First came the sleepless nights.
Then came the biting (that sure made breastfeeding interesting!).
Then came the screeching, the unpredictable mood swings, and your toddler’s death wish desire to dash blindly towards busy streets, into throngs of strangers, and across questionable play equipment.
Anyone who has raised a child during its first two years of life is all too familiar with “phases” and “growth periods”. Our only consolation as parents at the end of the second year is that once the terrible twos come to an end, we will move delightfully on to the “easy threes”.
That is unless you’re raising a threenager.
This “magical” phase when your baby turns three is fraught with so many cringe-worthy, nail-biting and headache-inducing experiences that many parents pray for the opportunity to take a U-turn right back to those colicky spit-up filled baby days. Wonder what may be in store for you? Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll be asking yourself as you wrangle the newfound joys that come with a threenager:
“Where’d that attitude come from?”
If it hasn’t happened already, that once babbling, cooing bubs who used to gaze at you as if you were the whole world will abruptly transform into a challenging boundary-busting gremlin. Be prepared for plenty of:
Also, expect to be called out on your own poor behaviour. One missed “please” or “thank you”, and you are sure to be reprimanded by your cheeky little monkey.
“What’d you say?”
There’s no question that threenagers are chatty folk. But there will be mumbles, grunts, and snarky “I don’t know” replies when talking with your kiddo instead of those 20 minute long diatribes about who had what for a snack at daycare, and how Chase once again saved the day in the most recent episode of PAW Patrol.
“You can’t do that!”
Independence: it’s going to happen. But how it exhibits itself in a threenager is not always easy or welcomed.
If you delighted in piecing together cute outfits for your child before, you’ll surely be disappointed by your preschooler’s newfound questionable fashion sense and their insistence that they can dress themselves (expect to find socks and pants in strange places). Then there is the demand for a steak knife at dinnertime so that they can cut their own meals (not happening), take baths by themselves (nope!), and even take the city bus or drive the car (not in a million years!).
Of course, when you explain that they can’t do these things, you’ll get that oh-so-appreciated threenager attitude we spoke of before. Sigh.
“Go to bed!”
Just when you gave your back a break and decided that you were finished with rocking your 40-pound child to sleep you’ll encounter yet another threenager issue: sleep resistance.
Your thriving threenager will insist that a 7:30 pm bedtime is way too early and, being the big kids that they are, they deserve to be awake “all night”. Manage to get them down, and you’ll still find them either:
a) Making constant attempts to escape; or
b) Out of bed and tinkering around in their room
Word to the wise: invest in window locks. STAT.
“You want another snack?”
Three-year-olds have a lot of growing to do which may explain their voracious appetite. Now begins the many years of being assaulted by variations of the haunting question, “Can I have a snack?”
Raising a threenager can be frustrating. But as their defiance and hunger grow, there’s a whole new beauty that unfolds when your child transitions from two to three. They become stronger, their imaginative powers take off, and their personality blooms right before your very eyes.