The tyrannical threes

I keep telling myself that “three” was a very hard year for us with Emma, too. I vaguely remember thinking “Wow, the ‘terrible twos’ were NOTHING compared to three.”

So I went on a little scavenger hunt looking for some documentation of the low points of parenting back when Em was a mere three-year old girl. I did a search in my blog for tantrums and I got eight different hits. Hmmm…all of them are tagged with Addison, like this one, or this one, and this one…oh yeah…and THIS one.

So I went back to the old journal, pre-blog days, and still couldn’t find any entries that confirm my suspicions that Em was a three-year old terror, too.

Huh. That Mommy-amnesia is a really powerful thing apparently. Or I just didn’t have time to capture the loveliness of Emma’s temper tantrums?

Seriously though, Addison has become a bit of a little dictator. She wants this food (Alphabet pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, please? No? Then I’ll sit here and not eat anything!), this outfit (Only the purple and blue sundress – nooooo, not that skirt! AAAAAHHH! The skirt is searing the skin off of her body, it is not acceptable!), to be carried (I can’t possibly walk another step. I’ll just stand here in the middle of the sidewalk. Will. Not. Walk. Another. Step.) – and if any of these demands are not met? Eardrum shattering screams. Lots of them.

Yesterday we went to try out a little gymnastics class and had 12 minutes to get back home and across the street to pick up Em from school. By the time we pulled into the driveway, we had about 3 minutes to get over to the school.

I said to her, “Ad, put your shoes on and get out of the car, we have to go get Em.” Reasonable request, right? You would have thought that I had asked her to put on shoes that were two sizes too small and run a mile.

“I don’t waaaaant tooooo! I’ll just sit heeeeeere. YOU go get Emmmmmaaa!” The “here” being shoeless in the middle of the driveway.

So I put her shoes on her, dodging the kicking and stomping, and took her by her hand and started to march her across the street.

And then the screaming commenced. Top of her lungs, stop you in your tracks (because surely the child who is screaming like that is being beaten, kidnapped or run over by a car), shrieking like has never been heard before. And it continued the entire way to Em’s school, while I picked up Em, back across the street and up the path to our house, up the stairs (at this point I had let go of her hand and picked her up) and into her room.

And it did not end for 20 minutes.

Emma sat downstairs with her hands over her ears. “Mama, why is Addie screaming like that?”

“Um, I am not really sure, Em. I have to think it is just a matter of stubborn will right now.”

When it was finally quiet I went upstairs and opened the door.

“Addie. Do you have something to say to me?”
“Yes. I don’t want my door shut, Mama!”
“Ok. But when you scream like that you are going to stay in your room until you settle down. Now do you have something to say to me?”

(She really looked like she was searching for the right thing to say.”
“Um. Yes. I really don’t like it when my door is shut, Mama.”

Grrr…she did finally apologize, but the tantrums seem to be more frequent lately and have frayed my already unraveling nerves. And they are just over the silliest things. But, I figure I might as well document it so I can look back and have a good laugh.

I am going to laugh about this one day, right? Right??

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14 Responses to “The tyrannical threes”


  1. 1 Cara October 28, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Don’t worry, this to shall pass. At least that’s what the experts all say. We are just hitting 2 1/2 here and I hate to think it get worse. Francesco has thrown such fits that I started to cry. Some days are good and some days I just don’t get anything right or to his liking (and it changes on a dime).

  2. 2 Becky October 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Yes, one day, you will look back and laugh! It’s just one of the joys of parenting. We have been having some really sassy girls on our hands too. All I can offer you is to know that this too will pass. Take several deep breaths and remember that someday, your grandchildren will be having the same temper tantrums for their parents! 🙂

    Hope your day is better tomorrow!
    -B

  3. 3 Cara October 28, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Carrie- tag your it! Check out my blog for the details.

  4. 4 golightly October 28, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    In the meantime, Ken and I are laughing for you. Why, you may ask? Because we have the male version of Addie over here right under this very roof. The screaming…what hat did he pull that out of???

