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Sunday, July 12, 2009

3 Is The New 2

Whoever it was that coined the phrase "terrible twos" committed a huge injustice to parents, in my opinion. You brace yourself starting with the "I can move independently and thus get into trouble" stage knowing that the naughtiness and whining and exercises of free-will will continue but hopefully peak through that second birthday. Once you can see that third birthday on the horizon, relief from the tantrums and stubbornness is in sight. Right? Not in my house.
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What is the phrase for three? Is there one? Can I suggest "Talk-back Threes" or maybe "Throwdown Threes?" After only three months experience with age three, I would gladly go back to two. My 3 yr.old son is stubborn, constantly testing the limits, playing Hubby and I against each other. He is smart enough to know my emotional buttons and is not afraid to push them. He has the vocabulary of a middle-schooler and never stops talking. He has very well defined ideas of how he thinks the day should go and what everyone around him should be doing and God-forbid if we should stray. The whining, the "No, I will NOT do that!", the shaking his finger at me as if I was in need of a lesson or two. I didn't have to deal with any of this at two. He has always been a smart kid and fairly whiny at times. But age three has taken the defiant whining to a whole new level.

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The other morning, he went into full meltdown mode at 7am because I would not let him watch Cars (a very typical 3yr. old boy obsession from what I can gather). I told him he could watch it when I was putting his brother down for his morning nap which was a mere hour away. Not good enough. He started crying and stomping and muttering things like "I am just going to run away from you! Then how would you feel?" When I didn't respond, he said "Can anyone hear me? I said I was going to run away! Doesn't that bother you?"

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Now, so as not to paint my little guy as a holy terror, he is a very sweet boy who loves his mama very much. He is tender and loving and comes up with the most adorable and creative things. I adore him. Truly adore him. We are deeply attached and connected and both prefer to be with each other than with anyone else. But, lately if things are not how he wants them, he scrunches up his cute little face and squints his eyes and tells me what he wants. Or he ignores what we say and continues doing whatever he feels like doing.

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How did my 2yr. old baby who was simply learning to exert his independence and test the boundaries become this 3yr. old little man who can't be bothered with obedience? How can he go from the most loving child one minute to this whiny mess simply because I won't let him eat peanut butter out of the jar with his fingers while watching a movie on the couch?

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It is a constant battle to ride the line. You know, that line between giving into his toddler-tantrums and trying to help him learn better ways to express himself. I don't want to crush his sweet spirit, just reign it in a bit. I certainly don't want to miss the joys of this age by focusing so much on the challenges. Even though the whining drives me to the point of insanity, this age is like the culmination of his "baby-ness" and the beginning of being truly a "little boy." Kinda bittersweet. I want him to grow into a functional, wonderful, healthy little boy who has a strong self-esteem and an even stronger sense of the love of his family. But I also don't want to loose my mind in this stage of dealing with his seemingly constant opposition.

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9 more months to go.... 4 will be better, right?

This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post.

3 comments:

Just Me July 13, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

Oh my. There are so many times I find myself wishing I could tell the kids (a five year old in particular to 'shut up')

today they seem to be in a contest to see who can push buttons the fastest.

Atwood-Family of 4 July 13, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

I completely agree F-2 was a piece of cake. That has been the best year so far (0, 1 or 2). 3 is the worst so far. It should absolutely hands down be called "terrible 3s" and wonderful 2s.

TwoSquareMeals July 13, 2009 at 8:37 PM  

Welcome to the club, my friend. I'm not sure if it's true for everyone, but four was not much better around here. Four was like having a teenager, "I hate you's" and door slamming included. The only difference was that neither of us could leave the other and drive off somewhere. Fun. But five is here and it is looking good. Really. He is finally growing up into those emotions. Three and four were just a roller coaster. Make sure you get a break every once in a while. It makes all the difference.

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