The Totally Terrifying Three’s

Hey, look at me! I'm playing Jedi mind tricks on you right now.

I don’t know who came up with the term Terrible Two’s, but whoever did, clearly never met my daughter. Otherwise, he would have aptly pissed on the term Terrible Two’s and immediately warned the world about its much nastier successor, the Totally Terrifying Three’s.

I sort of imagined that once Noob Baby blew out the candles on her third birthday, the terrible two’s would ceremoniously be shed off like a dried up old cocoon. There would be a collective sigh of relief as a beautiful and cooperative 3-yr-old emerged from the chrysalis.

And this is the point where you say:

Noob Mommy, I can no longer continue to read your blog because you are a total ignoramus. Period. End of discussion. Hand over the keys to your blog because that 4-yr-old over there can give better parenting advice than you.

Oh, something did emerge alright. Something. Certainly. Emerged.

This is the part where I tell you to forget everything you’ve heard about the two’s, and just take my bleeding ulcer as evidence that the three’s are waaaaay crazier.

In retrospect, I think the two’s were a little bit uncomfortable. Not exactly terrible, but I’m pretty sure I squirmed a lot in public. There’s definitely going to be some mental scarring… for me. But now that Noob Baby is exactly one month into her three’s, well, I can say with utmost professionalism… Houston, we have a problem.

You know that feeling you get when you open your eyes in the morning and immediately you’re hit with a 10 ton wall of impending doom. Yeah that’s part of the terrifying. Knowing that there’s a 95% chance I will have to talk down a nuclear tantrum before the Cheerios have even hit the bowl in the morning. That’s also part of the terrifying.

Totally terrifying is having this mini person tell me with more conviction than I’ve seen in a Mormon missionary, that she hates me. What is she going to say to me when she’s a teenager?? There’s that ulcer again.

A three-year old now has the mental clarity and intelligence to manipulate my emotions and defy me as she gives me the squinty eye stare. I thought only teachers have The Look. Note to teachers: The Look can be passed down through genetics. Or the birthing process. Either way, our secret is compromised.

In the span of three minutes, Noob Terrorist Baby looked into my eyes and into the depths of my soul as she flicked egg yolk onto the carpet that I had vacuumed not more than five minutes before. As soon as she saw my mouth open, she came over to give me a warning kick in the shin (The shin! How does a 3-yr-old already know the most painful place to inflict pain?! Who’s her trainer I wonder?), and then sauntered off to join some gang, mafia, and/or the IRA. Simultaneously.

A 3-yr-old is learning to reason and seek explanation, order, and control. However, this doesn’t exactly work when you have like zero frustration management. Basically, Noob Baby is a tyrant who throws bitch fits. And since somehow I’ve miraculously managed to teach her how to say, “I’m frustrated” (in hopes of diffusing her tantrums), she now hurls things across the room and shouts, “I’M FRUSSSSTRATED!”

Her other favorite line is, “NO YOU DO IT!” (read: You’re My Slave.) This usually follows her throwing a cup of Goldfish on the ground. Of course, I put on my game face and say, “Please pick up the Goldfish and put them in the trash.” At this point I’m already mentally cycling through my three response mechanisms: bribery, threat, or humiliating cheering (Yayyyyy!! You did it!! You picked up all your spitefully thrown food particles like a big girl! Yayyyy! High five!).

I’d say that my days have pretty much boiled down to the former two. Bribes and threats. Threats and bribes. Every night, I go to bed feeling like a mobster. I’m going to start stuffing my pockets with rolls of cash (except that I’m kind of cash poor right now so Dum-Dums will have to do). In fact, I should also hire a loan shark to make good on all those time outs so I can keep my hands clean.

Please, someone … tell me I’m not alone here. If ever there was a time I was out tramping for some empathy… this is it. Ok, the fact is … things have been kinda rough around here.

Exhibit A:  My weeping ulcer.

I started this post with the greatest of intentions, hoping to offer some good advice for the parents, but instead I resorted to a good old fashioned whinefest. Sometimes you just need that. So, I guess I’ll have to ask you for the advice!

But, things aren’t all terror and torture around here. I can’t deny the cute factor in all the random things she says. And the way she says, “I love you, Mommy,” without me using a single threat or bribe… I’d say it makes up for 65% of all the other mama trauma. At least it washes away my mob smell at the end of the day.


  1. 17

    I am so doomed. Dooomed. Dooooooooooooomed. I have twins. A boy and a girl. The girl is a carbon copy of me. I was a complete precocious TERROR. The Boy has Daddy’s brain’s and Mommy’s sense of humor. They both have shown signs of pulling a Super Twins Power Tantrum.

    Pray for me.

  2. 18

    Hey NoobMommy,
    Thanks so much for posting this! My son is just about to turn three and lately he’s had this wild hair about disobeying and tantrums. Totally unlike him. Now that he can say what he is feeling, he just screeches it at me instead of talking calmly. And he’s like a ninja, following behind me and taking apart everything I just cleaned up or laundry I folded. Urgh!

    He’s is so stinking cute, though, when he wants to be and I think he is just starting to realize the potential of a sweet, little grin. I’m in trouble!

  3. 19

    I thought the same exact thing the 3 were worse then the 2s they actually can express what they want instead of throwing themselves on the floor they can just say it to your face, with my family it was way worse we had no idea that my son had adhd and was very very hyper. Did I say hyper and loud and so we got a behavior specialist come in and help us deal with the not listening by 4 he does listen better and has calmed down. Now we are doing it all again with are 22mth old but hes mild compared to my first. and we were crazy enough to do it again and have a third child who is 6mths. So if you think you have an ulcer you have to see the inside of my stomach cause between the fighting and screaming everyday. I would like to climb into my bed with my thumb and start sucking it. Its crazy and there 3 boys I used to have nice furniture but not now cause of them. Dont get me wrong there adorable but its really hard. and I try my best its all we can do right? gina

  4. 20

    LOL, I’m glad we’re not the only parents who refer to our DS as Bin Laden!

