Three’s the charm…that’s what they always say, right? Unless it’s referring to the three year old, aka, ‘the threenager’.
I remember hearing about the ‘Terrible Twos’ before I had my son and thinking, “That sounds like a nightmare!” Then, my son turned two, and I cautiously await the stage of biting, throwing, tantrums, etc., that everyone had warning of. By the time my son was two and a half, I thought to myself, “Wow, could we have somehow been blessed to miss the terrible twos?”
Yes and no.
At about two years, ten months my delightful Prince Charming of a son basically skipped the terrible twos and turned right into the beastly threenager.
“Shhhh! Mommy, don’t say that!”
“I don’t like it, not one little bit!”
These and a few other not so pleasant phrases soon came part of his every day (EVERY.DAY!) dialogue with me. Add in the 3 times a week fight to not nap, along with the boycott against eating pretty much anything besides chicken nuggets and blueberry-banana smoothies, and you are beginning to get an idea of what life has become.
At first I decided to take a stand against everything. “I’ll show him who’s boss,” I thought. Go ahead and laugh you more experienced parents. Don’t worry, I’m a quick learner. One day, while exercising and listening to my play list, the following lyrics stood out:
That was when I decided I needed to regroup in order to have a new plan to survive the threenager stage. This lead to me developing some new mantras for our family:
- As long as the food plan is reasonably healthy over a 24 hour period, that’s good enough.
- He can sleep with a toy, as long as it’s only one, and it’s not dangerous, because sleep is gold.
- Learning from natural consequences, such as falling when he runs ahead, will make him more resilient.
- Less is more, as in less debating, more modeling the behavior you want goes much farther.
- When all else fails, play a song and have a dance party. (Our personal favorites are “Happy” and “Top of the World”.)
So those of you in the trenches with me, did I miss anything? More experienced parents, please tell me by this time next year my Prince Charming will have returned.