10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two



1. At two, they can barely talk. At three, they never shut the hell up.

2. At two, they cry. At three, they throw temper tantrums so epic, you become convinced that they are possessed by the devil.

3. At two, they’re happy to eat anything you present to them. At three, they eat only three foods (usually consisting of a starch and processed cheese).

4. At two, baths are a ten-minute event, the result of which is a clean child. At three, baths take over an hour, and result in a drenched bathroom, sopping wet mommy, and 16 used towels.

5. At two, they wear diapers that can be changed on your watch. At three, they’re potty trained and the world revolves around their bladders and bowels.

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6. At two, they are distracted by a box of Gerber Puffs at the grocery store. At three, they want to dictate your entire food list.

7. At two, they let you dress them, looking innocent and adorable. At three, they insist on picking out their clothes, looking like pint sized versions of mental institution inhabitants.

8. At two, they don’t like to get dirty. At three, they thrive on it.

9. At two, you can do things for them, saving infinite amounts of time. At three, they must do everything by themselves, taking FOR-fucking-EVER.

10. At two, manipulation is the last thing on their minds. At three, they own you. And they know it.

Related post: 20 Reasons My Two Year Old Had a Hard Day


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  1. Reinventing Dad says

    I totally agree and I was forewarned by friends and family long before I had children that three-year olds are much more “challenging” than the so-called “terrible two” year olds. Three-year olds seem to know just enough to push their own agenda and test their parents. Hang in there!

    Reinventing Dad’s last blog post.."That" annoying question

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  2. Karen says

    I hear ya… My daughter will be 3 in September and she is morphing from bright and clever to bitchy and hateful. And my hubby had the nerve to pout about me wanting to purge all the baby stuff. I said what… we’re having more? He’s all… well, yeah I thought we were. He clearly has not spent enough time with our one and only lately…

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    • tatpiercedmum says

      Because 2 and 3 year old girls love daddy! When my husband is home our 2 yr old twin girls are freaking angels. When it’s them against me… I mean me and them…. They’re evil!! My first born (by only 6 minutes) doesn’t speak well… Normally. But today she screamed on the top of her lungs “GIVE ME MY BOOK!”. This is our life now.
      P.S. I’m so glad my hubby doesn’t want anymore either.

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    • May says

      Love the blog posted above. Some great humour and truth to it. I did want to leave a comment for Karen who posted that her daughter has become ” bitchy”. I too have a three-year-old daughter but I would never refer to her as bitchy and can’t understand why some women say this about their OWN daughters… whatever age they may be, joking or not. It makes me cringe. Not only is it wrong in my opinion, it also perpetuates a stereotype that we all strive to get away from. Sad.

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      • Lala says

        I get what both are saying, if I could just play ref, I honestly think there is a HUGE difference in calling a girl a bitch vs describing behavior as bitchy. A bitch I think even towards a stranger who could maybe even fit the term is still cringe worthy. Yet to say something like, “today’s parent meeting was full of bitchiness,” or as are some days in my own home, my 3 year old can truly act bitchy too. It just means 100% in-your-face, non-stop boundary testing, queen bee persona, naughty, haughty & severely argumentative. Its quicker to say bitchy. It would never mean she is a bitch..ahhhh never. It means that afternoon, or the last three days lol she has acted bitchy. If it was my son who has not reached 3 and did the same I would call it asshole-ish. Neither of these terms would I use in earshot of my children and I dont think any mom would. We are here to vent and our kids arent reading this.
        This concept we have ALL heard, “if it was a guy, people would say he is powerful but since she is a powerful woman she is labeled a bitch.” I think is a load of crap and may have been so in the 80s. There are assertive, powerful, precise, successful women who manage their empires without any bitchiness at all and some who just do, and there are men who run theirs well and some like a complete ass. Power & success don’t have to equate to rudeness, bitchiness does.

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        • Sarah says

          Calling a three year old’s behaviour bitchy (even if it’s just her behaviour you are calling that) makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve nannied for years and boys can be that way too, but you wouldn’t say he’s acting “asshole-y” or “like a prick”, because.. man, these kids are THREE. They aren’t 15! I get that sometimes we don’t think through what we say or type so I hope that this is the case for the OP (no judgement, I have foot in mouth moments all the time) but seeing somebody defend it does make me feel queasy.