  5. 21

    NO…you are not alone. I am the grandmother of a 3yr 1 month old and he is a handful.
    He has his mind made up and there is no convincing him otherwise. We argue about food most of the time and it is usually in the morning or after breakfast. He can be evil with evil faces; which by the way I have made him look at himself in the mirror. And, they seem to have stopped for now. And, the next minute loving and kissing my face.
    He screams, throws himself down and is just rotten. He also has problems with not being the one to do things first when in a group. When he is a home he cries and whines to the point his dad wants him evaluated. It is so trying some days I am like I am to old for this, but then there are times when he is so sweet.
    We use to argue over naps too, but I now set an alarm and he knows when that alarm goes off it is nap time. No tempers he grabs his beebee(blanket)and climbs in his bed. I pray every night for this to wear out and the sweet little guy emerges out of the temperamental “terrifying threes”.

  6. 22

    No worries… sounds like you just described my day. *sigh* You made me laugh though and in the end that is the most we can do at the end of the day. I had the sweetest little nugget until one morning. BOOM! That was the explosion of the new little Al Qaeda in footsie pajamas that opened her door. Lord help us. Hang in there. Great blog!

  7. 23
    Stephanie says:

    Great post! Sorry to hear that sweet Noob Baby isn’t being so sweet…sadly, this behavior doesn’t seem too different from that of my 6th graders, go figure! Hang in there Mommy…I admire what you do each day, who knew taking care of 1 kid would be just as difficult as taking care of 31 all day?!?!?!

  8. 24

    LOVE the post! So hilarious….and true, considering I’ve seen the terrorist baby in action. And love her swimsuit 😀

  9. 25
    Alexandra says:

    I have a few other choice words I hear besides no you do it, there is the whining when we can’t watch the same Thomas episode for the 4th time that day, or the I can’t do it, when he doesn’t want to pull up his frikken pants after going potty and I have seen him do it all by himself multiple times! And the food on the floor my god! Our dog is currently boycotting cereal, poor dog she has probably had a lifetimes worth of cheerios. So mommy gets to vacuum 27 times a day because I am too lazy to pick up every piece. Oh and when his baby sister tries to play with something he hasn’t even looked at in an hour and suddenly he was playing with that! And he proceeds to go around the room and try to pick up and carry every single toy at once like some kind of crazed toy hoarder! But when he says please or thanks me for making lunch or does some other sweet cute thing it makes up for it.
    Nothing compares to the impending doom of waking up to a 3 year old crawling on to your bed with his Thomas underwear full of poop! My least favorite way to wake up is to cleaning poo filled underwear. I never would have though 4 years ago that I would have to face that kind of horror!

    • 26

      Oh Alex – This post made me laugh and sympathize at the same time. The pulling the pants up after potty thing … we are going through that right now as well. It’s ridiculous the little games they play right? Some days she’s wiping, washing her hands and pulling up and wants me to wait outside. All the other days, I have to be pulling her pants up too. Aye aye aye. I will say that you have me beat with the poop in the morning. Props to you. Mother Teresa kind of patience.

  10. 27

    You’re the 3rd person who has warned the totally terrifying 3s. I’m scared! My son is 2 1/2 and he’s been absolutely horrible lately! Last night I told him to go to his room because he threw a tantrum when I told him to stop doing something and he yelled., “NO!” Then later, he tried climbing up on the toy box and my hubby told him to get down. When he did he then slammed the lid…right on baby girl’s hands. And tonight he’s had 2 timeouts in the past 15min. The most recent one, he threw his matchbox cars across the living because baby girl was in his way and he was mad. Thankfully he still takes naps most of the time, so I get a little bit of a break during the day.

    • 28

      AJ – Enjoy the naps while you still have them! It’s really nice to have that time to recenter yourself when you’ve been bossed around all day :)

      • 29

        Oh I do. Some days both kids are napping at the same time so I can get a nap in. Which I’ve really been needing lately with baby girl waking up a lot at night since she’s teething (1 has cut thru and looks like a couple of more about ready to cut thru).

  11. 30

    You’re not alone, sister! 3 years 7 months and we freak out over EVERYTHING and move at the pace of a 100 year old turtle. A lot of deep breaths are taken at our house. I have to admit it was pretty funny when her 6 month old brother was laughing at her yesterday as she was in the middle of one of her meltdowns…she didn’t think it was so funny! :)

  12. 31

    I so can feel for you right now! My daughter turned 3 on May 30th, and she is a HAND. FULL. When I ask her to pick up her toys or put something away, she storms off and says, “oh, whatever”. SERIOUSLY??

    And you made me feel better when you wrote how when you wake up and feel the impending doom? Me too! Not only does mine make me feel like this, but she also doesn’t believe in sleep, and hasn’t taken a nap in about a year (or if she does, she’s up until midnight, so I pick the lesser of 2 evils). I say to myself , “let’s get ready to rumble” when I hear her door open in the morning :)

    She is, however, very sweet, and I love having a daughter, but those bad moments are horrible. And I also have an emergency stash of Dum Dums in my purse for when I have to take her out in public should a meltdown arise. I never had to do this with my boys…

    • 32

      Regina! You crack me up. You need to play that song in the morning – Let’s get ready to rumble – and time it with her entrance. I can never predict what NB’s mood is going to be like when she throws our bedroom door open in the morning. Every morning is different and “interesting” that’s for sure.

  13. 33

    dont worry mine just turned 3 on may 1st and we are going through the same thing over here ugh! As you know there are good days and bad days. this week hasnt been to bad so far…………..

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