Life with an almost-three-year-old is fun. It’s also a little maddening. I have come to the (should have been obvious) conclusion that just because my three-year-old can walk and talk, and is starting to learn to dress herself (albeit questionably), and show genuine interest in the “big kid potty” — doesn’t mean she understands anything I try to (logically) explain to her in my inside voice. Our days are currently filled with about a million mini meltdowns — embarrassingly, for both toddler AND mom.
Here are just a few reasons my toddler lost her sh*t today.
- Her pants were “too pants-y.” A dress it is.
- She didn’t want to wear tennis shoes to school. She wanted to wear her gold sandals AGAIN. Duh, mom. Even though the temperatures (finally) dipped below 70 degrees — so obviously fall weather.
- Because I suck at brushing hair. Apparently.
- I put a bow with her ponytail. Not going to happen.
- I won’t allow her to eat Halloween candy for breakfast. Sorry little one, Halloween candy does not make for a healthy breakfast.
- Because we needed to leave to get to school on time
- She insisted she needed to use the bathroom (she isn’t even potty trained) before we could leave the house, and I said no.
- She didn’t want to sit in her car seat.
- I required her to be buckled into the car seat.
- She didn’t like the song on the radio.
- She didn’t like me singing along with the radio because every song “is her song.”
- Because I wouldn’t roll down her window in the car (It was raining.)
- When I asked her to get out of the car once we arrived at school. I had to crawl back into the SUV and drag her out, kicking and screaming as all the other preschool parents look on — some understanding, some disapproving. Not embarrassing AT ALL.
- When she refused to hold my hand in the parking lot. She then proceeded to make me chase her down (with an infant and a four-year-old in tow). I hollered, “When I catch you, I am going to spank you!” Again with the disapproving looks.
- We had to drop her big sister off at her classroom first. Not acceptable. (Usually, it’s a fight about who will unpack big sister’s backpack. Every dam* day.)
- Because she tripped over one unsuspecting kid or ran into a wall as she was running the whole way to her classroom. I walk briskly behind her with a “guys, I give up” look on my face.
- When I told her we don’t need to make a pit stop in the front office.
- I told her we don’t have time to say hello to every fish in the hallway fish tank.
- When I picked her up from MDO, and I wouldn’t bring her nap mat home. I explained to her that I washed it over the weekend, and it’s only Monday. This explanation does not suffice.
- Because she has to sit in her car seat…again.
- Because there is a “no food in the new car” rule (except for true emergencies). Why can she not eat her leftover snack?
- When I tell her that I don’t want the entire house “redecorated.” No, I don’t want all of the trash taken out of the trash can. Nope, I don’t need help folding the laundry. Sorry boo, the food in the pantry needs to stay put. Hashtag, all the screaming
- Because she had to eat dinner in her high chair (She eats all of her meals in her high chair.)
- When I explained that I would not be reading 25 books before bedtime
- When we turned out the lights in her room and left because we didn’t give her a 12th hug and kiss goodnight
I could lie and say I always handle the three-year-old tantrums with ease and grace, but that’s just not the case. When an outburst begins, I take a deep breath and try to get my toddler’s attention in a calm and calculated manner. BUT when all else fails, like any other exasperated mom with three little ones, I turn to yelling and threatening punishment. Once I’ve calmed down, I always apologize (for the yelling) and attempt yet another reasonable conversation with my almost-three-year-old about her behavior. I’m not perfect, but I try.
I have a short fuse; this is something I am working to improve — and I am not above rewarding myself for a mothering job well done. Sometimes I even allow myself a participation award, a “well, it could have been worse” glass of wine. After all, toddlers and their grownup counterparts aren’t all that dissimilar, and a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a long way.