Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An Open Letter to My Threenager

Let's have some real talk about life with you at age three, shall we? I'm not certain why they call them the "Terrible Two's" when two is a walk in the park compared to three. We've only had the pleasure of experiencing this stage of life for about three months now, but so far it's basically been a nonstop emotional rollercoaster that I can't seem to get off of. To put it bluntly, you are insane.

Now don't get me wrong, we had our fair share of ups and downs when you were two, but since entering the world of three you have completely lost your marbles. You're basically the equivalent of me during the third trimester of pregnancy: lazy, impatient, and overly dramatic about absolutely everything. You are constantly testing your limits and will make the most dramatic scene over the smallest little scratch. (It should be noted that your legs are broken at least five times a day.) At just three months in, I'm ready to end this hell by any means possible. I could probably handle it if you were an only child, but making me endure this torture while I also have to keep up with your newly mobile and very curious baby brother has pushed me to my breaking point. Unfortunately, you don't understand what "take a chill pill" means (nor do you care).

I realize that as your parent (i.e., the person in charge), I am responsible for teaching you things like patience, proper manners, and not to interrupt grown ups while we're talking, but I can only listen to you repeat my name so many times before I want to pull my hair out. I understand that you feel the need to "tell me a question," but I'm trying to have an adult conversation with the babysitter about how many times your brother pooped today, okay?

But constantly needing my attention isn't even the worst of it. You refuse to do pretty much anything I ask you to do these days. It's a 25 minute process getting you out of bed in the morning followed by another 15 trying to get you dressed (or even upright off the bathroom rug) and then another 10 getting you to brush your teeth and stand still long enough for me to run a brush through your hair. Dinner time has become a whole new kind of battle where you refuse to eat anything except fruit and then somehow think you deserve a "treat" whenever I finally manage to force a bite of meat or veggies down your throat. I swear you would live on milk and applesauce pouches if we'd let you and, honestly, some days you do because I can only give a damn for so long.

And then, there is bedtime. You always need "just five more minutes" or one last drink or suddenly have to potty as soon as you're tucked into bed. Then once you are in bed, you need to "tell me one more question" or remember that we forgot to lay out your clothes or decide that you need your baby doll to snuggle with. Once those items are remedied, you resort to kicking your covers off and insisting you're unable to pull them back up (probably because your legs are broken) or telling me that you need just one more smooch before you can fall asleep (proof that you also use my weaknesses against me).

Then comes the holy grail of why I despise this age so much: you use potty training as a weapon whenever possible. I put you in time out so you pee your pants just to prove a point. You're basically saying, "You want to punish me? Fine, I'll punish you right back." How does your mind even work this way? You're only THREE! I'm equally astonished and impressed at the same time that someone so small could concoct such a devious plan. This makes me absolutely terrified of what your actual teenage years will bring.

Now, I get that I'm not the first person to ever parent a threenager. In fact, plenty of other people have successfully done it and lived to tell the tale. The reason that your actions affect me so deeply is because you and I are exactly the same. I know when you're going to listen, when you're going to misbehave, and when you're contemplating between the two based on the look upon your face. You know how to push my buttons unlike anyone else, because my triggers are the same as yours. We butt heads more often than not but also have the best inside jokes and endless fits of laughter. You are strong willed to say the least and I know that in time your sass will turn back into sweetness, but until then can you at least try to keep the crazy down? Because by the time you grow out of this phase, your brother will be turning two and I'll have to start all over. And we both know that he won't go easy on me at all.