You’ve survived the Terrible Twos, now prepare for hell!

 

terrible-3s1

When your child finally starts nudging the age of 3 and you’ve weathered the absolute horror that is the Terrible Twos, you expect – nay demand – a change.
You’ve suffered a whole year of screaming tantrums (oft times in public).
You’ve just about kept your head above water with the ‘I will absolutely NOT sit in that car seat and I’m going to turn myself into the most rigid child ever if you try’.<
You’ve weathered potty training, toy sabotage, fascination with toilets (but never to actually use them for the purpose they are intended) and food being used as target practice.
You’ve been drawn on, climbed on, shouted at, punched, bullied and manipulated.
You’ve sat in a corner and cried, you’ve blamed yourself, you’ve blamed your other half, you’ve despaired that you are the worst parent ever.<
And you await that birthday number 3 with the dull ache of expectation.

Pleeeeeaaaase let it be over soon, you’re secretly praying as you sit and watch the gentle rise and fall of your angelic child’s little chest as they slumber, a moment tinged with the guilt that you actually quite prefer them when they are sleeping.
Because it feels like it’s the only peace you ever get.
I too was that mummy. I prayed that the number 3 held magical qualities that would transform my little wild child into something more, well palatable.

It didn’t happen.
Here is what we swapped the Terrible Twos for. Not so many tantrums, it is true. But is it any better? You decide.

1. My sofa/bed/back are her own personal trampolines. If I say “please don’t jump on the furniture” she looks at me like I’ve just said “please don’t breathe.”
2. If it is switched off, it must be switched on. If it is switched on, it must be switched off. And then on again. And then off. And then on again.
3. Everything ends up in the bin. Expensive mobile phone? Go looking among the potato peelings and egg shells. Or under the bed. Basically anything that is interesting or shiny will go under my bed or in my Dora backpack. Like mummy’s wedding ring or the car keys.
4. Paper is too small a medium for my art. What’s bigger than paper? Hmm, this wall here . . .
5. I am 3. I know fashion. If I want to wear my party dress over my pyjamas with my wellies and my Harry Potter dressing up glasses there is nothing you can do or say that will make me change. If you make me change I will put my swimming costume on with my rain mac.
6. I don’t have time to wipe my bottom/flush the toilet/wash my hands. However, I will always sweetly tell you I have wiped my bottom/flushed the toilet/washed my hands.
7. Walking in the room to find she’s climbed on top of a beanbag which is balancing on top of a kitchen chair and she’s standing there precariously on one foot while reaching for my mobile phone (which she is obviously planning to put in the bin).
8. Everyone and everything is “an idiot”.
9. The first sightings of a roll of the eyes and a big fat ‘oh for heaven’s sake’ sigh.<
10. That voice she uses in the playground? The one that can cut glass and make your ears bleed? Best used first thing in the morning to wake mummy. Works every time.

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62 Responses to You’ve survived the Terrible Twos, now prepare for hell!

  1. Home Office Mum says:

    I feel your pain. I believe that on the day they turn 3 their ears literally fall off and are incapable of hearing anything you say except 'What would you like for pudding?'

  2. Home Office Mum says:

    I feel your pain. I believe that on the day they turn 3 their ears literally fall off and are incapable of hearing anything you say except 'What would you like for pudding?'

  3. notSupermum says:

    Ah, happy days….

  4. notSupermum says:

    Ah, happy days….

  5. You just described my life.I am sat here in the carnage that was Saturday morning. The 3 year old has unwrapped everything in the fridge (as we slept). The 4 year old is wearing pyjamas with princess dress, party mask and wellies.

  6. You just described my life.I am sat here in the carnage that was Saturday morning. The 3 year old has unwrapped everything in the fridge (as we slept). The 4 year old is wearing pyjamas with princess dress, party mask and wellies.

  7. Oh and it's only 9.05am. Where can we go from here?

  8. Oh and it's only 9.05am. Where can we go from here?

  9. More than a Mother says:

    Tara, you are simply looking at these incidents the wrong way. Allow me to interpret them for you;1. trampolining on the sofa – she is a gifted athlete2. switching things on/off – she is intelligent and exploring consequences3. Everything ends up in the bin – she is aware of ecological issues and is recycling4. Drawing on walls – she is artistic5. fashion statements – she has the confidence to be an individual6. fibbing about hand washing – still ecologically sound; saving water…7. Precarious balancing on beanbags – she is adventurous8. "you're an idiot" – she is a gifted child, and everyone else is beneath her9. rolling eyes – see above10. the ear-piercing voice – she will make herself heard in the worldDid no-one tell you that after the terrible twos, they become 'three-nagers'?xx MTJAM

