The New Two

12.18.09: The terrible threes hit home

Three is the new two_Charlie screaming.jpg

I just got the greatest gift in the mail from my friend Katie. My Quotable Kid: A Parents' Journal of Unforgettable Quotes.

I’ve already written my first quote:

“I GET TO BE THE BOSS OF THE HOUSE WHEN I’M 3!!!!”—Charlie, age 3, stomping his foot and demanding a cereal bar for dinner

And my second:

“YES, YOU WILL GET THE CANDY JAR DOWN FOR ME!!!!”—Charlie, age 3, stomping his foot and demanding that I give him candy for breakfast

And my third:

“YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT BECAUSE I’M 3!!!!”—Charlie, age 3, writhing around on the floor, screaming and kicking as I try to drag him to the Time Out chair

Scratch everything I wrote two weeks ago. Charlie is not adjusting well to having a new baby in the house. Or rather, he loves the baby, but he’s taking his aggression out on me. He’s acting up in a big way, doing things he knows he’s not supposed to do, then looking at me over his shoulder in a “Whadda YOU gonna do about it?” kind of way. Multiply my quotes by 100, throw in some hitting, kicking, crying and flailing around, and you’ve got a day in the life with 3-year-old Charlie.

I am seriously considering military school (they take 3-year-olds, right?). It’s either that, or a “Boy for Sale” sign out on our front lawn.

Maybe it’s because Charlie’s been so sick. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold out and we’re cooped up in the house with a newborn. Or maybe it’s because three really is the new two. I met a mother at Charlie’s preschool holiday show who’s going through the exact same thing. She literally took the words right out of my mouth when she described the power struggles going on in her home. Even though I’d just met her, I wanted to hug her. Because it’s so nice to know that while we’re alone in our house, locked in our own battle of the wills, we’re not really alone.

I’ve been through this before. And we got through it. Our defiant 3-year-old Julia has grown into a sweet, responsible, well-behaved 5-year-old. She has her moments, sure, (who doesn't?) but they’re few and far between. I know we’ll get there with Charlie, too. This too shall pass, right? (Right?!)

In the meantime, Jack seems to be thriving on all the chaos. Just when I was getting ready to check myself into the loony bin (or better yet, a spa), Jack started smiling. His entire face lights up in these radiant, beaming, beatific smiles, with a soft coo and a happy little gurgle thrown in for good measure. It melts my heart. And reminds me of another boy I know.

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she blogs about her third pregnancy and new baby.

Next Week: Baby's First Christmas