October 2, 2009

Nanny 911

My husband and I just learned the myth of the terrible two’s is a red herring designed to distract parents from the reality that three is SO-MUCH-HARDER! At two, my daughter definitely had different opinions at times regarding her plan vs. ours. When those differences happened, we used diversion, distraction and sometimes the “pick-her-up-and-carry-her method”. Most of the time, my daughter was (and is) funny, verbose and filled with imaginative ideas for play and our methods worked.

But recently, my sweet girl turned (seemingly) overnight into a foot stomping, tantrum throwing, “NO!” slinging little monster. What happened?! A few of these incidents have happened in public and really took me by surprise. I won’t recount full stories. Let’s just say, almost all involve crying (LOUDLY), dramatically throwing herself on the floor and refusing to get up and come with me. The best one was when she screamed, “Don’t take me!! Don’t TAKE ME!!!!” at the top of her lungs and everyone thought I was stealing my own kid. Nice.

I looked like the perfect candidate for that show, Nanny 911.

Suddenly, diversion, distraction and the pick-her-up-and-carry-her method weren’t working. Diversion and distraction no longer work because a three year old is a very focused person and no longer responds to, “Oh look – an airplane!!” when she wants something. Pick-her-up-and-carry-her isn’t effective when you’re pushing a stroller loaded with a diaper bag, pump, bottle bag, other bags, heavy carseat (filled with a baby) and you have to pick up a very strong, squirming, screaming three-year old.

Since this first happened, it seems like moms of three year olds have come out of the wood work to tell me how frustrated they are. In line at Starbucks the other day, another mom (with a three year old) and I struck up a conversation. When I commented on how sweet her daughter was, the first words out of her mouth were, "Three is SO MUCH HARDER THAN TWO!" (Emphasis hers) So, this post will be the first in a series of what we are doing to deal with the new challenge of the torrential threes.

Stay posted!


  1. I remember the first time our precious eldest had an on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming-tantrum: in the crystal dept at Marshall Fields. We moved her away from the breakables and then found a bench to sit on and watched her in a sort of "that's not our daughter" way as people walked by! We soon institued "time-outs" which at home were invaluable. But this too, shall pass!

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog, I appreciate your sincere concern and sweet comments concerning my recent miscarriage!
    And I remember the few months before my daughter was turning three that all I could think of was, "EVERYBODY LIED TO ME, it's all about the TERRIBLE THREES!" If it makes you feel better, things mellowed out after a few months for us! :-)

  3. I was shocked when my sweet daughter had out of control moments at 3 too. It was a different than the more manageable 2 year old protests. As a preteen, I've seen those moments return a time or two:)))


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