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!”
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.