  10. More than a Mother says:

    Tara, you are simply looking at these incidents the wrong way. Allow me to interpret them for you;1. trampolining on the sofa – she is a gifted athlete2. switching things on/off – she is intelligent and exploring consequences3. Everything ends up in the bin – she is aware of ecological issues and is recycling4. Drawing on walls – she is artistic5. fashion statements – she has the confidence to be an individual6. fibbing about hand washing – still ecologically sound; saving water…7. Precarious balancing on beanbags – she is adventurous8. "you're an idiot" – she is a gifted child, and everyone else is beneath her9. rolling eyes – see above10. the ear-piercing voice – she will make herself heard in the worldDid no-one tell you that after the terrible twos, they become 'three-nagers'?xx MTJAM

  11. Tara says:

    @Home Office Mum: Brilliant. That should be number 11 because yes yes yes, they absolutely do that. They learn that selective hearing thing pretty early. In fact my husband still does a bit of it now so I blame him!@notSupermum: Is that how I will be in years to come? Will I look back and think 'gee those were easy times?' Please tell me this isn't so . . . @Laura: I'll tell you where I go from there. I tell hubby I need a shower and lock myself in for, ooo about an hour! I'm sorry for your suffering but am SO glad it's not just me!@MTJAM: I knew there was a reason I really liked you – see now I feel so much better and not such a total failure! I can see you are clearly a woman with much experience in this field!And 'threenagers'? Love that word. Am going to steal it and use it all the time now. You legacy will live on in this house. x

  12. Tara says:

    @Home Office Mum: Brilliant. That should be number 11 because yes yes yes, they absolutely do that. They learn that selective hearing thing pretty early. In fact my husband still does a bit of it now so I blame him!@notSupermum: Is that how I will be in years to come? Will I look back and think 'gee those were easy times?' Please tell me this isn't so . . . @Laura: I'll tell you where I go from there. I tell hubby I need a shower and lock myself in for, ooo about an hour! I'm sorry for your suffering but am SO glad it's not just me!@MTJAM: I knew there was a reason I really liked you – see now I feel so much better and not such a total failure! I can see you are clearly a woman with much experience in this field!And 'threenagers'? Love that word. Am going to steal it and use it all the time now. You legacy will live on in this house. x

  13. Kool Aid says:

    Threenagers!!! That is so true! I think your three year old and my three year old should get together and conquer the world. I'm quiet certain they could do it successfully, especially if you consider all their "talents" as MTJAM has.

  14. Kool Aid says:

    Threenagers!!! That is so true! I think your three year old and my three year old should get together and conquer the world. I'm quiet certain they could do it successfully, especially if you consider all their "talents" as MTJAM has.

  15. Working mum says:

    Yup, been there! And four is even more 'interesting'!

  16. Working mum says:

    Yup, been there! And four is even more 'interesting'!

  17. Surely three year olds are just two year olds, with louder voices, stronger limbs, more devious brains and more devastating use of language…..

  18. Surely three year olds are just two year olds, with louder voices, stronger limbs, more devious brains and more devastating use of language…..

  19. Corey Schwartz says:

    Oh, God! Spot on. I refused to leave the house more than once day, because the car seat battles did me in!

  20. Corey Schwartz says:

    Oh, God! Spot on. I refused to leave the house more than once day, because the car seat battles did me in!

  21. Turf Dad says:

    Tara, Tara, Tara, Mine are 8, 12, and 17. Guess what? I can still apply something on your list to each of those kids now. I suggest not spending on anything nice until the youngest is in college.

  22. Turf Dad says:

    Tara, Tara, Tara, Mine are 8, 12, and 17. Guess what? I can still apply something on your list to each of those kids now. I suggest not spending on anything nice until the youngest is in college.

  23. notSupermum says:

    Tara, I'm just saying that the 'phases' get more interesting as time goes on….Btw, my youngest daughter used to get food out of the bin and EAT IT! She also used to swing and climb on everything and managed to pull the TV on top of her one day (she was ok, the TV wasn't). On morning I went to get her out of her cot to find she had stripped all the wallpaper off the walls next to her cot. She was sitting in the cot with strips of wallpaper over her head.

  24. notSupermum says:

    Tara, I'm just saying that the 'phases' get more interesting as time goes on….Btw, my youngest daughter used to get food out of the bin and EAT IT! She also used to swing and climb on everything and managed to pull the TV on top of her one day (she was ok, the TV wasn't). On morning I went to get her out of her cot to find she had stripped all the wallpaper off the walls next to her cot. She was sitting in the cot with strips of wallpaper over her head.

