I’ve read a lot of blog posts recently about 3 year olds. Perhaps they’ve been there all along and I’m just noticing them because I’m now living with a 3 year old. But it seems like there’s this new realization that 3 is, in fact, much worse than 2. You know that whole “Terrible 2s” thing? Well, it’s a lie. No, maybe not a lie, because in some ways 2 is terrible. But 3 is much worse. And no one ever tells you about it so it’s even THAT much worse because it’s all, “Hey, you thought things were going to look up? SURPRISE! You’re just getting started.”
WHY do people not tell you this? Maybe because those bitches are hateful. I don’t know. But I’m telling you: It is worse. And you will look back longingly for year 2, when those tantrums still bordered on cute, because 3 year old attitude is anything but.
Anyway. Those blogs covered the 3 year old attitude pretty well. But what was still utterly shocking to me was the crying. Not the tantrum freak out crying. But the total sadness meltdown crying. Maybe this is a girl 3 year old thing but the hysterical sobbing fits are just, well, frightening. Remember the pregnancy hormones? The crying over soup commercials? The inability to watch the news because it was just “too tragic!”? Well, 3 is like those hormones were transferred into a baby, festered and multiplied for 3 years, and then came exploding out into a sea of salty tears. And usually also snot.
Let me give you an example. Maybe your 3 year old is having a bad day. Maybe she has cried over the cheese hashbrowns (which she requested for breakfast) having cheese on them. And maybe she has cried about having to nap, because she’s not tired. And then maybe she has cried upon waking up from said nap because she’s “still tired!!!”. Maybe your husband has also developed holes in every freaking pair of underwear he owns and maybe you are out of groceries and maybe you don’t have a Target and maybe you know that one thing that ALWAYS makes your 3 year old happy is those stupid grocery carts shaped like cars so maybe, just maybe, you decide to go against all of your EF notions and “damn the man!” sensibilities and do your grocery shopping at Walmart. Then maybe you get there and Walmart is swamped (like when isn’t it?) and maybe there are none of those car carts left. So maybe your 3 year old falls all puddle like on the dirty ass floor of Walmart sobbing and yells, “IT IS ALLLLLLLLLLL MY FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Then maybe everyone in Walmart assumes you’re obviously verbally abusive to said 3 year old and maybe you’re off to an awesome shopping trip at Hell on Earth.
It is pure insanity, people. You trudge through every day, walking on eggshells, because you have no idea what will send your sweet child into hysterics. It could be the weather. It could be dirt on her shoes. It could be the same thing that made her erupt with smiles just yesterday. Making it to the end of the day with minimal tears is a triumph. Because you know your child is just one step away from dragging a fifth of gin into her room and listening to Dashboard Confessional on repeat.