Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Real

I was typing up this post about something cute that Luke does every night, and then I stopped. Not because I don't want to share the cuteness, but because I just couldn't. Not right now.

Instead I want to tell you that three is hard. For most of his twos, we scoffed at the whole terrible two phase. We didn't see any of that. Not even really after his little brother was born. But then he got close to three, and I started hearing the phrase "three-nager," and I GOT IT. Oh, did I get it. Maybe a little too much, because sometimes I hear about other three year olds. About the cute things they do, of course, never the THREE things they do, and I start to think that maybe my child is flawed. Maybe I'm a bad mother. Maybe I'm spoiling him or being too hard on him or maybe I'm just not cut out to be a parent. All of these things go through my head, and you know, maybe they go through yours.

So, I'm going to be real. My child is love and sweet and light. Some times. But then there are times when my child defies me. When he flat out refuses to do what I ask him. When I have to put him in time out to keep from pushing him out the front door and pretending he's not mine. Once he picked up the word "dammit" and decided to scream it over and over. In the middle of a crowded restaurant. He wouldn't stop, until I carried him out of the restaurant with my hand clapped over his mouth. A walk of shame, in which I imagined everyone looking at Tommy and thinking, "Oh my. They bred AGAIN?" And at these times, I look at Tommy and think about how he's sweet all the time, but someday, he'll be THREE.
Sometimes Luke is too rough with Tommy. Often it's unintentional and just the result of a three year old loving too much, but there are times when it is intentional. Once at the park, he pushed Ivy. He gets shy at first in social settings and will try to mask his shyness by doing something crazy, like headbutting me. He doesn't do this all the time, but there are times when Tommy falls asleep in the car, and Luke will raise his voice to try and wake Tommy.

There is so much that he does RIGHT, but when he does wrong, I blame myself. I never think that he's a normal three year old, I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Maybe you have a three year old like mine, and so, I hope you read this and realize that no one has a perfect child. (Or if everyone does have a perfect child, please don't tell me.) And in a few days, I'll share the cute because it is OH SO CUTE, but for right now? I'm feeling good about admitting that sometimes, the cute is seriously lacking and I'm frantically wondering if there are gypsies in Indiana and whether or not they would like to buy my child.

46 comments:

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry said...

DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT! He's such a normal three year old!

I have always said and will always say "whoever said terrible twos is a total moron. There is no age more difficult than three."

I have the best news ever...you will blink and it will be over and you'll look back and think "I can't believe I survived that shit."

To Think is to Create said...

LOL @ Beth's comment. :)

Jonah will be 3 in 3 months, if we all make it until then without one of us taking the other out. The other day he picked up a river rock (those huge heavy ones) and THREW IT at an 8 yr old girl and it landed on her foot and she cried and he LAUGHED. I'd even say it was a maniacal laugh, but that's just me.

All this to say ME TOO and also? This is my 3rd boy. His brothers were like this too. I think back to when they were 3 and I'm pretty sure I blocked it out, because I have no memory of that time. I'm hoping that Beth is right and this does go fast, but even if it doesn't just feel free to email me the worst things he did each day and I'll email you Jonah's and at least we can commiserate?

Love you.

P.S. The gypsies moved to South Carolina, so no dice there.

Mary Craig said...

I agree. 2 has NOTHING on 3! My oldest is 6 now, and I thought I was just really good at parenting until she turned 3. 3-4 was definitely the hardest time to date for me. My 2nd turned 4 in Sept. and now he is delightful. You are doing nothing wrong-you just have a normal child!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Erin, Id offer a trade but couldn't possibly make anyone take GRAY. (unless they were gypsies yes) so yeah, it's hard. I am hoping hoping 4 is better for you. It's rough for me, but if it's any hope for Tommy, Gray is my only boy that ever has been like this.

Steph

Heather said...

Three is a hard age, they want that independance and for my girls, especially The Chicken, she finally was able to verbalize what she wanted and was ticked off that she didn't get it and would beat her head into the wall so hard that photos were falling off. It was crazy and I wondered where I went wrong.

Her Ped assured me that it wasn't me, three year olds are just crazy.

((hugs))

Molly said...

So, my little brother went through a phase where whenever he dropped something he said "fuckitdamnit" because that's what my parents let slip one time when they broke a dish. heh.

