*Clue, it’s hard!
One of the many parenting cliches bleated at you before you have children, along with “babies should be sleeping through the night by 6 months”, and “sleep when your baby sleeps” (yeah, right!) , is how difficult the ‘terrible twos’ are, and how you must expect a barrage of tantrums and generally testing toddler behaviour. Whilst is undoubtedly true for most of us at some point, right now I want to hunt down these parenting ‘experts’, poke them in the eye and scream “Forget two, why the chuff didn’t anyone warn me about THREE?!”
Freddie turned three in February. All was good, until the last few months, when he appears to have morphed into a weird blonde hybrid of Kevin The Teenager and a mini Pinochet, all shouting, demanding, dictating, stamping feet and rudeness. There has been no big change in our lives, no drama to explain this transformation, although 6 weeks of us being together 24/7 due to preschool holidays was starting to send us all crackers (I kept seeing fb statuses by people saying how much they didn’t want the school holidays to end, which made me feel guilty that I, in fact, couldn’t WAIT for preschool to start again). Out and about he is generally really well behaved and great fun- we can go anywhere, both children will sit in a restaurant for a good couple of hours no problem, and I can take them on public transport/to museums by myself without worrying that they are going to kill themselves/someone else/have a complete meltdown. He appears perfectly happy, we can’t see anything particular apart from tiredness that triggers these outbursts (screw you, 5.30am wake ups). I do still see my loving, sweet, cuddly little chap in there, plus I ADORE spending time with him, especially 1-2-1. It’s just at home that we are having a tough time.
As someone who is shit-hot on good manners and behaviour (although I do try to pick my battles), I find it so hard, not to mention baffling, when my usually sweet little boy suddenly screams at me “GET IT, NOW, MUMMY!!!” or “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!!”. Or shouts at his swimming teacher (who he usually loves), “WHAT?!” in a stroppy, pouty way. Or screams and shouts at his sister, which sends her into a Tasmanian Devil biting rage (although that one’s for another post!). It immediately makes my bloody boil, but at the moment no amount of stern words or time out on the front door mat (the worst punishment apparently, as “it’s all scratchy, mummy” *wail*) is having much effect. I can give the look, which is starting to be recognised as a ‘Mum-means-business-Paddington-Bear-stare’, but whether or not this first warning is headed is really hit-and-miss. We’ve established that getting shouty (although inevitable from me at times I’m afraid), just ends up with all of us shouting at each other, and giving my long-suffering neighbour, Linda, a headache whilst she’s trying to read a book and enjoy a glass of wine in the late afternoon sun. I’m this close to posting the poor woman some ear plugs and a one-way ticket to Barbados through her door, I feel that bad.
I don’t remember (and nor does my Mum), me or my brothers being so defiant. I am no pushover, and rightly can’t let certain things go. I hate it when parents say “oh don’t do/say that darling” in a sing-song voice, whilst their kid goes mental or is exceptionally rude. BUT should I just ignore this bad behaviour at the moment and praise the good? Carry on telling off and being consistent, and hoping it’s just a phase? Freds is so tall for his age, and having been an early talker, I wonder if we expect too much from him sometimes. Dressed in clothes for 5 year olds, I often forget that he is only 3 1/2, still so young in so many ways.
All of this begs the question, where do we go from here? Is this just a phase? Is age 4 better? (pray to god it is!). Any advice would be very much appreciated!
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