Archive for the ‘toddlerhood’ Category

Threenagers- March 23, 2014

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Many weekends of the last several months we have attended third birthday parties. We help our daughter keep up with the active social life of her 3-year-old peers. At each of these parties, parents have similar conversations that usually include a phrase like, “I don’t know what is wrong with Junior, lately! He/she has been awful! I thought the ‘Terrible Two’s’ were over!”

Oh, they ARE over. In my experience, the tantrums of the Terrible Two’s have nothing on the meltdowns of “Threenagers.”

My mom has always said of my sister and me that ages 3 and 15 were the worst. I remember the hormonal ups and downs and adolescent insecurity that led to all the dumb shit I did as a 15-year-old, but age 3? Yikes. I have very little recollection.

To my mother’s delight, my daughter’s behavior has brought back memories of my reign as a threenaged tyrant. Here’s evidence of a few of Charlotte’s latest mood swings:


She said to me the other day, “You’re ruining my life!” I had a friend tell me her 3-year-old son recently shouted, “You don’t understand me!”

Threenagers. ::sigh::

Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a bad kid. Actually, she can be incredibly delightful. In fact, she only has two moods since she turned three, wonderful or awful. There is no in-between. When she is happy, she bubbles over with infectious, sweet energy. As a 3-year-old she is able to express her happiness and gratitude better than when she was younger. But, the flip side of that?! Well, see the above photos. She pushes her limits and tests her independence. Sometimes she just melts down and can’t get it together.

Hmm. I guess that’s not unlike when I went off with my friend and got my cartilage pierced at the mall without telling my mom. But, I was named to the National Honor Society the same year. There was no in-between wonderful and awful at age 15. My parents managed my teenage awful with “grounding” or some other suitable punishment. We’re handling our threenager with time-out or taking away toys. It works okay, but sometimes I think teenagers and threenagers need an ass-whooping.

Disclaimer: I don’t really spank my kid. Calm down, haters. 



Private Parts- January 5, 2014

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Our three-year-old has become interested in what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy. She asks, “Mama, what do girls have again?” She has obviously noticed her newborn brother’s different genitals during diaper changes. In her class at daycare they now have separate potties for Boys and Girls in the Threes class versus the tiny unisex toilets in the toddler rooms. This further emphasizes the differences. I was changing the baby’s diaper the other day and she said, “Mama! I see his peanuts!” We corrected her pronunciation of “penis” and stifled our giggles.

Okay. So we’ll have to be more diligent in our quest to make sure we use proper anatomical terms. One thing we have discussed is that private parts are private. We explained to our daughter that that others don’t touch your private parts. Only parents when they are helping you in the bath or the doctor. We have discussed with her that if anyone ever tries to touch her or keep secrets about that type of behavior, that she needs to tell us. I feel like she understands this and I’m glad. We want to make sure our child is not a victim of abuse.

I was unaware of how my parental diligence could hilariously backfire. Never underestimate a three-year-old. 

During a recent family road trip, we heard “I have to go potty!” from the back seat. We pulled off the interstate and I took her to the ladies room at a small town gas station. We took advantage of the larger handicapped stall. We were the only ones in the bathroom as she did her business. I didn’t think much of another woman coming in the bathroom and taking the stall next to us. I took my turn at the toilet.

She stood next to me restlessly, hanging on to the handicapped bar. With my pants down, hovering over the commode I heard my sweet child say loudly and firmly with conviction, “Mama! I will not touch your privates!”


::head smack::

I felt my face get really hot. I pictured this nameless woman behind the partition calling county services in this rural area to report a sexual deviant. I caught my breath and stuttered nervously, “Yes sweetie. That’s right. Private parts are private! Very good.” I then hurried her out of the stall and we washed our hands. I heard a flush. Oh God! I knew I’d have to look at this woman. I silently prayed she would see I was a nice mom with her private parts covered and not some pervert. I gave a polite, nervous smile. For some reason I felt like I needed to speak. I tend to talk too much in general, let alone when I’m nervous. I saw her college team on her sweatshirt and made some comment about their bowl game. Thankfully, this woman smiled at my daughter and didn’t seem phased by her bathroom proclamation.


Clingers- September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16th, 2013


Lately I’ve witnessed what I’ve dubbed “clingers,” particularly at Charlotte’s dance class. But, I’ve seen them other places too. Daycare, birthday parties and other get-togethers seem to reveal children who are clingers. You’ve seen them. They get all panicky and weepy when they have to leave their parents.

I think there are two types of clingers:

Level 1 Clingers: There are kids who HAVE to sit on their moms’ laps and warm up when the other children sit excitedly together in the circle or play at the party. These children are mostly ignored by the others. When asked by other adults if they would “like to come and play?!” or “join the group!” they bury their faces and their parents say stuff like, “He’s shy.” The party, class or event typically continues as planned and the child may or may not join in.

Level 2 Clingers: Oh goodness. A level 2. Take a breath. We’ve all seen them and feel terrible for their parents. One child was SCREAMING in dance class the other day. You would have thought the poor dance teacher had asked if she wanted to burn Elmo at the stake. She had really just asked if she wanted to sit in the circle. The child had a death grip on the woman.  I watched the bewildered mom try to catch her breath as she opened her arms and the child still clung on to her. This was snot streaming, choking type of crying. This little girl legitimately must have believed her mom had sold her into slavery. They would have been a tribe of little pigtailed slaves in pink tights. The crying stopped for a moment, and somehow the mom escaped. We heard her later on wailing again over the music and the assistant teacher eventually brought her in the waiting room to call her parents.

