Why does no one warn you about age three? Everyone knows about the "terrible twos" and you expect to have issues when they hit puberty/teen years, but what about three? Three seems to be the age that no one tells you about (maybe because it's so traumatizing that no one can talk about it afterwards??), but it's deadly. However, I know it's not just me that has a difficult three year old. It seems whenever you bring it up with other moms, the answer is frequently the same - two was not a problem, three is the difficult year! If you have children who are not three yet, consider yourself warned.
So, if you haven't guessed by now, we've been having some behavioural issues lately with Annika. A lot of issues, some days. Some days the tantrums and tears start right after getting out of bed, and continue (with short breaks of sanity in between) right until bed time. Anything (and everything) is cause for a meltdown. This morning she lost it because she couldn't get herself undressed and needed help. Then when I went to help her, she lost it again because she wanted to do it by herself. :P At moments like this, I find myself wanting to lose it as well. I pray for patience every day.
As a parent I find this stage very frustrating. It seems like there's nothing I can do that will help or make a difference. I'm sure Annika finds it very frustrating too, as she's sort of caught in the middle (like the dilemma this morning) - not quite able to do everything she wants to, but still wanting her independence. I try to remember that when I get frustrated with her, but I'll admit it's difficult.
I'm not sure why three is so much worse than two (Annika was actually a really good two year old - I thought we had gotten off easy!), but I have a few ideas for Annika's case. One big difference between two and three is obviously the fact that now she has a little brother (Emmett was born about 4 months before she turned three). I'm sure some of the tantruming is just to get attention, now that my attention is divided. Another big difference is the fact that she no longer naps (she stopped right around the time Emmett was born). She doesn't nap anymore, but she still gets quite tired in the afternoons. If we drive anywhere after lunch time (even if it's just a short drive), she will likely fall asleep. So maybe being over-tired also contributes to her moodiness (although that doesn't really explain why she throws tantrums first thing in the morning, after a good night's sleep). Maybe I should start purposefully taking her for drives after lunch, just to get a little sleep in. Drive around for 10-15 minutes to get her asleep, then park and sit in the car and read until she wakes up. Sound like a good plan, eh? ;)
Anyways, I just needed to vent a little bit. I'm sure that this too will pass. Eventually, probably just in time for the next difficult stage to arrive. If you have (or had) a "thundering three" (a term I heard from a friend) as well, feel free to leave your story in the comments - misery loves company!