  25. Jonny's Mommy says:

    I told my mother I was worried about Jonathan turning two (which are well into now) and she told me 'Your brother was worse at 3. It was a nightmare. I cried and cried and cried. It was awful. The day he turned 4 he was a different child."Make it to 4 and you should be OK. Hang in there. Be strong, mummy.

  26. Jonny's Mommy says:

    I told my mother I was worried about Jonathan turning two (which are well into now) and she told me 'Your brother was worse at 3. It was a nightmare. I cried and cried and cried. It was awful. The day he turned 4 he was a different child."Make it to 4 and you should be OK. Hang in there. Be strong, mummy.

  27. GreenJello says:

    The thing is, they don't change all that much. They just relive the toddler years in teen form, except that they're a LOT mouthier and more resistant to your influence. :)Oh– word to the wise. If you use wording like, "Please don't jump on the sofa", you will be ignored. I have found this out the hard way. Give concrete sentences– "In our house, we do not jump on the sofa." Otherwise, they will think it's a request they can ignore.

  28. GreenJello says:

    The thing is, they don't change all that much. They just relive the toddler years in teen form, except that they're a LOT mouthier and more resistant to your influence. :)Oh– word to the wise. If you use wording like, "Please don't jump on the sofa", you will be ignored. I have found this out the hard way. Give concrete sentences– "In our house, we do not jump on the sofa." Otherwise, they will think it's a request they can ignore.

  29. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    1,2,4,7,9 and 10 already there. I shall hope that this means they'll be finished with by the time she is 3, though I suspect they will just be replaced with something else.

  30. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    1,2,4,7,9 and 10 already there. I shall hope that this means they'll be finished with by the time she is 3, though I suspect they will just be replaced with something else.

  31. iota says:

    This might not be the moment to tell you that I seem to remember 4 being a tricky age…

  32. iota says:

    This might not be the moment to tell you that I seem to remember 4 being a tricky age…

  33. Nicola says:

    You have hit the nail on the head. I am also finding 3 so much more challenging than 2. 4 was also hell but 5 seems to be a little easier – except when he is resorting to being 4 or 3, which is frequently. *sigh.Loved this post! Really had me laughing with recognition. Thank God this sort of thing isn't just playing itself out in my house!

  34. Nicola says:

    You have hit the nail on the head. I am also finding 3 so much more challenging than 2. 4 was also hell but 5 seems to be a little easier – except when he is resorting to being 4 or 3, which is frequently. *sigh.Loved this post! Really had me laughing with recognition. Thank God this sort of thing isn't just playing itself out in my house!

  35. Tawny says:

    I couldn't agree more, I went through the Terrible Twos, The Tricky Threes, then the Fearsome fours and on until I am now going through the Nagging Nines!

  36. Tawny says:

    I couldn't agree more, I went through the Terrible Twos, The Tricky Threes, then the Fearsome fours and on until I am now going through the Nagging Nines!

  37. Potty Mummy says:

    Great. Just great. Are you telling me I have another 11 months of this from Boy #2? I'll say it again; Great.

  38. Potty Mummy says:

    Great. Just great. Are you telling me I have another 11 months of this from Boy #2? I'll say it again; Great.

  39. Tracy says:

    I think once you get past the Talkback Thirteens it's finally smooth sailing. Right? Please? Somebody say it's so? Please?

  40. Tracy says:

    I think once you get past the Talkback Thirteens it's finally smooth sailing. Right? Please? Somebody say it's so? Please?

  41. Tara says:

    I think the message I get from this is that I'm basically jiggered for the next, ooo, 20-odd years and I may as well get used to it!Oh hell!And notSupermum, that wallpaper thing? You just couldn't write this stuff could you!

  42. Tara says:

    I think the message I get from this is that I'm basically jiggered for the next, ooo, 20-odd years and I may as well get used to it!Oh hell!And notSupermum, that wallpaper thing? You just couldn't write this stuff could you!

  43. Matthew Dryden says:

    You should have seen it when my son decided to wake up early and get into the leftover spaghetti and convertible veggies. The kitchen looked the fridge threw up.

  44. Nota Bene says:

    Very funny…but the terrible two turn into the tricky threes, the fearsome fours, the fraught fives, thesilly sixes, the stomping sevens, the 'ateful eights, the naughty nines….and onwards!

  45. Nota Bene says:

    Very funny…but the terrible two turn into the tricky threes, the fearsome fours, the fraught fives, thesilly sixes, the stomping sevens, the 'ateful eights, the naughty nines….and onwards!