    Ken agrees – Addie and Harrison will probably get along just fine!

  5. 5 Elisa October 29, 2008 at 4:11 am

    You will indeed laugh about this one day. In the meantime, I am laughing now! Not viciously or anything – just the been there done that kind of laugh!
    In my book, you did exactly the right thing – you went along with YOUR plans and she pretty much had to do it your way. When you got home – into the room she went where she stayed until it was done.
    The good news – kids who are THAT doggone stubborn are less likely to succumb to peer pressure down the road. So – you’ve got that going for ya! 🙂
    When Melissa was a mere newborn – lo those many years ago – our pediatrician said, “Remember, she came to live with you.” Meaning that while there are some adaptations in your life – the kids fit into your life – not the other way around. At first, with my precious newborn that I beleived NOT capapble of a tantrum EVER (HA! She proved me wrong!), I thought that seemed like some tough love – but he is right. He also meant – if you go out to eat, continue to do so and they will get used to how to behave in restaurants. If you go to church, do so as a family and they will learn what is expected of them – etc.

    Hey – on a tangent – that pediatrician was right there in your neck of the woods! Dr. Thistlewaite. I wonder if he still practices. He was already a grandpa when Melissa was a newborn so he may be retired. AWESOME guy!

  6. 6 msscatter October 29, 2008 at 4:34 am

    These are the days I dread. I keep reading about them and right now I prefer to be in denial that my sweet little 10 month old (tomorrow) will ever throw a tantrum on me.

  7. 7 thelandofka October 29, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Kai was like that, with the wailing, the gnashing of the teeth, the very loud screams. Now Anya is at that stage and she is easier. When she throws tantrums or is naughty she loses her blankies…her lovies. I have learned with her, since she is more wilful, that if I give her an inch she will take a mile. I am on zero tolerance, so she is starting to listen more now. In this battle of wills, I intend to be the all important winner!

    Hugs and sympathies, I know what you are going through. It will get better!

  8. 8 carey October 29, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    oh dear, we have that too. fits of screaming rage because i put her applesauce in the wrong bowl, because she wants oatmeal but then once the oatmeal is made she wants yogurt, because she can’t wear the shoes that she found in the closet that are at least one size too small. and on and on and on!
    i have decided that we never give into the screaming. so we listen to how she can’t eat her applesauce because it is in the wrong for 10-15 minutes then she realizes we aren’t going to do anything about it and she gives up and eats it. she will still do the same thing tomorrow but eventually she will “get it”, right?
    just say yes…. i need you to say yes! 😉

  9. 9 Christina October 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    *nananana* I am plugging my ears…I don’t want to hear it. We are a month away from three and I am seriously afraid. Everyone tells me that three makes two look like a walk in the park – and all I can think is, “is gets worse?!?!?”

    The screaming is going on here; oh my the screaming. And over every little thing. Nadia is her twin in that regard.

    I feel ya sister!

  10. 10 MammaDawg October 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Oh man – I am HEARING you. We never had terrible two’s – not with any of the 3 boys. I always said it was the three’s…

  11. 11 kim October 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Oh man!!! I don’t remember Emma really tantruming a lot…????? I know that was when you guys moved out there, but still…….

  12. 12 arizaphale October 31, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Food. Food is the key. Keep ’em fed. As soon as the blood sugar drops they become unreasonable. Also, Elisa is all over this. You are handling it so well. I remember picking the Baby Angel up under my arm like a football and marching her out to the car screaming like a banshee. *sigh* Good times.

  13. 13 Maya November 3, 2008 at 11:07 am

    So you’re saying it gets worse from the current tantrums we seem to be having at a 1 1/2. Oh dear!

  14. 14 Colleen November 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Gosh… I hope you’re going to laugh about it one day… because that’s what I’m hoping for too. Lately Zoe can be just evil.


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