Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three year old moments...are tough to handle.

I don't know about you, but I have found 3 year olds are much, much tougher to handle than 2 year olds. With Mairead, she never went through the "terrible-two's", she was a really easy 2 year old. Very pleasant, listened well, and very rarely had a tantrum. I wish I could say the same for when she turned 3. It was like a light switch....actually like a whining switch that rarely turned off. Whining to me is like nails on a chalkboard, and I just can't tolerate it. I think the persistent whining has been the most difficult thing to tackle with Mairead.

Last night was the perfect example of a 3 year old moment, at least in our house!

On Wednesday nights, we do swimming lessons. Mairead has her lesson first, and then Lilah has the parent/child class. Mairead is able to swim around the pool during this class. During the class, Mairead was doing something against the rules. The teacher, Joe, came over to Mairead to tell her what she was doing was wrong, and that she needed to jump off the side of the pool when a parent was near her (which she wasn't doing). The teacher was very kind to her, and spoke to her in a calm voice. As Joe was speaking with her, she looked at him like he was yelling at her. I knew what was about to happen..........All of a sudden, she broke into tears, and I mean TEARS. It was right out of a scene from 'All My Children'. She flew out of the pool, not acknowledging Joe and what he told her, and came right over to me. They were just about 10ft away, so I heard and saw everything. The tears were flowing, and she said she wanted to go home. I tried to tell her that Joe was only trying to keep her safe, but she didn't want to hear it. The cries and whines got louder, it was a big scene at the pool. I was so embarrassed. Everyone was looking at us trying to figure out what happened!

I thought Mairead acted inappropriately,  and encouraged her to go over to Joe and apologize for not following the rules, and causing quite the scene. She refused. I didn't know what to do! Mairead just wanted to leave, and I wouldn't allow her to until she apologized. We tried once, and she wouldn't. By this point, class was over, and another was starting. We were still there. Ugh. I hate times like these. I felt like such a bad parent that couldn't control my daughter, why was she acting like this??? I didn't understand it. Finally after about 20 minutes of crying, and I mean sobbing, she apologized, and we left.

Kevin and I tried to guide her, and explain what happened. We told her that people other than mommy and daddy may tell her things she doesn't want to hear, especially a teacher. It's so difficult because you really don't understand how much they comprehend, though in my opinion, I think she understands quite a lot!

The 3's are definitely tough! I really hope the 4s bring less whining to this household!


  1. My friend, 3 is harder than 2 and so far 4 has been a bit tougher than 3. The reason I believe is because they are trying to figure out how to deal with the emotions they have while also trying to figure out boundaries and independence. Chiara was easy at 2, 3 was not too much fun, and 4 has been increasingly "mouthy". She is a very good kid, smart, funny, caring etc, but she is learning that she can assert herself and she does so. Of course, in turn Mommy must be clear in my boundaries and consistent in my discipline.
    Mayah had a terrible time being 2. Partly because we did not know about the food dye issue until she was about 2. I think it set her off on the wrong foot. She is the tantrum kid...I barely went anywhere when she was 1.5 to almost 3. However, at 3 the switch turned from tantrum to tears. She is very (sometimes overly) sensitive. At first it was so strange having her react with tears instead of screaming-again, it is about dealing with emotions. We have been focusing on that with her so that she can have self control. It has gotten a bit better over the past month, but I am already aware that when the tears stop the mouth may open.
    I say it often that I am glad the Lord made my girls so adorable.......

  2. First off, I think you handled the situation perfectly. Consistency is key!

    I completely agree that three has been harder. Aiden was a perfect two year old, but three was a nightmare. I can't say that four has been any easier - just different. Of course, boys start getting all those "boy hormones" around four, so they end up with a lot of rage which has to come out somehow...tantrums are not pretty. That's probably the huge difference between 3-4 year old boys and girls - the girls get weepy, the boys get angry.
    Nathan has been a bit more challenging at two, but he's acting older than he is and I think he's just copying Aiden.
    And speaking of tantrums, I think they're trying to tell me it's time to get off the computer. :^)

  3. I think you handled it quite well, at least that is what I would have done. And I found 3 to be way worse than 2yrs for sure. Each age has new challenges.


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