You are most certainly not the only one in this boat! He's totally just three. It's not you. Promise.

Oh and today I got greeted by a two year old with "NO MOLLY GO AWAY MOLLY NO MOLLY NOOOOOO" so yeah, toddlers. SO FUN.

pendy said...

The good news is that four is generally a wonderful age...and even at three, there is the CUTENESS. Sometimes YOU need the timeout, too (although I know that can be hard to arrange and guilt-inducing when you're already away from your kids during the day).

Mommafo said...

I am laughing my butt off right now. I have been through 3 twice, and every day as my toddler nears 2 I ask myself WHY OH WHY did I want to start this all over again?

Honestly, you're not a perfect mom. Nobody is. Nobody was, and nobody ever will be. Every 3 year old will be rotten at some point, (or every point) but no 3 year old is wonderful 100% of the time. And no 3 year old is rotten 100% of the time. (They have to sleep, right?) You're doing the right thing though-- you have to take a step back and laugh about it! Deep breaths and sharing are great tools in dealing with the 3's. I am NOT looking forward to doing it again, TWICE. :)

My beautiful 7 year old and wonderfully creative 5 year old also drive me nuts sometimes, but they are fantastic kids. I must have done something right. :) We survived.

T said...

I hated the 3's. The 2's got nothing on the 3's.

We use the gypsies all the time and a friend of mine uses the "we used to have other children and we traded them in but we could do the same with you". She says it works, the other kids had names and everything.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

This too shall pass. :) Enjoy the times when he is sweetness and light and for all the rest, know this too shall pass.

And he's going to be an AMAZING little man because he has all that goodness and light inside him. He just is learning how to deal with the more difficult emotions. And with and amazing woman like you for a mother, he will find his way for sure.

~Mendie~ said...

It is not your fault, these moments will pass and I'm sure be longer in between. But be sure to remind him of them when he grows up...because he's gonna owe you some drinks for these moments.

But it is not your fault, you are loving him and teach him right from wrong...it will all sink in one day.

tinycandi said...

I agree that three is so much worse than two ever was. I don't know why people talk about the terrible twos...unless it's just to mask the horrid-ness that is the age of three.

I can't wait to hear about the cuteness. :)

--It's Your Movie-- said...

Erin you are SO NOT ALONE.

I've blogged a little about this but I have more to say about it and have been considering posting about something that happened yesterday. Clark is extremely strong willed and I get "the looks" all the time. I am going to email you because I have more to say about this.

Kira said...

I'm on my third boy...and I think he decided that 2 is the new 3! He is, at 2 1/2 going through just what you described. The defiance, the intentional misbehavior, the driving his mother to drink and pull her hair out!
I know I survived this with the other two boys, and I know I'll get through it again with this one, but it isn't easy. At least I have been through it before though and know that it is nothing I am doing...it is a phase, and phases pass.
This is your first kiddo...hang in there and know that this is PERFECTLY normal, and that you are a great mom! He'll get through it, and so will you (albeit with less hair and a few empty bottles of wine!)

Kaycee said...

Isn't it just so true that we end up doing things we think we would NEVER do before we had kids. I have a friend I text with about this all the time, her baby is more than a year younger than mine, and she is always sure she's the only one doing these things wrong. It helps us both to compare notes and realize it happens to everyone. :) And with my daughter almost two - boy does this make me look forward to three. ;-) Though I did daycare for my nephew for a summer when he was three, THAT was fun.

Heather said...

you should know that he is perfectly normal. and that what you did in the restaurant was horrible for you, but from an outside observer was you being the BEST parent - keep it up - you'll both be great!

Emilie said...

I think people who say "Terrible Twos" have their first kid who is 2 and haven't seen 3 yet ;) Seriously, I hate age 3. HATE IT. I can't wait for it to be over.

There is SO much defiance. So much testing. So much rudeness. So much "WHY?" So many demands. He used to be polite and almost everything he says right now is phrased as a command, and there is no patience, so he has a fit if he doesn't get what he wants IMMEDIATELY. And he doesn't respect "No." I think part of this is John, who doesn't like to disappoint Joey. Oh, and there's helplessness when he KNOWS how to do stuff but just doesn't want to.


