Just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, you might just wake up one day in unfamiliar territory yet again. Just when you were thinking that the infamous “terrible twos” weren’t actually so bad – three hits and suddenly you’ve got more emotional drama on your hands than the local junior high school.
It’s important that you are aware of what’s in store. Any notion you had of raising the perfect child will be swept away along with your sanity. Threenages have multiple personalities that can emerge for periods of time lasting between ten minutes to several days or weeks. Stay calm. This too will pass. Here’s what to watch for…
Toddler Mood Swings – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
1. The Angel: “I love you mommy!” These are the times they look up at you with those sweet little doe eyes, all of your memories of defiant toddler behavior evaporating from your mind. How could this sweet little being be anything other than perfect? Just look at them…! Awwww….
2. The Demon-Possessed: Have you ever tried to put a threenager into a car seat against their will? Or insisted that it was indeed their bedtime and they could no longer continue to ignore you while they played Lego? The scene that follows is similar to something out of the exorcist: thrashing, kicking, arched-back, blood-curdling scream. Oh it’s scary stuff alright! It’s what nightmares are made of.
3. The Pre-Pre-Teen: Oh the attitude with a capital A! You ask them to get dressed and they respond as if you are ruining their entire life. How dare you ask them to clean up their toys! What are you? A proponent of child labor? Eat their dinner? No way! They’d rather starve! Every move you make is the bane of their very existence. They are obviously old enough to make their own life decisions.
4. The Baby: Then there are the times reminiscent of years past. The uncontrollable sob, the sad little tears rolling down their chubby cheeks, the completely helpless look in their pleading eyes that makes you just want to wrap them up in your arms and hug the hurt away.
5. The Tazmanian Devil: Remember the scene from the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show where the Tazmanian Devil whips around the house at lightening speed, eating everything in sight and leaving a trail of mutilated scraps and overall disaster in his wake? Yeah…like that.
6. The Drunk: Gone are the days of your little one drifting into a sweet slumber when you put them down for a nap. Instead they fight sleep at every hour interval until they are so overtired they can’t help but stumble around the house, bumping into walls, and crying about the laments of toddlerhood. Don’t try to reason with them. Wrestle them into their pjs and put them back to bed.
7. The Victim: Some days being three is just so hard. A long day of playing with toys, emptying out your cupboards, and saving imaginary people from burning houses is enough to make anyone have sympathy. “I’ve had a hard day mom.” Yup buddy, you sure have.
If you encounter a threenager in any of the following stages, keep in mind that each personality type that emerges is often fleeting. Don’t give in. Each personality exists to meet a need. Do they need a long car ride to trick them into sleep? When was the last time they ate? Has the transition from home to preschool been especially challenging? Find the source of their melodrama and you can usually work out a solution.
And yet, there will be times that no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to quell the beast. Do yourself a favor and cut your losses. Order in, pop that bottle of wine, and remind yourself that you’re fighting the good fight. You’ve got this mamma.
The Good Enuf Mommy
If you liked this post please click to share with your friends on Facebook!