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          • Vic says

            I say my son is being a prick regularly. During his nap today I actually looked at DH and said “wow…your son is being an asshole today” it happens. ..i promise

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          • mommylovesmy two says

            I just have to say I also think calling three year olds behavior such names is ridiculous. I am a mother and I would have to say I would never no matter how old. My family however doesn’t do theyname calling. My husband and I have never said a bad word to each other.

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          • Samantha says

            LOL Sometimes I look at my husband and say, “Your kid is being a bit of a dick right now.” Especially when he’s just done something to make my other kids annoyed. I would never tell my child this though. But yeah. It happens.

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        • says

          While my 3yo can be everything described, I would not go back to the screaming tantrums she had as she approached and turned 2 if my life depended on it. Those meltdowns were epic, heartbreaking, exhausting and, some days, nonstop. I would be in tears myself by the end of the day and started to think maybe I should be having her evaluated to find out if there was something wrong with her. Now there is (usually) some reasoning with her.

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        • Carly says

          People have different levels of filters. For me it’s think, type/write, say and do. There are things I think that I would never write, things I write that I would never say etc. I have had some awful thoughts about my kids over the years, most of them are immediately regretted but they have still popped into my head. I have a select group of friends that I feel like I can be totally honest with and we often discuss our children’s behaviour. Kids can be bitchy, rude, mean (both boys and girls) and I don’t see a problem describing the BEHAVIOUR as such but I would never, ever call my daughter or son a bitch. I think the distinction between the two is clear.

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          • Teresa says

            This site is entertaining, but what bothers me about all of these posts is the vocabulary of these young parents. Do any of you know the definition of the word ‘obstinate’? The next time you feel the urge to use the “B” word, referring to your 3 year old, try calling her a ‘princess’. She will think it’s the best compliment ever! Think about typical princess like behavior for a minute…they’re obstinate spoiled little (bitches). Face it, if you’re posting it, you will eventually say it out loud, even to your BFF, but you will say it…and it will eventually be overheard by your child…AND repeated, by your child, most likely calling her mommy one :-) . And, in our society of blame, you will say she heard it at daycare, or the school bus, but NEVER from her parents. GROW UP!
            Here’s an interesting fact: children acquire 90% of their vocabulary from their parents and household in which they are raised. If this is the language you want your child to use, keep using those words yourself.

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    • Melissa says

      Don’t think for a second that a second child will be anything like the first. My first was so difficult. My second – easiest kid ever. Never really had a terrible twos or threes. Don’t let a year or two of bad behavior discourage you from giving your child a truely wonderful gift – a sibling. Now that my kids are a little older – watching them play together is one of my greatest joys.

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  3. Cammie says

    My daughter just turned 3 last Friday. She is evil. Terrible 2s are TOTAL bullshit….I agree.
    I follow you on Twitter….saw your tweet about this post.

    Cammie’s last blog post..Not Me Monday

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  4. KathyB! says

    It really is the threes that get you. They just tell you it’s the two’s so you won’t see it coming and try to trade them in for a new model :)

    KathyB!’s last blog post..Forever young

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  5. Jamie says

    Well…that’s reasurring….or not! :) I thought I was entering the difficult stage now. Kind of sucks to know there’s another one around the corner. But, I’m glad to be forewarned!!! My child has decided to put a freakin fit if he doesn’t get his way at all times. And then he starts thrwoing stuff…..he’s only 21 MONTHS OLD. Not even two yet! What form of punishment do you use? Does timeout work? I think he’s a little too young for that so I just ignore him which right now tends to work. But i’m ready for #2…..LOL

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    • GrandyTandy says


      Consider growing pains. When a child is so out of control, try offering to hold them. Then hold them firmly, so they don’t have to be in charge. I wonder if they think no one will ever stop their unwanted and unhappy behavior? Sometimes a little one needs to move his bowels and other times the ‘time out’ means he’s too tired to be in charge any more. Naps are great. Suggested lovingly, most little ones can’t resist. A little understanding and tenderness lets them know how helpless they are to rule the world. You will take charge for now …

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      • Carrie says

        At this age they also don’t have all the words to express what they want or need. Yes they can talk but only have been for 2 yrs or so. And they are also forming their emotions at this age, really far worse then teen yrs. they need guidance on how to deal with emotion the correct way so they can do that’ll after on, or u will forever be “fighting” them.

