Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Vs Three

Everyone always warns you about the terrible twos, even before you become a parent. They say that it's so hard, how much your patience will be tested.

They must never have had a three year old. Oh. My. Goodness. So much harder. The talking back, the tantrums, the attitude...everything is magnified.

No one ever warns you about the treacherous threes.

By three, most kids can talk. Really well. And that means they can talk back.

And they're better at imitating everything...the good and the bad.

So to those who say the twos are the are soooo dead wrong. Maybe your two year olds were so challenging that once the insanity of the threes hit, you got post traumatic stress and blocked it all out?

Because threes are so much more challenging.

Granted, some kids are c-r-a-z-y at two. I can think of several who are/were at that age.

But for us? Twos were a breeze. Soooo incredibly easy.

At least in comparison. Of course we had our share of meltdowns and tantrums. But overall, the twos were a wonderful and joyful time.

But the threes...oh, the threes.

Our three year old no longer naps. She sometimes throws a huge fit over the most inconsequential things. Like wanting to climb into her car seat by herself, or wanting to look at a specific toy in the store. Or insisting that she doesn't want to wear the pants she previously said she wanted to wear - after she's already in them, of course. And she is very vocal about telling us what she's upset about. So over-dramatic.

And she talks back. When we're trying to discipline her. Of course, she gets time outs for inappropriate behavior. But my goodness, the fits she throws about going into time out. "No I don't want a time out!!!!" - repeatedly screamed at the top of her lungs.

Heh. Of course she doesn't want a time out. It wouldn't be much of a punishment if she wanted it!

She used to be sooo amazingly good about going to time out. She would even put herself in time out. Seriously, how awesome is that?

But now? I literally have to carry her, kicking and screaming, to her room and close the door and put up the baby gate.

She opens the door. And tries to climb over the gate. Or knocks it down. Mostly, she just stands at the gate, crying and screaming to get out.

Nope, not gonna happen. We don't let her out until she calms down and we can talk about it.

Seriously, there are days I want to pull all my hair out. Or spank my child; something I really don't feel comfortable with, mostly because I don't trust myself not to spank in anger. And if I were to spank, it would be in anger. So I set up a no spanking line for myself that I never want to cross.

My patience has been tested so much since she turned three - and it hasn't even been two weeks! Albeit, behaviorally speaking, the "threes" started a couple of months ago.

The last couple of days have been super challenging with tantrums. However, I'm sure we're partially to blame for that. We've gone somewhere for the last 5 consecutive days; and the last 3 have pushed back bedtime. As such, she's been overtired.

And she's slowly working on that very last molar. Yes, she still doesn't have all of her baby teeth. Just one left, and it's partially in now.

Naturally, the baby is working on tooth #4 at the same time. I swear they coordinate their teething schedules.

However, despite all those caveats, threes are still much more challenging.

I wonder how much gender plays a roll in it. My only extensive experiences with a two or three year old are with Emma. Most of the crazy two year olds I've known were boys. We've had virtually no destruction from her - at least nothing major. But girls tend to be more dramatic in general. It'll be interesting to see how my son is at two and three.

Of course, every child is a unique individual. Some kids are crazy at two...and some aren't. Do the crazy two year olds settle into easy three year olds? Or do they just get crazier? I don't know, but I think it really depends on the individual child.

That said, there are some definitely wonderful things about having a three year old:

1. No More Diapers. Hallelujah. Soooo wonderful. There is the occasional accident, but it's pretty rare. It's most likely to occur when she's busy playing with friends.

2. The creativity. Extensive pretend play, artwork, cute and entertaining. Emma is a very talented artist...for a three year old, anyway.

3. The knowledge and understanding. Wow, so amazing. To think about how much a child this age can's astounding. Numbers, letters, songs, memorization, remembering past events and being able to describe them in full detail...seriously awesome.

4. The application of knowledge. I love that she is more able to understand - and remember principles of - the gospel now. I love hearing her say, "Tinkbell needs to be more modest" or "they built a boat, just like Nephi. Nephi built a boat, and the Lamanites were naked." (The naked part was from John reading the war chapters aloud, where the Lamanites were naked except for a loin cloth.) It's truly amazing how much she picks up.

When she calms down after a time out, we talk about what happened and such. Then later, she tells us what happened, that she fussed, and why what she did wasn't ok. So I know she gets it. It's just that the consistency is lacking...but she's three.

Then again, I'm 29 and I'm not always consistent, either.

Speaking of, I'd better get to bed so I can be a good mommy tomorrow. A sleep deprived mommy is a grumpy mommy...which inevitably rubs off on any three year old.

Especially one as aware as mine.

So, goodnight all. Or rather, good morning.


  1. I agree. Two was easy, peasy. Three is a definitely more dramatic!!! lol. But you're right- there are tons of fun things about three too. Ahhh, parenthood. Makes me scared for teenage years!

  2. I tried to warn you. ;) I remember Pinkee having the same big shock with Bobbi, too. It seems like girls can be even worse because they're so petite and perfect for two and a half years and then all of the sudden -- BAM, three hits and what happened to sugar and spice and everything nice?

    Two and a half is when Richie hit "the threes" and he and I started having issues. We're still trying to recover. I was pregnant at the time and didn't handle the back-and-forth flipouts well. You know, the whole "I want Mommy to do it, no I want DADDY to do it, no I want this shirt, no I wanted THAT shirt!!!!" *insert full-on-flailing screaming tantrum here*

    I feel for you. *hugs*

  3. LOL. Both of my kids were fabulous 2YOs and horrible 3YOs ;) So far, 4 is really nice! And even 3 1/2 was pretty good. Hang in there!!!

  4. I'm sorry it's been so hard! I agree the threes were worse for us than the twos, though I had already talked to other people about it, and worked with all these age groups before I had kids, so I kinda knew...hang in there! There will always be challenges with every age, but I'm loving David being old enough to help me out with little things that make my life a lot easier. Anyway, good luck!