After the terrible twos there is a little-talked-about phase known as the threenager. This is the glorious stage when irrational emotions meet a fine-tuned vocabulary. This phase can sneak up on parents quick, so here are 10 signs you too may be living with a threenager.
1. You Are Embarrassed By Questionable Fashion Choices
Gone are the days when your child would let you dress them in cute, matching, well-fitting attire. Now, your child thinks she is Rachel Zoe and styles herself in the latest toddler fashions and prints. But because she’s not Rachel Zoe, she wears all the styles and all the prints, all at the same time and ends up looking like Ace Ventura 100 percent of the time.
2. You Long For Captivity
You would trade your favorite pair of shoes and your entire stash of hidden chocolate if you could just go back to the days when she slept in a crib and couldn’t get out. A threenager will use any excuse to get out of bed. A bad dream, a good dream, a sudden insatiable thirst, a sudden insatiable need to tell you they love you. Anything.
3. You Are Always Late
But, you know this. So you plan to leave a full hour before you actually need to be anywhere because your threenager wants to do all the things himself. How dare you try to help him? Nevermind that he doesn’t know how to put on his own coat and he misses his sleeve at least a half a dozen times. Do not help. He is going to do it himself, and even slower than you ever imagined possible.
4. You Feel Like You Are Bargaining With The Devil
Threenagers are immune to bribery, but you still try. “Honey, if you just stay in the cart, I promise there will be fruit snacks for you in aisle 7,” you plead. The expert threenager will do everything in their power to get the fruit snacks but still cause ultimate destruction. So they will stay in the cart, but they will touch everything, including their siblings, and every box, bag and banana they pass. They will loudly object to your pleas for mercy until they are holding both the fruit snacks and your phone.
5. You Question Whether Your Voice Can Actually Be Heard
“Can you hear me? Please acknowledge what I’m saying. Are words coming out of my mouth? Look at me. Am I saying this out loud? Bueller? Anyone?!?”
But, gosh darn it if that same listening-impaired child doesn’t come running the second they hear the refrigerator door open.
6. You Are Always Holding Your Breath
When my first daughter turned three, I felt like I was always holding my breath, watching, waiting, anticipating an irrational eruption. At any given moment and without warning she could throw one of her outrageous temper tantrums or epic meltdowns. She had a knack for going absolutely bananas at the drop of a hat. And I mean that literally. One time she dropped her hat in Target, and the world ended.
7. You Have Lost Control Of Your Car Stereo
You have no idea what pop radio even is, or what real-life teenagers are listening to these days. But you can belt out every word of the “Moana” soundtrack because your threenager insists you play it over and over and over in your car. You might even catch yourself really getting into it.
8. You Make Snacks, Not Meals
Threenagers eat. They must, right? I mean how else do they have all that energy? But, I have not seen mine eat an actual meal at an actual table in over a year. She hates everything I give her, but is starving for snacks 100 percent of the time.
9. You Feel Like You Live With Your Boss
Oh, and p.s., that boss hates you. “I need milk! Don’t look at me. MOM, look at me! Stop laughing at me. Why didn’t you laugh? Sit down. Stand up! Dance on your head. Mom, meatloaf now!” The demands are endless and unpredictable.
10. You Want To Freeze Time
As wild and crazy as threenagers can be, they are also so squishy and loveable. And as much as you want them to be sane and rational, you can’t help but wish they would need you this much forever.