You can’t make me believe in “terrible twos.” Nope. Impossible.
To us, terrible two doesn’t exist.
Our boys were absolute DOLLS at the age of two. They were sweet, loving, caring, fun and funny. We can’t remember any huge behavioral issues at age two, and even tantrums (few and far between) weren’t a big thing.
They both potty trained at two or shortly after. They had big changes in their third years (a baby brother for the big guy, and moving to another country for the little guy). They exploded with language and really started speaking in both English and Spanish at or before age two.
It was wonderful. A dream!
That was two.
Fast Forward to Three
I once heard someone use the term threenager.
That’s a mash-up of “three” and “teenager.” It means emotions are BIG. They’re OVERWHELMING. They’re OVER THE TOP.
Attitudes are big, too. Eyes roll, tempers flare. Transitions become nearly impossible.
For example, when it’s time to leave the playground: Meltdown.
When it’s time to stop playing and come set the table: Meltdown.
When it’s time to get ready for bed: EPIC MELTDOWN.
We try to mitigate the meltdown by giving ten-minute warnings for transitions. “Ten minutes until we have to leave, boys! Ten minutes!” Five minutes later, we’ll give the five-minute warning. Then, if things look like they’ll be rough, a two-minute warning.
The warning system has helped to get our kids used to the idea that a transition is coming. It doesn’t always cut off the tantrum, but it often helps.
Because of this threenager behavior, we need to keep a couple steps ahead of the game in an effort to help manage these enormous feelings.
But we don’t always do it right. Sometimes, we’re tired. Sometimes, we don’t have the time to think about how an upcoming event (even if it literally happens at the SAME TIME EVERY DAY) is going to break upon the beach of our three-year-old’s mind.
Doing this dance all day, every day, is very tiring. Despite having adopted better eating and exercise habits, cutting out sugar and other unhealthy foods…
I am still exhausted.
It Has Its Moments
It’s also unpredictable. Sometimes, it’s a battle. Other times, he hops-to and does whatever we ask him. He keeps us on our toes! It’s always a guessing game!
At times like these, we try to praise enthusiastically and effusively. It may sound corny, but it works.
And truly, despite the exhaustion, despite the relentlessness and the overwhelming emotions of our three-year-old, he is still our sunshine.
He’s sweet. He is so over-the-top in a very funny way, and he often has us in stitches.
Every morning, he rises and truly shines along with his brother. Each day when that happens, it’s like someone has hit the reset button, and I feel nothing but delight and joy.
Some days that lasts longer than others.
We’re going to be fine.