When I was the proud owner of a two year-old, there was much talk about the dreaded “terrible twos”.
As a toddler, when Max acted up in public or in front of family, the excuse was often made, “oh, it’s just the terrible twos”, as if it were some sort of plague that effected all kids of that age, throughout the history of time. I never really considered it to be all that terrible though, to be honest. There were good days and there were bad, but the entire second year, couldn’t be written off as terrible.
When Max’s third birthday was upon us, I began to hear, much more often than I preferred, “if you thought two was bad, three is worse”. “Threenager” was term that was thrown around often, but since I really didn’t think that two was more than I could handle (for the most part), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect during the impending third year.
I’ve read countless Facebook posts written by friends, articles, and blog posts about the behavior of three year-olds, particularly this one, that I came across recently, which had me laughing out loud, and inspired me to reflect a bit on what this age has been like for us, now that I have a few months of experience parenting a three year-old under my belt.
Here’s a little list of what three is like in my opinion.
Three is a kid who prefers a diet made up wholly of fruit snacks, pirates booty, and waffles. A kid who refuses to sit down and eat a meal, no matter how much you beg and plead, and who feels as though he has rightfully earned a dessert after eating only a half a dinner roll with butter for dinner.
Three is a kid who tells you he doesn’t need to go potty, even after you ask him no less then 5 times before leaving the house, and then religiously needs to go as soon as you get to the end of your road.
Three is a kid who rips toys right out of his younger sister’s hands, and shows no shame as she cries hysterically and throws herself on the floor.
Three is a kid that makes a game out of getting dressed every. single. day. It doesn’t matter if you are getting ready to go somewhere fun, or somewhere he wants to go. Getting him dressed will no doubt turn into a WWE wrestling match.
Three is a kid, who “isn’t tired”, and who refuses a nap, only to fall asleep within 5 minutes of being left alone in his quiet room.
Three is a kid who throws a tantrum loud enough for everyone to hear, when you refuse to buy him a $30 Lego set at Target for no reason.
Three is a kid who tells you you’re “being rude”, or a “bad mommy or daddy”, when you don’t let him do whatever he wants.
But Three is also….
Three is a kid who announces loud enough for anyone within earshot in Target to hear, that you are “the best mommy in the whole wide world”
Three is a kid who gives his sister a hug every single morning when he wakes up and exclaims, “good morning Ella, I missed you”.
Three is a kid who tells you countless times a day that you are his best buddy.
Three is a kid that gives the greatest hugs and is the best snuggler around.
Three is a kid that tells you and your husband, countless times each night before bed, that he loves you “berry much”
Three is a kid who walks out of his preschool classroom at pick up time and gives his sister a huge hug, making all of the waiting parent’s hearts melt.
Three is a kid that replies “You’re berry, berry welcome mama” whenever you thank him for doing something”
Three is a kid who calls out to random strangers across a store, “Hiiii, how are you today?.
The bottom line…
Three is just one year, in a very short sequence of years. You only get to experience each year one time, and that’s it.
Sure three is tough, sure there are days that I want to rip my hair out, sure there are days where the term “threenager” couldn’t ring more true, but there are also good days, and even better moments.
When we’re having a tough day, I have to remind myself, that Max is only three. He’s little, and he’s only going to be for a short time. Someday I will miss this age (I’m sure particularly upon entering the teenage years), and I’ll probably look back and think that three really wasn’t all that bad. Just like two wasn’t.
So even if your three year-old is acting up, and making you crazy, try to remind yourself, as someone who’s been there always does, that the days are long, but the years are short. This too shall pass, so live in the present and savor the moment… even when it isn’t so easy to do so.
Just some sentimental thoughts… now I’m off to break up a full-out brawl over a Buzz Lightyear doll!