he is not yet three feet tall.

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  3. My child has been having tantrums since he was four. months. old. I thought it was impossible and kept bringing him in to the ped. to get checked out for an ear infection or something. Finally one of the doctors in the practice confirmed my fears that he felt fine but was just VERY FURIOUS. She said she would not have believed it till she had a child that did it too. He is 20 months old now, and I love him but our daily Epic Battles are exhausting. I am hoping that he will get it out of his system since he is NOT EVEN GODDAMN TWO YET and if three is worse I will probably end up in a rubber room.

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  4. MAKE THE SUN STOP BEING IN MY EYES!!!
    Yep, we did not enjoy the early threes. But at 3.5, the kid is awesome.

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  5. Age 4 is perfect, I promise. There is a LOT of talking, but it is perfect.

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  6. Celia - my first was like that. You have a ways to go but it does get better! By 7 yrs she was doing awesome. ;)

    Anonymous - um, ok. Is s/he 4.5 yet? Hold your horses and gird your loins. That ones comes out of the otherwise relative calm of 4 and throat-punches unsuspecting parents.

    My youngest is 3.5 and I punched the cabinet this evening so hard I thought I had broken my hand. Eh, better the cabinet (and my hand) than my daughter, right?

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  7. Michele's right. I read anonymous and wondered if they could come have a chat with my 4 year old. He has all the pretentious know it all of a teenager. He even goes so far as to ask ME what something is, tell me HE doesn't know what it is, and when I answer him, tell me I'M wrong. If the teenage years are worse than this bossy little demon spawn, I see a murder suicide coming along. Lol

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  8. hee hee I can totally relate to this :) We used to lovingly refer to the tantrum-move our three boys ALL somehow developed as "the limp fish." When they miraculously disolved all their bones at once in order to slip out of any parental hold we may have been trying to establish!

    Luckily, those days are behind us now...but I have to say - FOUR AND A HALF......*shudder*

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  9. I LOVE this. I know this is an old post, but I just came across it while trying to look up information on the terrible threes! This was so dead on I had tears coming out of laughter. Thank-You for posting this. It is nice to know that I am not alone and that this is all very normal, no matter how fustraiting it may be!

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