The Cam and I have been butting heads a lot lately. Over every little thing. Five or six thousand times a day. Head butt after head butt after head butt. Tantrum, after tantrum, after tantrum.
Do you have a three year old?
If you do, then you probably understand exactly what I'm going through with mine. If you've had a three year old before and you're past this lovely stage, you might be trying to remember just how you got through it. And if you don't have a three year old yet, but will soon. . . well then this is the post for you.
Because I went on a mission yesterday to figure out just what makes living with my three year old so rough. I've narrowed it down to 4 basic principles that I think can be applied to most three year olds.
1. Three year olds tend to do the opposite of everything you tell them. Except when you're trying to be clever and use reverse psychology. Then they will do exactly what you tell them to do, and make you look like an idiot. Every. Time. My three year old is no exception. For example, yesterday
I told him to stop hitting his sister with his blanket. He did it "just two more times, mom."
I told him not to step in the mud. He jumped in the mud. Then I told him to take his shoes off in the house. He didn't.
I told him to leave the folded clothes in the basket. He dumped the basket out.
I told him to sit in timeout. He stood in timeout.
I told him to open his mouth so I could brush his teeth. He clenched his teeth shut.
I told him to go to the bathroom. He said he did. But he didn't. Then he announced he had to go to the bathroom as soon as we left the house.
I told him to bring me the remote. He threw it under the couch.
I told him that I guess now we couldn't watch a show. He said he didn't care (see, I was trying to make him feel bad for throwing the remote. Backfire. Me looking like an idiot.)
I told him it was time for a nap. He said fine. (He's sticking it to me now)
I told him to stay in his bed. He got up.
I told him to get back in his bed. He had to go poop.
I told him to get a drink of water. He wasn't thirsty.
I told him he could play video games! He didn't want to.
And of course I don't always let the three year old rule the roost. But you have to learn to pick your battles. Because
2. Three year olds are volatile creatures. They have the emotions of a pregnant lady and a prom queen all squished inside a little three year old body. You should be prepared for them to erupt at multiple times throughout the day. Here are some things that set off my three year old yesterday:
I told him it wasn't time to eat breakfast because it was three in the morning.
I told him it was time to eat breakfast when he was watching a show.
I told him he couldn't wear the same shirt for the third day in a row.
I told him that the triangle button on the car dashboard was a not a super fast rocket button.
I told him that I couldn't rewind the song on the radio.
I told him that I couldn't make the scratch on his nose "get off right now."
I told him that he couldn't look at the poop in his sister's diaper.
I told him to stop hitting his sister with his blanket.
I told him not to put his finger in the pencil sharpener.
I told him he could only have one band-aid after he put his finger in the pencil sharpener anyway.
When I got out of the shower, I caught him stuffing his face full of Easter candy, and took the candy away.
I know. How dare I? And then after I took the candy away I got a mouthful of verbal abuse from my little guy. Which leads me to
3. Three year olds have a rapidly expanding vocabulary. Sometimes it's cute. . .and then sometimes not so much. Here are some gems that I heard from my three year old yesterday.
"You're so beautiful, Mom." (my precious angel)
"I love you as much as the moon." (be still my heart)
"When I grow up, I want to be a vegetation." (awww cute)
"Your mouth smells horrible." (well.)
"I'm the smartest one, Mom. Not you." (okay that's not very nice)
"I don't NEED you." (ouch)
"You are the meanest lady I ever met." (and that's just plain mean)
"Knock Knock?" "Who's there?" "Poop." (and now we're on poop)
"Look at that big ole butt." (ummmmmm)
"Why can't we say big butt?" (ahem)
"But that is a big butt." (enough)
"But why is that not nice?" (whose kid is this?)
"Why is it so big?"
Whyyyyyyyyyy is a word that you should get very prepared to hear if you're going to be living with a three year old. Because
4. Three year olds ask questions. Lots of questions. Hundreds of thousands of questions. I think that an effective tactic for interrogation would be to set a group of three year olds loose on anyone refusing to talk. Minds would be turned to mush trying to answer all those questions. And you can't ignore the questions. Because they will never stop coming. Here are some brain busters from the Cam during lunch yesterday. (And also my not so brain buster-y answers.)
"Why do I have to wear underwear?" Because it covers your privates.
"Why do I need to cover my privates?" Because that's what people do.
"Why do people do that?" Because that's polite.
"Why is that polite?" Because it just is.
"Why can I not go to school?" Because you're not five.
"Why am I not five?" Because you're three.
"Why am I three?" Because that's how many years you've been alive.
"Why have I been alive just three?" I don't know.
"Why can we not buy a new video game?" Because it costs money.
"Why does it cost money?" Because people need to make money to buy food.
"Why do people need to buy food?" Because they're hungry.
"Why are they hungry?" Because everyone needs to eat.
"Why do I need to eat?" Because I just gave you food. Now EAT.
"Why can Livvy not have my apple?" Because she can't chew it good.
"Why can't she chew it good?" Because she hasn't had enough practice.
"Why does she need practice?" Because she's not as big as you.
"Why is she not as big as me?" Because she's one, and you're three.
"Why am I three?" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
This is the point during the day that I gave up. I sent Cam to the living room to finish eating lunch in front of the TV. After
I crawled under the couch to get the remote, of course. Because he had beaten me. But hey, I did last until noon.
Okay, so there it is. My 4 things that you definitely need to be aware of before you find yourself living with a three year old.
And if you don't have a three year old, but will soon, I suggest you hold on to your sweet little not-three-year-old with all the strength you have. Take his little face in your hands and remember that you LOVE
him, that he is PRECIOUS
, and that at one time in his life, he WASN'T
three years old. And that at a future time, he WON'T
be three anymore.
But don't be too discouraged when your child reaches the age of monsterhood.
Because there is also something else you need to know about three year olds.
They are charming. They are adorable. Their chubby little faces are still squishy enough to look like babies and they still have the innocence of toddlerhood.
And sometimes they are the sweet, kind, loving, precious angels that they appear to be.
So I guess it's worth it to keep them around through the rough years. I'll be keeping mine for the long haul.
So what about you? Do you have a three year old? Are you winning the battle or losing it like me?
And if you know someone who might enjoy this, share it with them!
It's your turn to talk. I need to go see why my three year old is being so quiet. . .that's usually never a good sign. Wish me luck.