Being three is hard. There are hormones flying, growth spurts happening, attitudes mounting, the cusp of independence brewing, and a whole lot of sass. It’s hard not to lose my mind each day with my three-year-old. He is my third born and somehow the most challenging child I have had. In one breath, he is so loving, and the next? He is a snot. I won’t lie, I have apologized to him for threatening to pull the car over, leave him with a neighbor while the rest of us have fun, and oh so many other emotion-driven-horrible-parenting moments I am not proud of…
I decided to pay close attention to him yesterday. I really tried to envision what was going on within that little (Dear Lord- BEAUTIFUL) head of his. This is what I came up with. Don’t mind the unprofessional cell phone pictures. This is real life folks.
I’m so tired, but I need to pee. There’s no way I can walk to the bathroom alone. I need to scream as loud as I can to wake up Mommy so she runs in and carries me to the potty.
That worked. Now I don’t have to go back to my bed. Helllllllooooo big bed. I’ll make sure Dad knows I’m here. My feet can touch him at the same time I try to touch Mommy’s boobie. Oh, Mommy’s milk. I haven’t forgotten you.
I felt people get out of bed. I need to panic.
“Not that bowl – the GREEEN one – not that green, my favorite green.”
I know I can pour that by myself. I MUST pour it. I’ll just wait for Mommy to leave the room…. SPLASH.
“Oh shit.” Why doesn’t Mommy like when I say that? She says it all the time!
I’ll use all of these clean towels to wipe up the milk. Mommy will be proud of me!
“Mommy!! Come WIPE MY BUTT!” I think I’m done. I think I can wipe myself… oh man, there’s poop on the seat now. “MOMMY!”
I love being a big brother. He’s so cute. I’m going to teach him to climb the stairs.
I think I can reach the applesauce way up there.
Oh look, the kinetic sand Mommy hid. Where is Mommy? I’ll just hold this until I can ask her to play with it…
The kitchen is covered in sand, but he did try to layout a tablecloth first. I’m part proud, part pissed, and part ‘eh, it could be worse.’ It’s time to get dressed and finish morning chores (making beds, cleaning up dishes, putting away laundry, etc) Depending on the day, he may be helpful – or he may refuse to move from the third stair. Today though, he is helpful. He dresses himself in inside out pants and insists that it was purposeful and refuses to pull them right-side out after his second bowel movement of the morning. My word, this kid poops so much.
I’m really trying to learn my little love. He is so different than my oldest two. He is strong and fiercely independent. He doesn’t hear the word NO, but certainly uses it as his main weapon. He is not afraid to use force to take something and does not understand that saying sorry is not the same as meaning you are sorry. These are all new paths for me in motherhood. Navigating him takes patience, an open-mind, laughter, meditation, and a few ‘Mommy Time-Outs.’
Today is a special day, as we got to hear baby #5’s heartbeat for the first time! This means that my three-year-old will be stuck directly in the middle of all of his siblings. I want to really work on making him feel special instead of reacting to the negative behavior. I decided to give him an important job with the midwife. He was in charge of recording the heartbeat to be saved in his stuffed animal of choice for the new baby!
1:00pm He’s whining about needing to eat more. (We ate 22 minutes ago.) He’s whining about the weather. He’s whining that no one is nice to him, even though he just walked by and hit his older brother. The doorbell rings and the midwife comes in. My little love is beyond excited now – he has a job to do! We laugh and smile and work together, and my heart melts as he yells to his siblings, “Listen! This baby sounds like a choo choo train!”
He gave up napping a year ago. He still needs to nap, but that would prolong the whole bedtime thing, so I gave up on trying. The hours of 3-7pm are pretty much an uphill battle in quicksand. I feel like every 4 minutes he realizes that he’s been focused too long and needs to cause a ruckus before moving on to the next random thing.
By 5:30pm, this is what’s happening with him:
“I don’t like that dinner. I want a different dinner. I want a treat. I don’t like that.” If I throw myself to the floor and roll with fake tears, Mommy is bound to make me macaroni and cheese.
My toothpaste is so yummy. I love sucking it right out of the tube. Where’s my toothbrush? Oh, I remember! It’s in my bookshelf… or toy box… or the trash can. I’ll just use Mommy’s.
I’m so tired, but I love getting more time with Mommy, so crying is better than just snuggling. I’ll get more time before lights out!
There are sometimes bedtime tears, but always lots of books, back rubs, water sips, and snuggles. He looks at me most nights and says, “You my favorite.” And then I melt.
The moral of this story?
I have no freaking clue. To let you know that you are not the only one with an energy-sucking threenager at home? That sounds about right. I do know that somehow I have survived this stage twice before and will survive it twice more after this little love. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would be drinking a lot of wine.
Hang in there mamas. We are not alone. These precious little toddlers that we created will not defeat us. We can find the balance. And if we don’t, maybe they’ll be easier at age four.
Shit. Someone just hashtaged fournado… OMG it may get harder before it gets easier…