Living With a Threenager

What’s a threenager? You know the terrible twos, right? Well, a threenager is someone who acts like a teenager, but is only three years old. That basically describes a three-year-old. They have attitude, but no control over their emotions. They are either happy or it’s the end of the world.

Here’s some of my three-year-old’s attitude.

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And she’s already demanding a driver’s license, while talking on a cell phone. Okay, so it’s a radio, not a cell phone.

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These pictures were taken on Sunday, and she had a lot of fun in the indoor playground. But after four hours, it was time to go. The world ended. Scream, cry, and run away. That’s what she did. When I picked her up, she kicked, struggled, and tried to get away. She did not want to leave at all. She still say she wants to go, and she wants to go now.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed posted a list of 23 Things All Parents Of Threenagers Understand. Let’s go through them and see how my daughter’s doing.

1. They’ve suddenly got OPINIONS…lots of them.

This is true. It’s mostly her telling us she doesn’t like something, though sometimes telling us what she likes. She knows what she likes, that’s for sure.

2. All hell breaks loose if you serve their food in a slightly different way.

Not so much, really. She’s actually pretty flexible with a lot of these things, but she often requests a certain number of breadsticks. They come in bags of six, and she says she wants three. I give her one. She gets upset. But you see, she usually eats parts of the three, takes the chocolate chips, and leaves chunks of bread from all three sticks.

3. Handling disappointment isn’t their thing.

Disappointment is too mild of a feeling. She doesn’t get disappointed. She goes ballistic.

4. Not even Jack Bauer could get them to tell you what happened at preschool.

This we don’t have much of a problem with. She offers the information without us asking. Just the other day, it was raining, so they couldn’t use the pool outside. She told me so. And she told me that she was playing with her friends, including their names.

5. “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Mama?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Dada?” “Why?”

She asks us why, definitely. She’s in that phase, but it isn’t so bad. I tell her why, and much of the time she takes the answer and doesn’t bombard me with “Why?”

6. They’ve probably wiped off one of your kisses.

Yup. She does that.

7. They often lose toys that they MUST. HAVE. RIGHT. NOW.

Not just toys. Clothes, too. Recently, we had to wash one of her favourite dresses, and she wanted to wear it as it was drying. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She needed to wear it now.

8. They’ve started to say sassy things like, “Are you kidding me?”

Not really. At least not in English.

9. They’re too small to walk at a decent pace, but too big to be carried.

Yes! She tends to take a long time to walk anywhere, and when she gets tired, she wants to be carried. She’s 15.5 kg now, and while it’s fine for a little while, she starts to feel too heavy.

10. They have no filter.

She says what she wants. If she gets punished, she tells everyone she got punished. She also walks up to complete strangers and introduces herself and my wife and I. She often tells us to be quiet, too.

11. They’re either recently potty trained or are potty training, which is awesome for you! (sarcasm)

Sigh. Just as I was starting this section, she took her diaper off and handed it to me. It was filled with pee. We have a deal with her. She stops peeing in her diaper or training pants, she can go to a swimming pool, waterslides, and Canada. She wants to go to them all very much. She knows how to use the toilet, she knows when to use the toilet, but she just gets lazy.

12. This little phrase can trigger a tantrum/meltdown: “It’s time to go.”

Yup. Happened on Sunday. It was a major meltdown. It happens every time we’re at a playground, too.

13. Bedtime is drama, and they’ll do anything to avoid it.

If we force her to go to bed, she won’t stay. She will only go to bed on her own terms, which is only when she is sleepy. She usually falls asleep around 9 or 10 pm, but any earlier, and she won’t do it.

14. Once bedtime starts, it is — how should we put this — a process.

The process has changed many times over her short life. When she was still using a crib, she would only fall asleep if she was holding our hand. Now, she will only go to sleep if she’s sleepy, and that’s the only time she’ll brush her teeth, as well. At least she knows how to do that now. Any deviation from this makes it impossible to get her to sleep.

15. Getting a threenager out the door takes forever.

Actually, we don’t have this problem. She likes going out, and she’s the first to the door with her shoes on.

Short intermission.

Back to number 7. She wants to blow bubbles outside right now. It’s raining. She’s upset that it’s raining, but still demands to go out to blow bubbles.

End intermission.

16. Despite their epic slowness, they’re also epically impatient.

Absolutely. It takes forever to get her to do many things, but then when she wants something, she wants it now. She wants to go to Canada right now, actually. Every day, she demands to go to Canada.

17. They will say, “I’m tired!” when you ask them to do anything.

Not really. She’ll do things if we ask her to do them, but when she doesn’t want to do it, she just flat out refuses. “No.” She only uses the “I’m tired!” excuse when she doesn’t want to walk.

18. They’re guaranteed to frustrate you when eating at a restaurant.

Worst place for us to go! I love eating food in restaurants, but when we have our daughter there, she usually makes a mess. Last time we went with her, she poured a full cup of orange juice over her clothes. And she had to go home like that. Sticky. Ugh. And she’ll often ask for something from the menu, then refuse to eat half of it, wanting whatever we have.

19. They’re maddeningly stubborn and insist, “I do it myself!”

Absolutely. This is what she wants to do by herself now: put on her shoes, put on her clothes, dry herself after a bath/shower, use the toilet, wash her hands, put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and so on. The toothpaste thing would turn into a disaster. She doesn’t get to do that.

20. That is, when they’re not begging you to do it for them.

She often comes to me to get me to do her puzzles for her, as well as draw something instead of her. Sometimes, she hands me her spoon or fork and wants me to feed her. I guess she’s still a baby at times.

21. They’re scared of a lot of things.

She’s scared of bugs (sometimes) and heights (if she can’t hold on to me). Not much does scare her.

22. They have very specific ideas on how they want to look.

She likes to choose her clothes, but she often chooses clothes that are too hot for summer. She also likes to have her hair done in a certain way. It’s either Anna, Elsa, Ika Musume (it’s an anime, English title is Squid Girl), or Precure (another anime, Pretty Cure).

23. They’ve become firmly anti-nap.

She rarely has a nap now. When she falls asleep at 5pm, she sleeps all night. She doesn’t wake up from that nap. And just as I was typing this, she fell asleep. It’s almost 6pm. I’ll see if I can get her to wake up later.

I’d like to add one more to this list.

24. The only way to get them to do anything is through bribery.

Want her to sit down on the bus? Candy. Want her to sit down in her stroller to be a counterweight for all the shopping we did? Toy. Want her to use the toilet? Pool, waterslides, and Canada. No matter what we try, we can’t get her to cooperate unless we bribe her.

Anyone with kids have similar experiences?

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9 thoughts on “Living With a Threenager”

  1. Reblogged this on Foreign Dad in Japan and commented:

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I thought I’d give you a little update on our 3-year-old. Tomoe is doing well, and she’s got quite the strong, independent personality. She’s a bit bossy with other kids, a bit selfish, but when we ask her to, she will play well. But she still loves her hugs and kisses. But since she’s 3, she’s in that “threenager” stage. Here is what it’s like to live with a threenager.

    1. I get that a lot, too. And I tell her that she’s done it before, like put on her shoes. She does it all the time, but occasionally tells me she can’t do it.

  2. Our threenager just turned 4. Still has the attitude. We tell it it’s time to go to ___ and he throws a fit and tells he doesn’t want to go but once he’s there he has a blast.

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