Stefani's most-fantastical-reads book montage

Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows
Yellow Brick War
The Wicked Will Rise
Charm & Strange
Their Fractured Light
These Broken Stars
Big Little Lies
I'll Be There
Red Queen

Stefani's favorite books »

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Parenting a threenager is 'like whoa...'

Parenting is strange.

I could go a lot of places with that opener, but I'm choosing to go with the magical age of three {and almost a half, to be specific}. People don't talk about three... it's like this unspoken phase that parents everywhere choose not discuss with new parents. They'll tell you about the 'terrible twos' and how your sweet little toddling angel will one night morph into a tiny little monster. But the monster of two has nothing on demons of three...

"Three is two, with intent."

I don't know who told me that or where I read it but whoever said it was a genius. At two, they are trouble - and there is no denying it. They get into mischief that you didn't even know existed, they discover their own opinions, and they start realizing that choices have consequences. They get into loads of trouble because of their curiosity and are driven mostly by their genuine interest in 'figuring stuff out'. But three, oh three, is so different. At three they have identified your 'buttons', they can use your own words against you, they can come up with their own words that will break your heart (I don't want to be your friend anymore, Mommy!), they can understand your requests demands and ignore them. In short, they can be trouble - ON PURPOSE. Three can take you from hugs and kisses on minute to screaming, kicking, flailing tantrums in under two seconds simply for asking to TWO seconds to retrieve a requested juice, or snack, or book, or shoe... Three can HUMILIATE you in public and bring you to your knees. It can make you consider begging your offspring for mercy in the produce section as your child rips items off shelves or yells at fellow shoppers... At three they are no longer babies, no longer toddlers... they are preschoolers. They are children. They are old enough to roll away from  you when you are trying to explain why they got in trouble, swat at you when their frustrated, pull the blanket over their head when you're talking, and push you away when you try to help them with something that they can do 'on my own!'

You can only survive three by living day to day. Something that was a non-issue on Monday may be the end-of-the-world meltdown on Tuesday.

Most days, parenting leaves me feeling in a way that only Crush the turtle has been able to adequately explain. "I was like whoa... and you were like whoa... and then we were like... whoa." And by the end of most days, I feel like Marlin. But some people tell me it gets better... and that someday I won't have a three year old anymore. And maybe when she's 13 I'll be blogging about how I wish I could go back to the simple arguments of a three year old over whether or not we are going potty before we get in the car and not the horrifying arguments of boyfriends, and grades, and all of the other things I'm sure await us in the all to near future. Parenting is a ride, of that much, I'm sure.


  1. My little girl turns three next month...and it has begun. When my eldest child turned three, I had never heard this spoken of. My husband and I thought perhaps we had screwed up and spoiled the heck out of him. He is now approaching five and much easier. Just as we are breathing a sigh of relief, my very sweet little girl has started to morph. It may well be a long year :-/

  2. Oi. I feel your pain. Our daughter will be 4 in September and things are improving... but I feel like just as I get comfortable with things this year, my son will be two and we will start all over again. Good to know I'm not alone! :)


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