Well at least in our house it is the toddler who rules the world. Emma is fast approaching her 3rd birthday and I think those of you with 3 year olds (or who have survived 3 year olds) will know that 3 is a lot more challenging that 2. Three was when Kiara tested everything I knew (and everything my parents knew) about being a parent. Fortunately having been through this 3 times already, I know that it shall pass.
Let me share a regular afternoon in our world at the moment.
I fetch Emma and Jack at around 16h00. By then I have work done for the day, dinner is cooked, Cameron is at swimming, Kiara is at dancing (on her dance days). So it is me and them.
We get into the car. Emma starts crying/screaming/whining.
I mustn’t buckle her in, I must buckle her in, she wants to sit on Jacks spot, she wants to go back to school, she wants to go home, she doesn’t want to eat dinner but is hungry, she doesn’t want to tell me how her day was. Pick one of these, or two on bad days.
So we head home, Emma crying, Jack and I talking about his day. She changes the reason for her crying during the trip.
The following incident really did happen, it may disturb sensitive readers.
I park the car and call Kiara to help with the groceries. Emma is still crying but refuses to get out of the car so she is standing over the back seat looking at us take groceries out of the boot. Jack carries the cokes inside for me.
I leave her in the car while I unpack but then hear a SCREAM, so I think she has fallen into the boot (we have a bus so its a bit of a drop into the boot.). Nope she is fine, sitting in the boot screaming for no apparent reason.
I can not leave her in the boot, so try to grab her to carry her inside. She wiggles out of my hand and starts running away from me screaming.
*pause* we live in a complex which means my neighbours and I are very close to one another and EVERYONE IS HOME.
Eventually Kiara and I herd her inside and close the door while she writhes around on the floor. We all ignore her until she goes into the kitchen, grabs a full 2l coke zero bottle and starts hitting Jack with it. Chaos erupts as I try to get the coke from her, Jack is crying, she is screaming and throwing whatever she can find around. Eventually Kiara and Jack retreat to higher ground and lock themselves in Kiara’s room.
This obviously sends Emma over the edge (no she wasn’t already there, she was almost there) so there is more crying, some banging on the door and lots of noise. Eventually I get her to calm down, lie on the couch with her tea and watch her show.
Meanwhile Kiara, Jack and I are sitting in a puddle of stress, trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
This is not an isolated incident, this child has stamina, she has determination and she has a set of lungs like NO OTHER!
I know this latest set of tantrums is triggered by the back to school routine. She is tired and over stimulated and I am trying to make the adaption a little easier for her but holy hell you guys this is not heaps of fun. By bedtime we are all exhausted and then generally we have fights at bedtime to end the day.
Just like her sister she responds to very little – we have done star charts, smacking, time outs, distraction, ignoring, shouting like crazy people. It has all been done, it has all failed. Let me tell you, you start to question every single thing you have read about being a parent when your toddler looks you in the eye and says “I will not listen to you”.
I know it is about testing her boundaries, learning what she can and can’t do, trying to make sense of the world around her and I know about the dangers of breaking her spirit. Some days we remain calm and handle it pretty well but there are days we are tired, we are over stimulated and shout too loud, get too angry and it all ends up in a bit of a mess. Isn’t that parenting though? Some days we can Pinterest our lives but other days we just want to press ctrl-alt-del.
We will get through this, I know that but for now our toddler run the worlds! (And the rest of us seek comfort in chocolate).
Are you dealing with a 3 year old? How is it going?
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