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      • Kiri says

        Oh yes. I dragged my screaming just-3 out from under the table by her leg tonight and held her so tight while she let the torment of her confiscated toy wash away in the flood of her tears. She was too tired to cope after a full day of trying to be in charge. Sometimes it all gets too much and they just need to be held oh-so-tightly and loved.

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      • Lynne says

        I agree that holding the child in a firm embrace (so that they can’t hurt themselves or you) is a good way to deal with most tantrums. If the child struggles to get free, I calmly say, “I’m going to hold you and keep you safe until you can calm yourself down.” The minute the kid calms down, I open my arms and leave it up to them if they want to get off my lap or not. Often, they will just sit for another minute or two and cuddle.

        After using that techinque for years with several kids, one of my little ones would run to me and say, “Hold me! I’m gonna blow!” Then she would carry on for a minute or two while I held her.

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    • Mariela says

      Personally, I don’t think it ever ends. Each child age has it’s own challenges. Now is the terrible twos and threes, the whatever fours, then come the tweens and teenage years.

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    • Kat says

      We started putting our son in ‘time out’ at around that age, our time outs back then were just some alone time in his room. Then he started getting smarter, getting into stuff, causing mass mayhem, and climbing walls…literally my kid climbed onto shelves that he shouldn’t even have had any ability to reach. (He’s a builder with toys) Then at about 25 months we started putting him in real time outs, which is a chair at the end of our long hallway facing the bedroom door. Usually just until he stops crying/throwing a tantrum, then we ask him if he’s ready to be good, he says yes and he goes back to what he’s supposed to be doing. Not getting the attention he wants makes him correct his behavior usually.

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      • Teri says

        If you talk to him the whole time, then he’s not getting the chance to learn how to self soothe. If you wait until after the time out (and your 1 min per year is perfect), then he will be better able to understand why he’s in time out, because the emotions will have had time to calm down. I’m a mother of 3 grown kids and have one 17 month old grand daughter who has just started playing “what’s in your hand? means run away as fast as you can”, lol.

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    • Jennifer Morrison says

      I think he’s plenty old enough for *some* discipline. I started putting my daughter in time outs at that age. Trust me, it will make it much easier to use time out when he’s older, if he knows about it now. Just put him in a chair, tell him why he’s there and then don’t talk to him. When he finishes, just tell him he’s finished his time, and go about play. Or take away toys, TV when he acts up. May lead to some tantrums, but worth it in the end. And BE CONSISTENT! My daughter is just reaching the Fabulous Fours, I had gotten lucky up until now…NOW, she thinks she owns me. She talks back like a little teenager, I’ve caught her in lies and stealing, and the tantrums….whoa, I’ve been kicked, bit, spit at, yelled at, etc…Hopefully, it won’t be that bad for you, I think it’s a girl thing..lol. Just make sure you start now. I can’t WAIT for five!

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    • says

      My sister has used the baby sign language with her 18 mo old and it really seems to help her be calm that she has a way to communicate with Mommy and doesn’t have to try and get frustrated when she can’t say what she is needing. But yes you can use time outs as a calm down period, a min per age.. Sitting them in an empty playpen for a minute or two if they are just going on tantrums so they know you are not going to cater to screaming. Babies understand muchmore than a lot give them credit for, it amazes me how much my niece can communicate at her age.. I didn’t know about the baby sign language when mine were babies.

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  6. christy says

    Yep, that’s what my relatives and moms with older kids tell me. Since my babe isn’t quite 9 months I can’t speak from experience. YET!

    Love the sunglasses bathtub shot. One for the album, for sure!

    christy’s last blog post..Yep, I want this

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  7. Jen, buried with children says

    I totally agree with you. Hayden was a wonderful 2 year old but the three came and wow three was awful. I was hoping that the babies were going to follow this same pattern but oh no, two is pretty terrible here and they are not even two yet.
    Now four, four is an awesome age. So I guess there is hope.

    Jen, buried with children’s last blog post..When A Bear Attacks

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  8. Ann says

    Oh the joys….you painted an honest and colorful picture. :) Good things to know. ***I just voted for you!!!**** I know what took me so long!?!

    Ann’s last blog post..Big Thanks, A Little Gobbling and a lot of Goodness!

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