If you just cringed at reading the title I can almost guarantee that you have now or have had a 3-year-old.

My daughter will hit this marvelous age in about a week and a half, and I am already starting to see snippets of why I wanted to gouge my eyeballs out when my son was this age.

Three-year-olds can be some of the cutest beings on the earth.  They are less needy than newborns, can feed themselves for the most part, are usually on their way (if not already there) to not needing diapers, and say some of the darndest things.

 They can also become the spawn of the devil at the drop of the hat.

We have had a 3-year-old before. We should have known what to expect, what to do in certain situations.  Somehow, our brains suppressed the trauma, as if we were PTSD patients, and though I vaguely remember it not being my favorite age, I couldn’t quite remember why.

Oh… I remember now.

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– That 2-year-old who slept through the night like a champ now makes their way to your bed every night.  They do it stealthily, just staring at you until you startle awake and nearly piss your pants at the miniature invader in the room.  While you are trying to get your heart rate down, they are asking for back scratching/water/lollipops/Diego/etc. or just start plopping an entire bed full of stuffed animals into your bed and staking claim in between you and your spouse (sideways, might I add).

–  You Google toddler personality disorders.

– You must be a mind reader to have a 3 year old.  You must telepathically determine that they want milk in a cup and NOT on the Cheerios.  When they said they didn’t want the breakfast bar you offered, you should have known that meant they didn’t want it right now… they wanted it when you arrived at day care.  By the way, even though they clearly said, in their now coherent speech, that they wanted the pink shirt, you should have known that they really meant the purple one.

– Don’t look them directly in the eye.  You never really know what might happen.

– Also, DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE OF HER!  Clearly she is experimenting with being Amish.

– That ever growing vocabulary and those language skills they are developing?  One of two things will happen; they will revert back to grunts, moans, whines, and head pointing to let you know what they want, or they will take a liking to the f-word you let slip and use it freely in the presence of strangers, day care providers, and grandparents.

– Your 3-year-old is completely potty trained- GO YOU!  However now they wield this new-found power of control like a weapon of mass destruction.  It becomes a bedtime stall tactic wherein the mere mention of bedtime triggers the need to poop.  It can also be used to show you who is really boss when they decide to pop a squat in the middle of the floor- just because.

– You begin to wonder who will win, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

–  Future Oscar contenders, take note from a 3-year-old- they have the water works DOWN!  My daughter can turn them on and off faster than you can say multiple personality disorder.  And it is not just whimpering crying.  It is full-out-the-world-is-ending-my-heart-is-exploding crying.  Usually when we are in Target.

– Don’t even think of suggesting that maybe it it is not appropriate to wear the Dora Backpack, and ONLY the Dora Backpack to bed.

– Eggshells…you are walking on eggshells.  You never know what will set off any of the above.  You get ready for the meltdown when you say it is time to turn off the TV, but it never comes.  But, “take off your coat” makes the scene from the Exorcist look like a G rated Disney movie.  Everyone just duck and take cover!

 So, the memories are coming back, and I am trying to prepare (the wine rack needs replenishing).  It’s not all bad though.  There are the full-on bear hugs, the unsolicited “I love you’s,” and the genuine comedy that only a 3-year-old can bring.  After and epic meltdown, my daughter will recover, pick up her purse, and when asked where she is off to replies:

“I’m going to the city, for sushi and dancing.”

Cool… Can I come?

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