This morning I was in the shower and John was on his way in as I was on my way out. I'd asked Joey to go get clothes to wear for the day, to take his pajamas off, put them away, and to put his clothes on. He knows how to do all of these things, but he ALWAYS asks for help with taking the pajama shirt off, and putting his clothing shirt on. I always do NOT help him (unless I can see he's really stuck, but he has to make actual effort and persist before I will assist at ALL) but encourage him, tell him he's doing a good job and to keep it up. As I was still in the shower, John just did for him everything he asked for help with, though I called out, "No! Joey you don't need help, you can do it!" As John got in the shower, he said, "Why does he do so much more for you than he does for me?" I replied, "Because I DON'T help him. I just encourage him and explain how to do it, and help ONLY if he's really stuck but actually making an effort." John said, "I don't have the patience for that." I said, "I know. It takes longer to let him do it himself and there's a lot more complaining [on Joey's part] but it DOES get done." I think that gave him something to think about...

Yes, Joey does cute things too. He says cute things. He is sweet and loving and melts my heart. But he drives me INSANE with his refusal to do simple things, or his INSISTENCE on doing things that are not ok. I wear myself out threatening time-outs and counting to three and coming up with "deals" and I get so mad at myself when I lose my patience but it happens, too. *sigh*

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

Three is SO HARD! My son is three too and I feel all the same things as you. When the days are bad I often wonder if I've done something to cause it. But when I'm calm and rational I realize that whoever came up with the term "Terrible Two's" was off base and it should be "Terrible Three's" instead. I've been told by friends that it gets easier at age four. I'm banking on it...otherwise I just might collapse.

Bacardi Mama said...

Three is the worst. I've always said that who ever coined the phrase terrible two, their child didn't live to be three. It is like magic though. They turn four and they are perfectly normal children again. he is just a normal kid and you are just going to have to ride it out. I had to do it four times and now my granddaughter is three.

Corinne said...

Three is SO so hard. Just this morning I asked my husband "are the gypsies buying children today?"
My three year old spent a half an hour screaming and crying because I said he couldn't take a bath at that very moment. Seriously.
So normal, they're testing and figuring things out, boundaries... blah blah blah, but as a mama, it sucks. Big time.
Hugs to you!!!

love said...

he is normal and you are doing things so very right. 3 is hard. being a mom is hard. just the fact that you notice it and care says how very good you're doing.

but, i do get what you're saying. i think we all feel the "i have to be screwing this up" sometimes. i'm glad you wrote about it.

InTheFastLane said...

Well, my very real four and a half year old, stomped off and yelled "And THAT is why I HATE this place!" I believe it was because I told him he couldn't have a cookie before dinner.

Oh so real :)

Corrin said...

And people wonder why we don't have any kids. :-P

My mom always said that 2 was a breeze and 3 was hell.

Heather @ Storming the Castle said...

SO SO SO TRUE. Threes are way harder than 2's, and I'm going to declare that Luke is COMPLETELY NORMAL (because he sounds just like my boys at that age). I was constantly looking for a band of gypsies who would buy the stubborn 3-yr-old, but happily I don't look for them nearly as often now that they're 4 & 5. The battle of wills with the 5 yr old is about to drive me back to looking though...

Tasha Lehman said...

I read somewhere that 2-3 and up to age 4 is hard because it's usually when you are potty training. The child starts to feel like they are losing control and so they act out and try to control everything and everyone. Something like that, anyway. It gets better, I promise. My little guy just turned 5 and we're finally like, thank God, he's going to start acting normal now. He also does the I'm so shy I'm gonna act like a maniac and hit people thing though. Some people's kids. Sheesh. Enjoy the cuteness, God made him that cute so you WON'T sell him. :)

Sharon - Mom Generations said...

It's so funny that I'm reading this TODAY because this is what happened with my little boyfriend, darling, wonderful, cutie-pie, wonder-guy, perfect Grandma's boy Benjamin... who is turning 3 in April:

Audrey brought Ben and Henry (20 months) to my house at around 8:30 am so she could get some work done at home. These 2 guys ALWAYS walk in together, ready to see Pop-up and ask for Frosted Flakes and do Webkinz and NickJr. on my computers... ready to play Gone Fishin' and Hungry Hippos and Connect 4 with Sponge Bob and the game with the monkeys in the tree. They share and laugh and giggle and hug me and kiss me the whole time.

