I remember when my eldest daughter turned three, I was so happy and relieved – “Wow, the terrible twos are over and they weren’t even awful. Things will be so easy from now on!” I thought smugly as she blew out her candles. The twos were actually a very sweet, snuggly time. There were some tantrums but nothing I, Super Mama, couldn’t handle. Then the reality of three started settling in. And the universe laughed at me and my smug birthday smile.
I didn’t know this at the time, but apparently when a child turns three their brain connections go hay wire. They turn into insane dictators that expect you to telepathically understand their crazy world views (which change by the minute) and then anticipate their unspoken and unexplainable needs, desires, and judgments and act accordingly. Woe betides the parent unable to do this, or who dares, DARES, to set boundaries, rules, or go against the wishes of the tiny dictators. Hell hath no fury like a three year old scorned.
After living through this once, you would think I would be well prepared for my youngest’s recent transition from two to three. However, much like childbirth, my brain expunged most of this traumatic time period. It’s all coming back to me now, the crazy demands, the hysteria, the epic tantrums, the rush of adrenaline I experience when her crazy kicks in and so does my fight or flight defense. Seriously, sometimes I think, maybe I should just go along with her crazy idea just so I don’t have to deal with the inevitable freak out. But really, there’s no avoiding it, the freak out is coming. So now, I’m just trying to ride the crazy wave, like the surfers at Coast Guard Beach, and hope eventually we’ll land in calm waters again.
Here is a short list of tonight’s freak outs, occurring in the small time period between dinner and bedtime:
1) She wasn’t able to slurp her spaghetti in exactly the same way as her sister.
2) She didn’t look beautiful in her pajamas.
3) I wiped her after she went potty.
What in the hell is a mama to do? We are living in crazy town and I know we’ll be here for at least a year. However, there are moments that make our residence there worthwhile. When she asked her daddy upon his return home this evening “How was your day Daddy?” and really wanted to know. When she asked me today to buy red tights to wear with my red dress, just like she does, so we can match and be the “red girls.” The sweetness can make my heart ache and burst, especially when it’s in stark relief to the terror the rest of the day. It makes me see where we’re headed and it looks like a nice place. Now, we just need to get through the reign of the tiny insane empress!
Tell me your strategies to get through the Terrorizing Threes? What craziness has your three year old brought forth recently? Tell me your stories so I know I’m not alone!
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