Life with a Threenager


If you follow my Instagram Storyline you got a little snapshot of our weekend and won’t be at all surprised that today’s post is about our threenager. (Ok, let’s pause for a moment here because Instagram now has a daily storyline! A lot of you are already following along daily, but if you aren’t yet, follow here for the “real” side of every day living.)

After our threenager went to bed Saturday night I actually tweeted about our day:

A threenager’s sudden surge of independence mixed with zero patience and an absolute certainty of what they want, when they want it, makes it feel like a three-year-old is going on 13. Let me tell you, there are few things more terrifying than a threenager who was given her milk in the wrong color cup.


Three. Funny, infuriating, loveable and completely, totally, 100% insane. Here are some things I’ve learned in my short time living with a threenager.

1. Hands must be full. Always. It’s considered an asinine request that she leave the house with less than five things in hand. Just walking out to the mailbox? Why yes, of course I understand why it’s absolutely essential to bring your purse filled with 15 bracelets and a phone with a backup phone in hand “just in case” while simultaneously hugging three mini princess stuffed toys and your baby doll to your chest. And you’re right, how dare I assume that your hands are too full for you to be picked up so you can open the mailbox and get the mail out without dropping all of your other valuables.


2. They’re not tired. Threenagers know their level of tiredness far better than we adults do. So even though she may fall asleep two minutes after I force her to lie down, she was absolutely, definitely not even a little bit tired. At all.


3. They’re big kids. Insinuating that she’s too little to do something is an insult of the most extreme nature. Unless a temporary tattoo has been put on her arm. Then I’m certainly a fool for not realizing the tattoo obviously affects the strength of her legs and requires that she be carried around like a baby until she forgets about this decoration that she begged me to put on her arm in the first place.


4. Negotiations don’t stop until the threenager wins. Every parent should be required to take a class—led by a 3-year-old—on hard negotiations. Or a class on how to effectively tune out a negotiating threenager. Either one would be equally beneficial.


5. Getting dressed is a straight up crapshoot. Is it going to take 3 minutes or 30? The odds of successfully guessing the dressing game are lower than playing Roulette in Vegas. You will most certainly guess wrong more than 50% of the time, with the biggest mistake coming from piping up to insert your opinion on an outfit she should choose at any given moment. Just.Stay.Quiet. Then you can at least hope she won’t select the long pants on a 90 degree day out of pure defiance.


6. Opinions are ever changing. Just because she selected the chicken and green beans for dinner doesn’t actually mean a dinner of chicken and green beans will go over smoothly.

A: But I don’t LIKE chicken!

Me: Honey, you just asked me to have chicken for dinner.

A: But I don’t LIKE chicken anymore!

30 minutes is way too long for an opinion to go unchanging. Meanwhile, Husby is banging his head on the nearest wall.


7. There are two moods. Adorably in love with you, hugging, playing and laughing nicely because “you’re my very best friend, Mom”; or raging mad because you’re most certainly plotting to ruin her life by requiring her to use the toilet before riding in the car for the next two hours.


8. Making up words is a thing. Not understanding what the words are actually supposed to mean is, however, unacceptable and grounds for a condescending attitude.

A: Loola, Mama.

Me: I don’t know what loola means.

A: Yes you do, think about it. Loola.

Me: Honey, that’s not a word. Tell me what you mean and I’ll get it for you.

A: LOOOOOOOLA. Mom. It’s Loola.

This is usually when I turn around and walk away.


9. Red means stop, green means go. It doesn’t matter if there’s a car stopped in front of us. If the light is green we should be going. Discussion over.


10. Wording is everything. The worst things you could ever say to your threenager are phrases like “It’s time to go inside”, “Dinner is ready” or “Go to the bathroom before we leave”.


If you don’t have a three-year-old yet, it’s important that you’re aware of what’s in store. Any notion you had of raising the perfect child will be swept away along with your sanity. Just when I was thinking that these “terrible twos” everyone talks about were just a fallacy, three hit and I swear there are days our household has more emotional drama than the local middle school.

Then, like a little black hole, when the emotions even back out I fall hard for this funny little thing that is our threenager all over again. The thing about three-year-olds is that mixed in with all of the aforementioned sass is the underlying sweet. The sincere I love you’s and the voluntary cuddles. The side that wants to help and be just like you. So just like that I’m once again putty in the hands of this strong-willed, independent, sweet and sour spitfire that is our threenager. It’s what keeps us parents going until the next sneak attack of three-year-old emotions.

This three-year-old thing…Lord help us all. Only 326 days until she’s four.

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© 2013 by Heather Anders : Meet Me on the Intersection of Richmond & Style.