Well, today Henry walked into my kitchen asking for Pop-up. Ben wasn't behind him and Henry said to me, "Where's Baby?" (Henry calls Ben "Baby"!!). Ben was standing in my driveway, arms crossed over his chest, saying to Audrey, "I'm not going in. I want my BS." (Ben calls his brother's DSI a BS) Audrey picked him up and carried him into the house. He ALWAYS gives me the BIGGEST hug and kiss. Not today. It was like another boy showed up. He ran to my family room and sulked on the couch. He kept yelling, "I want my BS NOW." Audrey and I could not reason with him. I told Audrey to leave and that I would be fine. Well, I wasn't. Ben would not eat, drink, listen, play. He sat on my couch and cried. Then, when I was changing Henry, Ben HID. I could not find him. I screamed his name and even frightened the dogs. He would not answer. I can't believe I did this, but I called Audrey and told her to come get him. I DID find him, hiding behind a chair in my living room... and he was furious that I found him. A few minutes later, Audrey came and took him home... made him go to his bedroom... and she said he was still screaming for his BS.

I thought another boy had come to my house this morning. It was not my beautiful little Benjamin. I thought maybe 3 was going to be different. I certainly hope not... but by what I'm reading here, it may be!!!!

Take heart. You are a perfect Mommy. 3 is 3. When 4 comes, it's like a little miracle!!! I just hope I can take my own advice!! xo!!

Hyacynth said...

Before Ethan was born, there were days I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry because I thought I was doing everything wrong. Gabe was so sweet before he turned two and I honestly thought I was ruining him (see almost any of my summer posts; thought people were going to report me to the authorities! Lol)
And then blogging friends and IRL friends graciously shared with me that it's just that toddlers are crazy. Much like you're doing for all of us. So thank you for talking about the bad and the ugly too. Because it helps. A lot.

imadramamama said...

Yeah, I think Jake was about 3 years the first time I wanted to ship him off.

Dave and I always said "Terrible Twos, Traumatic Threes".

He's so normal...and it's slightly comforting for other people to know that three IS hard. For everyone.

You are doing awesome.

Bloggin' Mama said...

I could have written this post myself. We are finally starting to see some improvement in my nearly 4 year old son - middle child. Three has definitely been the hardest so far with him.

But you know what? We keep plugging along and loving him and trying to figure out what "works" for him (and me) and we are seeing more and more of his heart and his true character (which is so amazingly, loving and sweet). It has just taken much more shaping and molding of this one than our first.

So, from someone who has been there (and is hopefully on the way out of "there"), I say - stay the course, be as consistent as humanly possible and things will work out. It definitely isn't easy and there will be days you don't think you can do it, but you will reap the rewards in the end!

Jane, The Suburban Philosopher said...

It's funny to see how many other people have commented on this, but I'll say it again: Three is WAAAAYYY worse than two! What you're going through is so normal [not that that makes you feel any better]...be encouraged that you will survive and God will graciously allow you to completely forget most of the struggles. Do write down the precious moments just in case the gypsies do show up and you need to convince yourself to keep him ;)

Mama B said...

Oh he is so normal! If my almost 3 year could say FUCK YOU DAD! She would have the other night (during our EPIC bedtime fight). Seriously.

She is as cute as pie one minute and the next minute she makes the little girl from poltergeist look like an angel. It's hard, it's frustrating, it's real.

You are not a bad mother, they are growing and testing us. Seeing what they can and can't do and learning right and wrong from us.

Your doing a great job momma, keep it up!

The Houser's said...

Three is hard and I have all girls, no boys to compare it too! The whining, defying, testing, aghhh there were times I threatened to ship her off! Now her sister will turn 3 in July and it is quite possible she may end up being a convict when she gets older! Nothing but the best goals for our girls:) kidding!!

Carrie said...

Um, yeah- you are SO not alone- Z is a REALLY terrible two, so I'm hoping he gets it out of his system by 3, but we'll see. :) And, yeah, I always assume it's my fault...

cutiepiescustomcreations said...

LOL, you should see/hear what its like to have the 3 yo be the 3rd child with 2 older brothers...I feel like I should wear a shirt with an explanation for his behavior on the front sometimes...

I should make my husband read these comments though b/c he is appalled by how "bad" our 3 y/o is.

Big Blue Momma said...

Three is by far the hardest. Testing boundaries, vocab increasing rapidly, it's so much worse than two. I hated 3 with Logan and I dread it with Kaelin.

