Here you are. A mom, cruising through the second year of life with your wonderful child, waiting for the moment that you have heard of so many times before, the cliché spoken by a million moms around the world…the Terrible Twos! But the moment does not come. You think, “This child is miraculous! He is simply amazing!” Within minutes of stating this fact about your perfect child who managed to defy all odds, you will be inundated with the beast that I like to call, “the Threenager.” Sure, they still look adorable, but brewing beneath the surface is a ball of no’s and attitude!
As a mom who has recently exited the Threenage year, I have found many mothers who say the same exact thing: “The twos were a breeze. It was nothing until they hit three!” It’s that moment that your child starts to develop a sense of autonomy and realizes that they can utilize this new found sense to achieve what they want, when they want it. That independence is combined with the facts that they truly don’t get empathy nor understand the effect that their actions may have on others, and their sense of entitlement to things in this world that they are just beginning to know.
I actually think my son looked at me at times, thinking, “Who on earth does she think she is talking to?!” It was the Threenager. He had arrived. What was happening? Will it ever end?! Where was my sweet little man?! However, I promise it will and does get better. (sort of!)
I found that my son did not respond to normal commands once he was in full-blown Threenager mode. Having a decent vocabulary for a kid his age, I knew that he understood what I was saying. But the way I said them must have been reminiscent of the adults in a Peanut cartoon because listening to what I was telling him was not happening. I had fallen on deaf ears. But not eyes. Those eyes continued to stare at me, giving me that devilish look that said, “I hear ya, but I ain’t listening to ya!” Advice? This is a good time to master your patience skills and drink alcohol. This will help to lessen your frustrations. In my home, this stage seems to still be in force during the fours, but to a much lesser degree and yet on a much larger scale as he tests my ability to avoid nervous breakdowns. Hey, I only promised sort of better!
The Threenager does not have any regard for your life. I recall being on a work call, having set him all up with a snack and a Thomas the Tank Engine episode (which I had done in times past when I needed to be on such a call), only to have to literally apologize to my phone companions that I was so sorry that they had to hear a young boy scream “MOM!” at the top of his lungs, continuously. The idea of the phone or any other means you have of communication with others, the Threenager finds offensive. He’s saying, “How dare you speak to another!,” “Do you not know who I am?,” or “I need a banana, and I need it now!” I am pretty sure Threenagers discuss foolproof tricks for how to mess with adults and make Mom think she is destined for Crazy-town while at playgrounds and group activities. At the least, a Threenager can make a mother want to change her name from Mom to something they can’t pronounce. But alas, you are not. The light at the end of this tunnel? Though the “MOMS!” have kept on ticking, the timing has finally become a realization of when is best to use it. Unless, of course, they want another banana.
And the positive part of a Threenager? Lastly, but certainly not least, the Threenager loves to love and learn. They are learning the benefits of showing affection. Questions (oh, the questions!) about this new world around them come firing out at rapid speed, and it’s a pleasure to enlighten them. They begin to recognize that they like the way that they feel when they blow bubbles on a sunny afternoon, and they are noticing that they like and feel things in general. It’s amazing to watch this little human that you are responsible for see the real realization of the world around him. It’s a gift that we are lucky to be a part of. But trust me, whatever you do, don’t you dare forget about that banana.