Non-clinger: I have a non-clinger. 9 times out of 10 she is happy to see her friends at daycare, psyched for the birthday party and ready to sit in the circle at dance class. There are the few days where she’s out of sorts when I drop her off. If she’s not feeling well or mad about the toy I made her leave in the car that day, she may be a little weepy, but it’s rare. ALL children have the occasional clingy days. We all know what that’s like as a parent and it sucks. No one wants to leave their child upset.

Most of the time  the challenge for me as the parent of a non-clinger is to help my child react to a clinger. When Charlotte is excited to see her friend who is a Level 1 Clinger, but she wants to share toys and play, it’s hard sometimes to explain the behavior. She often seems a little hurt that the child doesn’t want to play at that moment. That’s when I try to distract her or say something like, “She needs to sit her mommy right now. Why don’t we go get some juice.”

When it’s a Level 2 Clinger, distraction is not really an option. Come on. There’s no way to ignore the screams. My little non-clinger often looks at me panicked like, “Um, should I be worried too?” That’s when I’ve started saying “He is having a tough time right now, isn’t he? He’ll feel better soon. Let’s go talk to the teacher/another child etc.” Sometimes if the child is past the wailing and is just sniffling, I’ll say “Charlotte, why don’t you go give her a hug.”

I in no way want to talk bad about another child to my child. I think it’s crummy when parents do that. It’s hard. As an uber-extrovert, I do not appreciate, nor value “shy” behavior. I do not think it is okay for parents to label a child “shy” or use “shyness” as an excuse for anti-social behavior. A lot of times I really want to roll my eyes and tell the kid to suck it up. But, that would set a really poor example for my daughter. I also understand that it is very judgmental of me to feel this way. It is a fault I need to work on. Some kids have issues that I may not know about or understand. Sometimes kids, especially toddlers,  just have an off day.

So, that is how I’ve been dealing with clingers. Tell me what you do and how you deal with it. If you have a clinger, what do you want non-clinger parents to do?



The Golden Hours- August 18, 2013

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Today I committed a shameful parent faux-pas that could possibly get me banned from future toddler social gatherings. I didn’t show up for a birthday party I had RSVP’d “yes” for.

I know, I know. That is really lousy. But, I have an excuse. See, this was a first birthday party. The festivities for this sweet baby started at 2:00pm. When I got the invitation I cringed. Ooph! 2:00pm on a Sunday. There is only one thing my child is doing at that time. On the weekends 1:00pm-4:00pm are what I refer to as “the golden hours.” Two hours in that time frame is nap time. Period. Sacred and pure. That is the time our child must sleep to maintain child status and not transform into a monster. Nap time at school is from 12:30pm-2:30pm. On the weekends we are looser with that for activities, but I can assure you that between the hours of 1:00pm-3:00pm, she will likely not be awake for the majority of the time.

So, you may be thinking, “Why was the party at 2?” Well, think about it. The sleep schedule of a one-year-old infant and a 2 1/2 year old toddler are VERY different. Charlotte was still taking 2 naps a day at that point in her life. 1 or 2:00pm would have been the perfect time for a party and I’m quite certain that is when I scheduled her first birthday party. Also, it was Sunday and you can’t do a party on Sunday mornings because of church. This is the South, people. That time is reserved for Jesus, football preview shows or lying around the house like the lazy heathen that I am.  Another thing, this party was at an incredibly popular kid play spot in town. When it comes to reserving rooms you get what you get and you get it EARLY. That may have been the only time the parents could reserve the room.

So, then you may be asking, “Amy, why did you RSVP ‘yes’ if you knew this was during the golden hours?” ::sigh:: Because I’m impossibly optimistic and absolutely refuse to miss out on any fun, ever. I tried to get her to nap early. No luck. That child slept long and hard from 1:30pm-4:00pm. There was no waking her. If I had woken her up she would have been miserable and had no fun.

Lesson learned. Leave the golden hours sacred and sometimes just say you can’t make it, even if it means becoming a mommy faux-pas.

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Natural Phenomenon

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The two-year-old mind is a fascinating thing. Its reasoning and stream of conciousness is amazing.

Here in NC we’ve had more than our share of thunderstorms and rain this summer. The loud thunder and power outages have left our little one wide-eyed. Meanwhile, her summer flick has been Cars. You know, the well-marketed Disney movie with Owen Wilson and sadly, Larry The Cable Guy.

I can’t hate on that mediocre comedian since Charlotte has thickened up her budding southern accent to say “Shooot!” whenever “Mater” is on the screen. It’s pretty adorable.

The other day we were driving home and I saw a big streak of lightning shoot through the clouds.

Me: “Whoa! Charlotte, did you see the lightning in the sky?!”

Her: “Lightnin’ in da sky!?”

Me: “Yeah! Up in those clouds. We’re getting another storm.”

Her: “Lightnin in da sky? No! I can’t reach him in da sky!

We both paused for a moment to ponder what the other had just said.

Her: “Mama, cars are on da ground! Dey not in da sky!”

That was when I realized that to her, “lightning” was Disney and Pixar’s own Lightning McQueen, not the natural phenomenon for which he was named. When we got home and she saw her “Lightning” she showed me he was in fact, safely on the ground and not in the sky. Silly Mama!

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