You are a great mom. Know how I know? You are worrying about whether or not you are a good mom.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I totally get this. Three was ALWAYS harder with my kids than two.

And not to depress you, but I've felt a little like this lately with my six-year-old. I'm like, "Seriously buddy? We're going to repeat all the toddler stuff NOW?!?"

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Three totally is a rough time. Been there done that eleventy-billion times already and still going *pulls hair out* To cope, I do shit like this, and it makes me feel SO much better about it all. That and Amaretto.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

When Jonathan was two and I worried about the "terrible twos" my mom said...(though not to freak me out) "Your brother was awful at three. He was a terror. THe day he turned four it was like someone flipped a light switch. He was an angel."

And so far...three has been a bit rough for us too...more attitude, more mouth, more anger and tantrums. But for the most part he is still my good boy and has more good moments than bad.

Krista said...

I'm with you! My Busy B turned three a few months ago. We live in THREE with just enough cuteness thrown in that I don't hurt myself.

I love that commercial about some new show that says "this is why some species eat their young." or something like that. Somedays, I could see that.

Alysha Gray said...

Wow... the colors in your pictures are just wonderful! Amazing job!

~Alysha (Supermom)

amy f. said...

YES!!! 3 was the WORST age with our son (he is 5 now). I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I had always heard about the terrible twos...but had never heard of a phrase to describe the threes...until you mentioned "three-nager"...love it. Well, no, hated it, actually. Oh my...it was a challenge.

I can't believe how much I can relate to this post BECAUSE when Alex was 3 (almost 4 though) he had picked up on the word, "damn it" as well. Not something we said much, but he grabbed hold of it. Well, he knew he wasn't supposed to say it and hadn't for a while, but it all came out after he had his flu shot, which was THE worst experience ever. I basically had to throw him into the vehicle, lock the doors and let him thrash it out...until he could calm down enough so I could buckle him in. He was screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs, "BAM IT! BAM IT! BAM IT!" That is how he said it....it was awesome, yeah right. It's etched in my memory anyway.

You WILL get through it...I'm sure he is completely normal and that you are doing a great job...the best you know how and the best you can. Alex is 5 now and we still definitely have some issues, but I will take this age over 3 any day!! Thinking of you!!

anymommy said...

I'm just going to second and third and fourth and forty-second these comments. Three was hard. The hardest I've experienced. Four is easier. I swear I spent a year trying to get away from my oldest two when they turned three.

Haley Quarles said...

Erin,

Not only do I think that everything that you've listed here is normal and to be expected....but I can also say I know exactly how you feel!

Jackson is only 2.5 but he is in a phase right now where I cannot take him to the store.

When I do all hell breaks loose. He will scream loudly and obnoxiously as if someone were hurting him if I don't let him grab things off the shelves (and obviously that's not something I'm going to allow).

I made a comment to a friend about this who saw me in the store alone and was like "why isn't J with you" and when I told her...she looked at me like I was the worst parent ever.

And I felt like I was too, at that moment.

I just take things one day at a time.

I hope you know that you are totally not alone...and that you feel better about all this soon. : )

Christy M. said...

Three was the hardest age for us with BJ. Without a doubt. Reading your post made me flashback, and then before I could comment, I did a shot of tequila. Okay, not really. But seriously, two was an amazing dream and then the day he turned three, it was a totally nightmare. Scary.

As everyone has said, it will be over in the blink of an eye, and you'll look back and say, "DAMMIT, that was hard!" Four will be amazing. Five is so much easier. And six? Well, six has been the best year yet.

I love you and miss you.

Kaycee said...

Oh man. Re-reading this now? My daughter is approaching three (months, mere months away) and boy are we in the thick of it already. I had a hard time with two here and there. But I am scared for three. Oh my. The child is so sweet and precious and SO good so much of the time. And when she's not? It's not pretty. Not at all. We rang in 2011 with the fit to end all fits - never seen her so out of control. Please tell me it ends at 3 and a half? 4? Tomorrow? Please?

Sarah Viola said...

Oh man. I'm not even half-way through three yet... I don't know how I'm going to make it to the light-switch birthday.

I heard once that they talk about the Terrible Twos because talking about the FUCK ME Threes is inappropriate. Sigh.

Thanks for making me feel better. Or at least, not alone. xo