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January 7, 2008 / allyo

Three

Ok, it cracks me up that a post that is pure gripe gave me so many comments!

So, caro asked:

Our tree is still up, and we are by far not religious enough to claim any liturgical calendar reason for that. The tree is up and half the needles are down on the living room floor.

The stuff you are saying all the time sounds so terribly familiar. Is there any reprieve at all between Two and Three or does it just keep right on going?

As far as a reprieve goes, Ames & Ilg always talk about the 6-month cycle that the average child’s behavior tends to follow, and they say in general, you get the “good” stage the first 6 months of each age, and the “bad” the second. But they also stress that each child develops at his or her own timetable, and that for any given child and any given year, you may get variations on the cycle or none at all.

We definitely see a marked switch from the positives of each age and the negatives, but we usually go in 1-3 month cycles. Jamie has always developed at a pace that is 3 steps ahead, 1-2 back. For example, he took his first steps at 9 or 10 months, and then was content to go back to cruising for another 30 days or so. Same thing with pushing up, rolling over, word acquisition. He’ll surge ahead and the retrench before fully moving into the next stage. If you apply that to the 6-month cycle theory, then it makes sense for him to have shorter, repeating cycles.

So we started the “good” threes a couple of months early (typical), and are now getting a taste of the “bad.” And just like Ames & Ilg predicted, he’s gone from a independent jokester to a whiny, clingy, little guy who suddenly wants you to carry him everywhere again.

You? I mean me. In one breath he’ll reject me and then whine for me, almost simultaneously.

Whoops. Before I get into my own issues and challenges with three, caro, that’s my long-winded way of saying, you’ll most likely have a very pleasant break in between the terrible twos and the terrifying threes. Enjoy it for what it is, and try not to stress out too much about what might come next. Because not every child has a bad third year, and not every child has a mother that has such a hard time with three.

I ran in to a colleague while Christmas shopping last month and as we were catching up, I asked about her son who is 2 and a half. She got a slightly wild, haunted look in her eye and said, “He’s…difficult right now.” I told her that in all honesty, 2 1/2 was the first time I actually disliked my child. She relaxed, and we commiserated for a few minutes and I could tell it was a relief for her to admit the same.

So, at 2 1/2 I didn’t like Jamie very much, but we got through the day in one piece. Right now, at 3 and 3 months, I want to run away from him. I feel completely incapable of getting through first half hour of the morning without a tantrum.  And the very sad, sad thing? I cause a lot of them. I’m facing off against a 3 year old and of course I am losing. Every. Single. Time. And yet this ornery streak inside of me refuses to back down.

MD intervenes when he’s there and sure, Jamie is the most stubborn and easily set off with me. But seriously folks, I need to pull myself together and start being the grown up or it’s going to be a long, long year.

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