So you are at your kids third birthday party with a stupid smile on your face thinking “I did it! I survived the terrible two’s and lived to tell the stories”.
Your kid is now verbal, active and maybe even potty trained. You’ve got the whole meal routine down to a science and you can finally reason with this mature child of yours.
EXHALE THE BULLSHIT BREATHE IN THE GOOD SHIT
“NO! I am not your baby anymore!”
What? Wait, what just happened?
Welcome to the threeteen’s. It’s a place where you can lose your mind, go grey and live in an absolute state of confusion.
What you thought was terrible at two was child’s play, no pun intended.
At two your kid threw a couple of tantrums in public, peed on the floor and refused to eat all of their food.
Now you are dealing with a child that is all over the place emotionally, physically and mentally.
It’s the stage where they are no longer toddlers but not quite school-aged, they are the infamous “pre-schoolers”. They are like a gang of bandits ready to jump off of a high ledge at any moment so you are constantly on edge. One moment they wanna cuddle and the next they smack you across the face. It’s terrifying!
Their favorite food is now something they despise. The books that you once read to them are now thrown around the house like dog toys. They don’t want you to dress them but don’t quite know how to dress themselves!
It’s a flipping nightmare.
You can’t even gauge their mood because it is in a constant state of change. It’s like dealing with a very hangry person, it isn’t pleasant at all!
So what do you do?
- Find time to yourself. By this I mean you need to find an hour a day where you are not around anything child related. Whether your thing is yoga or chugging a bottle of Pinot Grigio, find the time to do it. Otherwise you will lose your noodles.
- Learn to tune out. I know this sounds harsh but sometimes your threeteen is completely out of control and there is absolutely nothing that YOU can do. Remind yourself that “this too shall pass” and that you are that much closer to your bottle of Pinot, or yoga. I’m obviously not much of a yogi.
- Slow your roll. Be calm because the angrier you get the worse the situation becomes. Your kid is angry because so much is changing so quickly. They have no idea how to react to things so they lash out. Who better to lash out on than you? Just keep reminding yourself that one day they will actually be a real teenager and that is when the real war begins, this is just one of the small battles that you have to win.
- Distract, distract, distract! This can really help to get your mini Hulk back to their sweet calm Bruce Banner selves. Make a funny face, a funny noise or bring out the big guns and turn on the TV! If you’re not into things like allowing your children to watch television than bring out the lego or whatever else it takes to keep your threeteen busy rather than fussy.
- Go outside! There is nothing like some fresh air and a public park to get your kid to forget whatever crazy thing it was that drove them to insanity in the first place.
- Call for backup! In my house I am the meany. So when Nate loses his mind I have to bring Adam into the picture. What better way to get your kid to calm down than to bring their favorite person onto the scene. If that person isn’t home just make a phone call, that usually helps.
- Speak calmly and try to figure out what is wrong. This one is hard but can work as long as you keep your voice and demeanor calm. Look them straight in the eye, as you would an adult, and speak to them as you would to an adult. They want to be treated like big kids and sometimes that’s what it takes to get them out of their little kid tantrum. Sometimes.
- Turn on the tunes. There is nothing that a little dance party can’t cure, right?
- Hit up the kitchen and get out a snack. Just make sure that it is something that they can’t say no to. This will get them chowing down on the snack and backing off of you. It’s like throwing a crazed dog a bone, it keeps them occupied for a bit.
- Accept defeat. Sometimes you can’t win so just give up, stand up and walk away. If you have tried everything you can and they are still in Rambo mode, you need to give them space. I know that they are three but sometimes they need to be alone to realize how silly they are being. Plus that will ensure that you won’t have a complete threeteen meltdown of your own. Just keep reminding yourself that that bottle of Pinot is right around the corner.