When Harper turned two, all of the seasoned parents warned me about the infamous terrible twos. I was prepared for the drama that was associated with this newfound independence of a toddler. I expected the occasional tantrum; the meltdown here and there. As Harper approached the three year old mark, I felt like we were making it out unscathed as for the most part, Harper's terrible two stage was a breeze. Only when Harper turned three, I realized I was wrong; so very wrong.Because no one, NO ONE, warned me about the threenager. If you're not familiar with the term, it's because you don't have one. The threenager is your typical three year old who thinks she's thirteen. And ya'll it's no joke. Some days I'm not sure if we're going to make it out alive. But just in case you don't think it could possibly be that bad, let me give you some insight into what it's like sharing a roof with a threenager these days.
> They suddenly have an opinion on what they wear.
Before Harper turned three she never cared about what she wore. Each day, I made it a point to offer her two choices. A dress or shorts; sandals or tennis shoes; blue hair bow or pink hair bow, etc. Yet, suddenly, I'm the one being offered two choices these days. Case in point: This past winter I bought Harper two pairs of boots, a brown pair and a black pair. Until she turned three she didn't care anything about either one. But suddenly, they've become her favorite shoes ever...in the heatwave of summer. Each morning when she's dressed and I offer her her shoe choices, she promptly corrects me with "Mommy, brown boots or black boots?"
> Speaking of clothes, they suddenly want to pick them out when you shop.
Since Harper was four days old, she's always accompanied me on shopping trips. Like I do with her clothes, I'll pick up a few items and ask her which she likes. She usually points to the one she likes and goes back to fiddling with the seatbelt clasp on her stroller or buggy until I pick up another item for her to choose from. So you can imagine my surprise when we headed to Belk over the weekend and I offered her a few new clothing options to which she repeatedly said "No, I don't like them. I want this one." and ran off to yank the most hideous dress you've ever seen off of it's hanger. I literally hung it up no less than five times as each time I offered her a clothing option, she'd emphatically remind me she didn't like any of them and would yet again run off to point out that ugly animal print dress.
> They suddenly know how to negotiate.
A year or so ago, my husband started a habit of buying Harper a toy every time he accompanied us to Target. It wasn't such a bad idea until suddenly, Harper began to expect it and only asked to go to Target in hopes of getting a new toy. So a few weeks ago, we were having dinner at a restaurant just around the corner from a local Target. As Kevin paid for our check and we got up to leave, Harper told her Dad that she needed to go to Target. When asked why she informed us that she wanted to get a Hiro train. Hearing this, I reminded her she'd already gotten a train that week so we would not be getting Hiro on this visit. Without missing a beat, she responded, "That's okay, Mommy. I don't need a Hiro train. I like any train."
> They suddenly have a large vocabulary and know how to use it.
A couple of weeks ago Harper was having one of her days where she was rather whiny. Without thinking I asked her to chill because she was getting on my nerves. To which her reply was, "Why Mommy? I'm not being annoying." Not long after that event, Harper was with Kevin and again,was whining. When he asked her to stop, she told him she didn't know why because she wasn't being ridiculous.
> They are suddenly independent...until they don't want to be.
Harper has always had an independent streak. After all, the child had to be evicted from my womb and even then she decided she wouldn't make it easy and took a whole twenty eight hours to get her butt in the world. Yet, that independence has increased ten fold since turning three. Suddenly, it's "Harper do it". Harper has to dress herself even if her shoes are on the wrong feet; brush her own hair even though she combs it more like a mohawk; brush her own teeth even though she just sucks off the toothpaste; fix her own drink even though she gets more on the floor than in her cup, put her own self in the car even if that does mean it takes her ten minutes in the pouring rain. But when it comes to saying, "Harper clean up", suddenly that independent streak is out the window in a heartbeat and it's all, "Mommy do it".
> They have no fear.
I'm not sure what happened to my child who always needed me in the same room and couldn't sleep without the light on. Because suddenly she's been replaced with a child who loves to climb the stairs by walking up the outside of them and holding onto the spindles. And don't get me started with the side of her that just knows she can walk in the parking lot without holding my hand. That's definitely a story for another day!
> Their favorite word is NO.
I'm happy to say no is a word that never entered Harper's vocabulary. That is, up until last week when suddenly everything was no. Clean up your toys. No. Pick up your trash. No. Stop jumping on the couch. No. No, No, No.
> Everything. I repeat, EVERYTHING, is a big deal.
It can be as simple as what they're eating for breakfast or as big as "you're going to bed now". If it doesn't match their expectation and they end up disappointed, it's going to be a BIG deal. Just like last week when Harper cried for a solid hour at the top of her lungs as if she was being brutally attacked all because it was getting dark and we couldn't play outside anymore. She'd be great at drama (;
So have I convinced you yet that this stage is horrible? Because if so, I do have some good news. Despite the temper tantrums, stubborn streaks, and know-it-all attitudes, three has been my FAVORITE age by far. Because along with all that negative stuff comes a kid who is smart as a whip; a kid with the biggest heart; a kid that loves hard; a kid that wants the best for everyone she's around; a kid that loves adventure; the kid that quotes Bible verses and says her prayers; and the kid that has me wrapped around her finger.