There is no concept of time…..
This morning was yesterday
Yesterday was yesterday
That trip to the beach last week was yesterday
That one time you fell in the street and embarrassed yourself 2 years ago, yes, that was also yesterday.
And don’t ever tell them something ahead of time because ‘later, tomorrow, next week’, and even ‘next year’ will all be anticipated within 5 minutes and then every single 5 minutes until it happens.
Be prepared for the constant “are we going yet?” and of course the moment it finishes? Yes, that’s right, it becomes yesterday.
Don’t ever tell your child they are tired
The 3 year old is NEVER tired. Do not be fooled. Even if they are face planted in a pool of their own drool as they slip into the land of nod, do not make the collosal mistake of daring to name it.
The moment you say they are tired you will be met with a level of fury, denial and devastation that will make you want to curl up and die. You will wish so so bad you had kept your smug parental observations to yourself and you will find yourself doing everything in your power to placate them, reassure them and most importantly convince them, that in fact you were so terribly mistaken because of course, there is no way they could possibly be tired. How silly of you.
“I can do it” will cost you time and your sanity
The 3 year olds leisurely pace must be respected and tolerated at all time.
When they say “I can do it” be under no illusion, IT WILL TAKE A MILLION YEARS!
Get comfy my friend and take all of the breaths because you are in for an experience equal to watching paint dry.
Your eyes will twitch, you will fight every urge to just grab that ankle and shove that damn shoe on their foot. Please pay heed.
Resist that urge to help or intervene to speed it up at any cost. Oh no! Because if you do you will unleash a demon spawn who will let out a growl so gutteral and loud you’ll be certain social services will be arriving at your door within minutes. The howl of pure devastation and then, you will have to watch them start ALL OVER AGAIN.
Ha. You thought it took ages to get out of the house before? You wait until they start the “I can do it myself” with shoes and coat.
Independence is a fabulous thing to promote but try not to lose your sanity in the process.
Bum wiping is an e-coli nightmare
They may be toilet trained but the 3 year old is a train wreck when it comes to wiping their bottom. Leading up to preschool I tried with both my kids to get them confident in managing themselves in the bathroom but the art of bum wiping is a challenge too far.
Firstly, maybe it’s just my kids but their stubby little T-Rex arms don’t seem to have the length or capacity for adequate reach to wipe.
Secondly my kids seem to think a bum wipe is a war paint exercise.
My son would pull all the toilet roll like an Andrex puppy and then take bascially half the roll, scrunch it into the world’s tiniest ball and then wipe. I say ‘wipe’ in the loosest use of the word. He would basically kiss his bum hole with that tree of tissue and discard the whole lot in the toilet and proceed to do it again.
Now I’m going through this fun with my daughter. She isn’t one to waste. Oh no, where my son was the waste king, she is the eco warrior. She will take one square, sometimes just the edge of a square, also scrunch it up, only this time its barely visible between her fingers and then wipe. I stand in horror whilst she essentially wipes with her fingertips.
A 3 year old wiping their bum is inherently anxiety producing. I have the constant fear of E Coli poisoning. It isn’t possible with their technique to not literally get shit on their hands and then they touch everything!!! More tissue, the whole roll, their clothes, the walls. Their hair always seems to be in the way when they are mid wipe so they proceed to touch their faces. I can’t even look. If the bathroom and their entire bodies don’t end up with some degree of bodily fluid contact it’s a miracle.
Hair washing (and brushing) sounds like a massacre
Not all kids are like this. I am sure of it.
My daughter is pretty chill considering she has curly hair and it takes forever to do her hair but my son acts like actual dismemberment is occurring whenever his hair is brushed.
In his defence he has long hair at his own request but he would quite rather a ferrall clump of hair than an actual hairbrush. I of course am exaggerating somewhat but don’t get me started on hair washing. The hair itself is not the issue, rather it is any contact with water near the eyes. I’m not even talking shampoo here, just plain tiny droplets of water. He will wriggle and flail like he is drowning at sea at the first trickle of water on his forehead. His response in itself creates far more splashing.
In order to preempt disaster I will provide a face cloth but without fail 100% of the time he decides as I am doing his hair that the best thing to do with the flannel is fully submerge it in the bath and proceed to put the sodden cloth back over his face, pretty much drowning himself.
And bathrooms. Why do they echo so? Whilst your child screams blue murder at the peril of soap suds the room itself creates a chamber, echoing the sounds of torment and despair to such levels the neighbours may as well be sat right there on the toilet basking in your demise.
A day with a 3 year old is a bit like living under a dictatorship.
You must do everything a certain way, at the right time, when commanded to, and you will be punished sorely for not doing so.
The smallest thing can cause an absolute meltdown.
The wrapper from the oat bar that you have pulled down a millimetre too far.
Not being allowed to put their fingers in the plug socket.
Hands being wet.
Being told to not put a pea up their nose, or their banana being too “bananary”.
These can all be the kind of 1st world atrocities that can bring the 3 year old tyrant out.
First comes the look. The look of absolute fury, fire and brimstone.
Then comes the tears. But these are tears you can’t soothe. Any attempts to even go near the 3 year old in the midst of the red mist descending will result in you wishing the ground would swallow you whole.
And then comes the storm. You know when the storm has hit. The whole neighbourhood will know. The deafening shouts, wails, screams and/or cries will be so extreme you will consider running.
And it goes on and on and on, and then suddenly just ends as quick as it started and they will brazenly ask you for a snack.
Tyranny is hungry work.
3 year olds are also the cutest
I better end on a positive before I get cancelled by the mumsnet brigade, but for all the difficulties of having a 3 year old, all those tantrums and meltdowns, they are also at perhaps the most wonderful age.
They are old enough that you can talk to them and they can share with you their thoughts and ideas but they are young enough that they have all the magic wonder and innocence of pure childhood, un-marred by the wider world.
They say the most adorable things, like “mummy I love you so much” and ” mummy, your belly is massive”, “mummy why is your face old?” and at 2am “I’m not tired, can I have an ice lolly?”.
They give the most all encompassing cuddles and despite their growing strive for independence they still really need and want you close.
They can get muddy and you think to yourself, “awww look at them, that’s what life is about”, in the very opposite way you would look at your partner if they walked in caked in mud.
They can get ice cream all over their faces and you’ll wipe them up thinking they look so cute. An adult does that and you gag!
Yeah, those little nightmares are also pretty adorbs.
All images used taken from Pixabay and unsplash free use images