I’ve been lucky with my younger child. He’s pretty laid back, super affectionate, and easily soothed. His brother was volcanic from the minute he exited the womb, so my younger child’s personality has been a relief to say the least.
I basically got to skip the terrible twos with this fellow. Even when he turned 3, it was wasn’t too bad. He had a couple of meltdowns in the early months of 3, but nothing too outrageous.
Enter 3 ¾ — something has snapped in him. These past few weeks, his threenager angst has been cranked up about a billion decibels. And OMG, I just want to shake his screeching, indignant little self. He’s got opinions about every single detail about his life, he’s screaming his head off anytime something doesn’t go his way, and he will not give up. He’s relentless.
It’s not just about certain hang-ups he has. It’s about everything. This kid has got his own little shit list going. And seriously? He just needs to CTFD about it all.
Here are some of the items on his list. I know he’s only 3, but none of these things should have as much import as they do to him.
I get it. It’s the sweetest stuff on earth. It’s often bright and colorful, and it’s addicting. But you can’t start asking for it at 6 a.m., and then continue asking for it every hour until I give you one small piece after dinner. I cannot handle all the begging.
2. His Penis
Penises are the ultimate toy, really. Once your boy child discovers his, he will play with it every chance he can get. Yesterday, my son was wearing underwear (a rare occurrence around here), and I thought that meant he wouldn’t play with his penis as frequently as he does when he’s naked. But no, he stuck it through the opening of the underwear and started jumping up and down. “Can you please put your penis away?” I asked. “But it’s just so beautiful, Mommy,” he responded. You can’t make this stuff up.
My son, bless his heart, really likes helping me clean the floor. Of course, that means spraying soap everywhere so that the floor is covered in foam and becomes super slippery. His attempts to clean up the soap are noble, but in the end, I am left with a bigger cleanup job than I had going in. Thanks for the “help,” buddy.
4. How I Cut Up His Nuggets
The other day I didn’t cut his nuggets up into pieces, and all hell broke loose. The next day, I made sure to cut them up, and he threw an even bigger fit. I can’t freaking win.
5. YouTube Toy Videos
First, it was those creepy “Surprise Egg” videos where some chick with ridiculously long fingernails opens up eggs to reveal some amazing toy or candy. But my son is over those now. He’s moved to the big time, where some equally annoying chick with the squeakiest, most condescending voice opens whole packages of toys, and even tells the kids what stores to buy these toys from. Hell to the no.
6. Every Single Thing His Brother Touches
His big brother wants to play marbles and it’s “Give me the marbles.” His big brother wants a cheese sandwich, and it’s “I want his sandwich!” even though the kid doesn’t even like cheese sandwiches. If his big brother has it, he must have it pronto, no questions asked, or he will lie on the floor screeching for the next 45 minutes.
7. The Bread and Cereal Food Group
My second son was supposed to be the good eater of the two. And he was — up until a few weeks ago when he decided he won’t touch anything outside of the bread and cereal food group. Tonight he requested pita chips for dinner. When I informed him that pita chips alone aren’t enough to count as dinner, he replied, “Mommy, pita chips can be dinner in your imagination.” You gotta give him credit for logic there.
8. Cleaning His Nether Regions
My newly potty trained tyke is very fastidious about cleaning up after using the potty. For pees, he must use three squares of toilet paper, followed up by a baby wipe. Why? Don’t ask. As for poops, I’ll be wiping his butt until he goes to college.
9. Whether His Food “Touches”
For those rare times that he’ll eat anything other than pita chips or bagels, God forbid I put two different foods on one plate. And if those two foods should dare to make contact with one another, call the cops! The house is burning down!
Okay, at first, I was like, “What the fuck are these?” They’re tiny as everything, cheap and plastic, and so easily lost. I will admit that they are growing on me. They are super cute, and it’s fun to collect stuff. But if I have to hear my son ask me what each one is called one more time or whine to me that he’s misplaced another one, I’m going to lose my Strawberry Kiss-Melanie Pips-Nutty Butter mind.
Is my child the only one who can’t deal with anything being wet? I’m not even entirely sure what he means here. But sometimes I give him a piece of toast and he’ll tell me it’s “too wet.” He used to like yogurt, but now yogurt is also “too wet.” I mean, yes, it’s wet — it’s yogurt! And yet, he has no trouble soaking himself from head to toe when I ask him to wash his hands. When I proclaim that he’s made the bathroom “too wet,” he looks at me like I have four heads.
My son thinks clothing is some invention made by “the man” to thwart his freedom. He will reluctantly wear it outside of the house or when guests are over, but as soon as he comes home, he angrily peels it off. Today, after coming home, about 20 minutes went by and he hadn’t removed his clothes. Upon realizing this, he said, frantically removing his clothes, “Oh no! I left my clothes on by accident!”
It’s a good thing that he is also one of the most hilarious threenagers I’ve ever met. I’m thinking and hoping this latest phase is just that — a phase. I’m sure it is, to some extent. I also know that asserting one’s point-of-view, no matter how hard it can be on parents, is an important developmental milestone.
Still, I wish it weren’t all happening all at once.
And I wish it weren’t so incessant, so relentless, and so godforsaken loud.