We've all heard of the terrible twos and all the drama of the new-found independence of toddlers. But for some families the three's can be even more challenging than the previous year. With our first daughter the age of three was a dream, but with our second we've discovered a new phase we're not too pleased about, the threenager.
The threenager is that age when your 3-year-old continually acts like they are going on 13. They have an attitude for miles, a stubborn streak, and want what they want... when they want. Hell hath no fury like a threenager who refuses to nap.
Are you living with a threenager? Here are some tell-tale signs.
Top 10 Signs You Are Living with a Threenager
1. You live in constant fear of how to cut the shape of their sandwich or toast. Do they want triangles today, rectangles, squares? And when they do tell you, they change their mind right after you cut it.
2. They say things like (with hands firmly placed on hips), "I don't want to clean up, I want to do what I want to do!"
3. You go through three or more wardrobe changes a day. Please just pick a princess already!
4. Your child goes boneless the second you remind them that a transition is coming, especially when they are asked to stop playing. By the way, when was this ability given to children? You know, lay limp and double your body weight so mom can't move you. It's a talent reminiscent of a possum playing dead...
5. They run away from you when it's time to get dressed, or leave a play place, or do anything they deem unnecessary. In fact running away from you is their favorite activity. (Cardio workout?)
6. To nap or not to nap, that is the question. A threenager's answer will always be emphatically "NO!" Unless of course it's time for school, and they crawl into bed because they're "tired."
7. They want three of everything because they are three.
8. At red lights they yell, "Go... GOOO!" Threenagers do not possess patience.
9. Speaking of the car, you have to leave 10 minutes earlier so they can buckle their own car seat by their "OWN SELF!"
10. You realize they'll be a great trial lawyer one day when they've just negotiated their way out of a time-out.
Threenagers can be tough to parent, make you weary, and zap you of all of your patience and energy. But on the flip side, this time can be so completely rewarding. As a threenager's independence blooms so does their vocabulary, and you sometimes hear lovely things like, "You're my best friend mommy, I love you soooo much, I want to keep you forever!" Yes a threenager may think you are their pet, but is there anything sweeter than a super tight toddler cuddle?
When did you first realize you were living with a threenager?
Kristen Hewitt is a sports reporter and you can find more of her writing at mommyinsports.com.