Forget ‘Terrible Twos.’ Three Is When the Real Terror Starts.
They know that we hate almost everything about what they are doing — and they're fine with it.
? Daycare is only one example. There is a rotating series of our asks — brushing teeth, getting clothes, getting dressed, going to the bathroom. And there are her questions — about breakfast, her destination, her siblings’ destinations, her hair, her shoes. And each and any of those, and oftentimes combinations, can fuel that day’s pitfall. She also likes to order off the menu a lot, so we get hand-crafted meltdowns that at least bring some unwanted spontaneity to the unwanted routine.
The 3-year-old revels in saying never and no, and you can see it. You can see it in the twinkle, or spark of hell, in those devilish eyes and dirty, round dimples. You can see it in those shrugs when you ask them how and why they could do such a thing when they know it’s wrong. You know what I’m talking about. When they clasp their hands together in their little laps, and writhe their bodies slightly while smiling to no one and look up at the ceiling saying, “I don’t know…,” with that little-kid drawl high-pitching out of their wickedly upturned lips, curling into an impish smirk.
Even the thought of the upcoming battle for this morning’s bout of inanity and stubbornness has got me worked up and breaking into cold sweats. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising, although without the warmth and promise that a new day can still bring to the uninitiated.
ADVERTISEMENTI’m sure specific examples are not necessary since anyone with children has gone through this terrible and evil phase. Everyone knows, to varying extents, the frustrations I’ve described. My only hope for you is that those days are over, revisited in old photos and distant memories, and that the head-shaking you do is brought about by reminiscing and not your everyday reality.
So, let’s shed light on this hidden truth for future parents. Let us not let them look forward to a nonexistent future of hope and brighter tomorrows. Let’s prepare them for what will come as naturally as the tears and yells that form this awful phase. Because I am mindful of precedent and respect those whose struggle has paved the way for my own, I am willing to accept the notion of the “terrible twos.” But I must insist that we add three into the mix. The “terrible tees,” perhaps, to encompass both two and three?
I will work on this new catchphrase, which must be recognized to validate our plight. Then everyone will understand our scowls, our dishevelment, our frazzled looks and demeanors. We must tell the world that awful behavior is not just limited to that one age. Right now I’m leaning toward being “in Living Threll,” a nice mash-up of three and hell (just in case that was too arcane for anyone, probably someone who doesn’t have a 3-year-old. I like it, but catchphrases can take a while to become part of our vocabulary. Since I have an 18-month-old rapidly approaching the danger zone, I will have ample time to work on it.
Garth Johnson is a dad and a carpenter in Fairbanks, Alaska. When not bribing his four kids, all under 9 years old, he loves to tickle, play, and wrestle with them.ADVERTISEMENTParenting during a pandemic is hard.Sign up for our daily newsletter full of tricks, tips, and relevant medical information.
Yes!!! 🙌🏼👏🏼🙌🏼👏🏼 I found 2.5-3.5 very challenging... 😬 my oldest is 4 now and he’s delightful (most of the time) but I hear it all gets a bit rocky again at 5 🤦🏼♀️ I loved age 3! Age 4&5 have been soooooo infuriating. I’ve worked with children for over 30 years...it’s actually the terrible 2 1/2s, threenager 3s, emotional 4s...
I used to tell my daughter it wasn't too late to put her up for adoption during the terrible 3s. Definitely preferred her actual teen years. Yeah, got that. But more importantly, WHEN DOES IT END? Yep. Three year olds are the worst! Until they got Junior High and you get all that nonsense again. But for several consecutive years. 🤯
I took my oldest to the doctor after he turned three to see what was wrong!!!! And experience my friends trumps everything IMO. I had kid 2 8 years later and definitely learned from raising kid 1 and applied my experience And you know who probably wrote those books I spent day in and day out reading...people with no kids aka ZERO experience 😂
So true! I remember thinking where is so called terrible 2 going to happen because of course I read every parenting book on the market 😂 and nothing then 3 hit and I’m WTF who wrote these books Struggling with age 5 currently 🤯 Try 13. It’s a blast. Y’all get back to me when they are 16.😱 Threenagers Ha. Wait til you get to the f^%+ing 4s. 🤪🤪🤪😍😍😍😍
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