Three Year Olds Kinda Sorta Are A*sholes…With Flair

March 4, 2014  |  

Ever since high school when we all took that class where we had to take care of the fake baby that’s an egg/doll/cotton child, we’re made aware of the age of development and phenomenon better known as the “terrible twos.” I am convinced that the only reason people give this warning is because it has a catchy ring. Two-year-olds are not so bad.

My daughter just turned three a couple of weeks ago, and for the last six months leading up to this magic number, I’ve been told by my friends who have older children that three is in fact the age to be wary and frightened of. They were right. Sarah Felder at the Huffington Post seems to be one of those with similar sentiments. She titled her essay, “3-Year-Olds Are A*sholes,” and when I read her take on this test of patience that makes one question if they are a good parent I laughed a little and saw my daughter and myself in her words.

My daughter has been lying that she’s three for a good four months and has been acting the part since 2014 started. Cydney has always marched to the beat of her own drum. I’ve allowed and facilitated this process because I believe that different thinkers change the world. As her cognitive development has advanced, she has become something else. I liken her to the Sour Patch Kids commercials–she’s the girl that will make a huge mess and then volunteer to help clean it up.

She’s become a little onery these days. She knows what she wants and if she does not get it then the child version of the phrase,”Hell hath no fury…” takes effect. She wants to wear princess dresses every day. My response: “It’s too cold outside, baby.” She looks at me and says “Why?!” Then comes the fit. Rinse and repeat when it comes to wanting peanernjelly (translation: peanut butter and jelly) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At my grandmother’s funeral last week she demanded to wear a tiara and her magic wand, demanded to speak into the mic when all of the grandchildren read bible verses (she actually said: “I can do any any everything I want to do”) and proceed to give her own sermon. It was time to go to the back when she took her wand and said “Bibbity bobbity boo” at the casket (Laugh. It was hilarious).

My daughter and almost all three-year-olds mean well. I don’t think that they are mean and this way on purpose. Most people whether they are children or adults don’t do it on purpose. My hypothesis about this is that by the time a child is three years old they have finally figured out how to formulate their opinions. Think about it. From birth until about thirty-six months old when a child wants something they start off crying for it and we have to guess what they want. We eventually figure out what the cries are for and in the process of figuring it out have given them the wrong thing many times. As an adult that would get frustrating as all hell if someone kept doing that to and for me. Trying to put me to sleep when I’m agitated that I want some milk or that put that green thing in my mouth because my teeth hurt.

By three years of putting up with the love of my life, I’ve also discovered my oppressor who won’t let me tell them what I want. Now that our children can articulate their thoughts and opinions, they want to let us know. About sixty percent of raising a child is training them not to give into their impulses and suppress pleasing their id until they have learned how to do so correctly (Yes, love is important but we teach them to do this because we love them). Three year olds are fed up with our crap and they are loving that they can finally tell us this.

While it’s stressful and may often make us want to drink, children agitate us at this age with flair. As off the chain as my Cydney can be, she’s also really funny. The trade-off of all of toddlers’ crazy is that they do and say things in such a way that when we do get to have that time off and that drink we get to entertain our friends and coworkers with the best stories. It makes the non-parents jealous and when it’s all said and done we can’t wait to get back home to them.

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