  46. Sal says:

    Oh say it isn't so. Bella will turn 3 in August. The on-off-on-off thing, she already does so maybe that will go away. Climbing on things, she is a gymnast so I doubt that will ever go away (I am 26 and still do that so I doubt it)…screaming at the top of her lungs to get mommy up (I still do that too) once again, probably won't stop until she leaves the house. Fetal position, here I come.

  47. Sal says:

    Oh say it isn't so. Bella will turn 3 in August. The on-off-on-off thing, she already does so maybe that will go away. Climbing on things, she is a gymnast so I doubt that will ever go away (I am 26 and still do that so I doubt it)…screaming at the top of her lungs to get mommy up (I still do that too) once again, probably won't stop until she leaves the house. Fetal position, here I come.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Oh my god. I'm pregnant with my first and I want to quit right now. Is that allowed?I loved Matthew's 'the kitchen looked like the fridge threw up' and Sal's fetal position here I come' but now I've stopped laughing I'm thinking what the bloody hell have I done!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Oh my god. I'm pregnant with my first and I want to quit right now. Is that allowed?I loved Matthew's 'the kitchen looked like the fridge threw up' and Sal's fetal position here I come' but now I've stopped laughing I'm thinking what the bloody hell have I done!

  50. shopgirl says:

    "Paper is too small a medium for my art." That is priceless!You just reminded me to go take my birth control!! Too funny!!!

  51. Another excellent list!In particular:If I say "please don't jump on the furniture" she looks at me like I've just said "please don't breathe."Ahh, sometimes, I really do believe I'm on Venus and the little one is on another planet!When it comes to fashion though, I let him be. He wants to wear "muscle shirts" and shorts in winter-time – that's fine by me. As long as he's covered in long pants and wears his snow pants and coat to school, then who am I to disagree about what he's got on underneath?Daisy

  52. Another excellent list!In particular:If I say "please don't jump on the furniture" she looks at me like I've just said "please don't breathe."Ahh, sometimes, I really do believe I'm on Venus and the little one is on another planet!When it comes to fashion though, I let him be. He wants to wear "muscle shirts" and shorts in winter-time – that's fine by me. As long as he's covered in long pants and wears his snow pants and coat to school, then who am I to disagree about what he's got on underneath?Daisy

  53. that girl? says:

    Ah… all sounds so familiar! I've found three's to be worse than two. Each week a new little trait seems to develop out of nowhere – we get "Stupid Idiot", "Get Lost" and "Please, please, please, please……" a lot now! Still…. I am eagerly awaiting the 4th birthday in April because I still believe in miracles!

  54. that girl? says:

    Ah… all sounds so familiar! I've found three's to be worse than two. Each week a new little trait seems to develop out of nowhere – we get "Stupid Idiot", "Get Lost" and "Please, please, please, please……" a lot now! Still…. I am eagerly awaiting the 4th birthday in April because I still believe in miracles!

  55. Tara says:

    @Suzanne, I am so sorry you had to hear it, but I can lie to you no more – it's hell! But as you know, they put on that cute face and all is forgiven . . .

  56. Tara says:

    @Suzanne, I am so sorry you had to hear it, but I can lie to you no more – it's hell! But as you know, they put on that cute face and all is forgiven . . .

  57. Patricia says:

    I just wanted to tell you that my very silent oldest daughter turned 3 and had to wear a pair of her father's red ( with runs in them) brief on top of her head everywhere we went. When I took care of her 5 year old cousin, he had to wear an old Kentucky Fried chicken cardboard barrel on his head. We did not get to the vocal temper tantrum child until we went for #3..Great post and it did bring up memories and make me laugh out loud

  58. Patricia says:

    I just wanted to tell you that my very silent oldest daughter turned 3 and had to wear a pair of her father's red ( with runs in them) brief on top of her head everywhere we went. When I took care of her 5 year old cousin, he had to wear an old Kentucky Fried chicken cardboard barrel on his head. We did not get to the vocal temper tantrum child until we went for #3..Great post and it did bring up memories and make me laugh out loud

  59. Laura McIntyre says:

    I just love this post, could you have said it any better?I was the smug parent who survived the 2s with barely a tantrum or bad story and then the girl hit THREE. Its gotta end one day doesn't it?

  60. Laura McIntyre says:

    I just love this post, could you have said it any better?I was the smug parent who survived the 2s with barely a tantrum or bad story and then the girl hit THREE. Its gotta end one day doesn't it?

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