Warning: Three is the New “Terrible Two”

Terrible Twos. What a gross exaggeration, much like “sleep like a baby.” Those responsible for coining the phrases were either delusional or drunk.

Babies do not sleep, at least mine do not. And the twos are not all that terrible. They were actually pretty fun. It was noticeably easier than caring for an infant or one-year-old. Bedtime, bath and mealtimes were all relatively pleasant. Sure, two-year-olds can push buttons, but I’m here to tell you those buttons seems like child’s play (pun intended) when the third birthday hits.

Warning: Three is the New "Terrible Two" | Kansas City Moms Blog

Always jumping! Photo credit: Jason Domingues Photography

The Threes. A year of tantrums, statements of independence, the word, ”YUCK!” spoken at every meal, and a continuous battle of wills. For the record, the three-year-old will ALWAYS have more willpower than the parents. It’s a scientific fact. The so called “terrible” twos seem angelic when the threes rear their ugly head.

From now on, let’s all collectively agree to longer say “terrible twos.” The correct terminology should be “where’s the nearest safe spot/hospital/fire station that will accept a cute, but sassy three-year-old so that mommy can sip a latte without listening to screams, watch HER show, and eat anything other than macaroni and cheese threes.” It has a nice ring to it.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad. The extreme tidal waves of moods are balanced with overt showings of affection, wildly imaginative stories and jokes, and a true peek in to the personality and person they are about to become. But just so we are clear, mothers out there of precious infants and charming toddlers BEWARE! You need this information. I had to find out for myself, and it wasn’t pretty. The more you know, the better you are, right?

As part of your fair warning, let’s compare and contrast.

Here’s a rundown of the “Terrible Twos”:

  • The sweet little one is fairly oblivious to “free will.” They have yet to realize there are choices in this world. What to wear to school on a random Tuesday doesn’t matter. Broccoli for lunch? Sweet. Time for a bath? How fun!
  • Diapers still exist. The convenience of diapers cannot be appreciated until the toddler is wearing “big boy underwear” and you find yourself sprinting through Target to get to the bathroom in time, only to leave five minutes later drenched in toddler pee.
  • They take naps. Oh, those sweet, silent, two hours where moms can gallivant around the house, watching inappropriate television shows, and perhaps even shower alone!
  • Tantrums. They happen because the child has yet to understand how to express frustration.

And now for the rundown of “Terrorist Threes“:

  • Free will. YOU no longer have it. The three year old? Yes. You? No. What to wear to school on a random Tuesday… it better not be yesterday’s favorite shirt, because it’s now the worst shirt in “the world”!!! Broccoli for lunch? Unless it tastes like a Tootsie Pop you had better get that out of throwing range. Time for a bath? Sure, OK. It will only take 30 minutes to wrangle them in there, 10 minutes to brush teeth, and another 5 trying to explain even though you are not supposed to pee in the bath, that does not mean you can simply lean over the side and pee on the bathroom floor. All of this follows a 15-minute bed-jumping session, “accidentally” body slamming a younger (infant aged) sibling, and nearly choking you out in the process. Seriously, I’ve started to have blurry vision before.
  • Listening. Saying the word literally made me laugh out loud. There is no such thing.
  • The word “no” directly coincides with tantrums you did not realize were possible. I’m not talking the cute ones where you deflect and they are over. These are ear bleeding, patience-wearing marathons, where you realize forcing them to do ANYTHING is totally not worth losing your sanity.

As not to completely scare you, between the no’s and the newfound hatred of broccoli, there is also some really amazing and fun parts of raising a three-year-old.

Lastly, the rundown of the “Can’t Get Enough Threes“:

  • Hilariousness. The things that come out of their mouths will have you constantly in stitches. My son refers to the mechanism that holds our kayak as “the hooker in the garage that holds the boat.” Why would I ever correct him? Even if he does say it at school, and perhaps insinuates we are running a prostitution ring, it is just too hilarious to stop. Or when he declared on the playground, “boogers are like food, but in my nose!” I can’t even.
    Warning: Three is the New "Terrible Two" | Kansas City Moms Blog

    Running is the new walking

  • Extra love. The massive mood swings are made tolerable with the extra large hugs, kisses, and love. Their overt displays will make the heart pitter-patter. I smile merely thinking about them.
  • Imagination and elaborate stories. At this age, they are amazed at anything and everything new. Holidays are magical. The stories they come up with are amazing. Refer back to point one on hilariousness!
  • They CAN DO THINGS FOR THEMSELVES! Let me repeat. THEY CAN DO THINGS FOR THEMSELVES. Potty, check. Get a snack, yep. Dress themselves, most of the time. Climb in to bed on their own, oh yeah.

So mothers of young babies, this is your public service announcement. Knowledge is power. Store it, use it, and pass it on to other naïve women about to embark on the world formerly known as the “Terrible Twos.”

I have a few months left of the threes. Moms out there that have lived through it, four and five gets better, right? Right? Just, say right.

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