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Life with a “Threenager”

I read an article the other day called “10 Signs You are Living with a Threenager.” If you aren’t familiar with the term “threenager,” just picture an irrational, raging, unreasonable, infuriating teenager inside of a tiny three year old body. Yup. Writer Kristen Hewitt hit the nail right on the head with this one. And after reading her article, I am most definite that we are embarking on the threenage years. God help me.

When my son was about 18 months old, I feared the approaching, so-called terrible twos. He was always such a sweet baby, but he was showing signs of stubbornness and persistence even then. I thought for sure we were totally screwed. But to my surprise, my sweet baby turned two last February and became this awesome, hilarious toddler that had so many funny things to say, and for the most part, was pretty easy to handle. He was still young enough in which he loved me more than life itself but old enough for me to be able to take him to do some really cool stuff – we spent our summer together playing outside, swimming, riding bikes; we even took him to play mini golf for the first time. It was a pretty awesome time. And it was somewhere during these enjoyable months that I became bat shit crazy and had the bright idea that because my son was so cool, we should definitely have another child. (Slow head shake).

Fast forward several months later. Mommy is currently six months pregnant and Grey is about three weeks shy of three years old. And it’s happening. My lovable, happy-go-lucky boy has slowly turned into an independent, bossy, know-it-all, relentless threeanger.

Here’s the moment I realized that age three was most definitely going to be more challenging than age two. He woke up from his nap, like any other day, asking for juice. Fine. Totally normal, besides his slightly demanding tone. I poured the kid a cup of OJ and handed it to him, which was followed by full on, toddler-crazed tantruming, ear-splitting screaming, and some pretty impressive flailing around. I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor as I watched what was happening before my eyes. After several minutes of deciphering the high-pitched shrieks, I realized that apparently, I had chosen the wrong cup. That’s right – all this insanity over the wrong fucking cup. Let the games begin.

What’s amazing is that these episodes are often mere minutes of possessed preschooler behavior before he quickly returns to his typical, easy going self – which is sometimes even more terrifying than the actual tantrums.

And tonight was no exception. My happily playing three year old turned into a total banshee at the mere mention of bath time. I’m so mind blown by the castastrophe that occurred that I won’t even go into the details, but picture my three year old attempting to trash the shit out of my bathroom while I stripped him and quickly tossed him into the shower just long enough to soap him up and drag him out. The neighbors probably thought I was attempting to torture someone in my tiny bathroom. Seriously, I was just trying to wash the Play Doh out of his hair, god forbid. Somewhere during this outrageous episode, I told him he wasn’t allowed to watch a TV show before bedtime due to his insane behavior, which just further infuriated his tiny threenage soul. After saying that, I had to chuckle to myself. I had just grounded my kid for the first time and he’s literally three years old. I’m so screwed.

After several similar incidents over the past few weeks, I came across Kristen’s article and it hit me. This is it. Buckle up everyone. Not only are we entering the threeange years, but in just four short months, there will be a newborn in this house as well. Say a prayer for me.

5 Adjectives to Describe Toddler Behavior

At almost 21 months old, I think it’s safe to say that my son has officially crossed over into toddler territory. (Lucky me). During the past few weeks, I’ve done some very informal, unscientific observations of my child. I’ve determined that there are five adjectives that can pretty much sum up my toddler’s crazy behavior.

toddlerecard

 1.)    Impulsive – “Ready, set, go!”

Yeah… My kid’s idea of a good time is climbing three stairs and then attempting to jump off. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out. Unfortunately, my toddler lacks the “think before you act” part of the brain. His thought processes go something like this: “run, jump, throw, scream, hit, repeat.” It amazes me that not only does he know he’s not allowed on the stairs, he has been injured on them before. After a child does something that causes them injuries, I’ve heard parents say things like, “Well, you won’t do that again, will you?” But, you know what? They will do it again. And again. And again. And again.  Because they are toddlers and they are impulsive and they don’t give a shit that they got hurt the last time they tried it.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Jumped off the stairs, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Yup. Insanity.

 2.)    Irrational – “Cookies?????”

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of making multiple meals that don’t get eaten, followed by giving in and letting the kid eat toast for dinner because I’m too tired to give a shit at 5:30pm after a long day. So, my genius idea was to let the toddler choose his dinner. I mean, I get it. He’s a human and has little preferences. If I let him pick, maybe he’d actually eat it.

And do you know what he asked for?? Cookies, obviously. This was followed by a fifteen minute knock down drag out about not getting cookies for dinner. The tantrum, the tears, the whole nine yards. Totally irrational behavior over the simple fact that I denied his cookies-for-dinner request. Maybe I was the irrational one for thinking this kid was actually going to ask for something legit, like pasta and broccoli. Silly me.

3.)    Emotional – “Mommy, makeup for me?”

My son loves my makeup. At this age, he wants to do whatever I’m doing. So, naturally after watching me apply my makeup every single morning, he wanted to give it a try. After saying no a million times, I finally gave in one morning when my husband was traveling and I was late for work. I didn’t think he could open the compact (but then again, I always underestimate this kid). I let him hold my bronzer and a makeup brush so that I could at least throw some cover up on my massive, dark circles and some eye shadow on my overtired lids. After ten minutes, he looked up at me and I knew the sunkissed glow on his face was definitely not natural. And that was the end of allowing him to hold my makeup.

The following morning, when he asked for the bronzer, I had to say no. Not only is it totally ridiculous for a 21 month old boy to be covered in makeup, but that shit is expensive. The look on his face was incredible. You would have thought I told the kid that I threw out every toy he owned. He was legitimately hurt and sad that I wasn’t going to let him use my makeup. It was the saddest cry I’ve ever heard. The only thing worse than an overly sensitive emotional toddler is a PMSing teenage girl who just got dumped by her douche bag high school boyfriend. Just another reason why I am not having girls, FYI.

 4.)    Possessive – “MINE!”

The toddler started daycare a few months back and learned the importance of being able to scream, “MINE!” I can’t blame him. You’ve got to hold your own when it comes to fighting for the good toys. It’s like the toddler toy version of survival of the fittest.

In order to deal with him screaming “MINE!” all the time, I attempted to teach him to say, “My turn, please.” His language is limited at 21 months old, mind you. At a play date yesterday, I saw him snatch a toy from his friend and scream, “MY TURN PLEASE!” in a raging, near tears, I’m-not-sharing-my-shit kind of voice. He looked at me, pleased with himself, like he was proud that he used the words that I taught him (albeit he screamed them while snatching the toy). Not exactly what I was going for… Looks like we need a little more work in the possessive department.

 5.)    Aggressive – “Hit!”

As an early childhood educator, the more politically correct side of me would not call a child aggressive. Just more…. “hands on.” But let’s be real. Toddlers are sometimes aggressive. Not in a vicious way, but when you only have about 30 words to choose from, sometimes hitting is a much faster, more effective way to make a point.

The thing with the hitting is this – I can’t help but find it hilarious that this tiny toddler thinks hitting a 100lb dog is going to sufficiently prevent the dog from stealing the fruit from his snack plate. I’m pretty sure my constant giggling at his attempt at aggressiveness is probably only encouraging more hitting….

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As an early childhood teacher, I am totally aware that all of these crazy behaviors are completely normal and age appropriate. That doesn’t make it any more hilarious and challenging to handle, though. I’m already looking forward to Greyson turning three years old. But in the mean time, if you have a toddler that’s just as “normal” as mine, my advice is this: stock up on the wine, mamas. They don’t call it the “terrible two’s” for nothing.