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.