3 years old is very hard for me... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My little guy is not quite yet 3, but definately getting there. Somedays I just plain feel as if I don't even like him anymore. It helps to remind myself that my other son drove me crazy at 3 too. So many things are getting to me. I wish I could get a better grip on this stage. I think I'm mostly acting okay toward him, but geesh -- I wanna crawl out of my own skin sometimes.

For one thing, everything he says is suddenly at top volume. It is *so* grating on my nerves. And he can't stand it if anyone else is trying to talk to me. He shouts right through his older brother trying to tell me things. And it goes on constantly -- jabber, jabber, jabber... How the heck do I teach a toddler not to interupt?

Tantrums. Constant tantrums. It doesn't ever matter how much foresight I use. His brother walking 3 steps in front of him on the way to the park will set him off. Every little thing.

Afternoon naps are phasing out -- but he is often passing out suddenly at dinnertime, and then waking up an hour later and bouncing off the walls until midnight. I'll lay in bed squeezing my eyes shut and he does summersaults over my body trying to get settled in.

When he doesn't nap -- he is a grouchy bear by dinnertime and from then until bedtime.

And forget about him sharing any of his toys with anyone -- ever! This is a constant struggle.

And the hardest part is that he only wants Mommy -- 24/7. DH is so willing to take over when he comes home, and ds screams and clings to me. I can't do anything without a 37 pound child climbing around on my, pulling at my shirt, fussing to nurse. Argh. This is awful, but for awhile I was giving him a marshmellow everytime he asked to nurse! I was so fed up, that I was actually weaning him onto marshmellows!!!!

Anyway, this has mostly turned into a long vent. But I'm all ears if anyone has words of wisdom for managing the constant demands, tantrums, and extremely high volume of my life these days!
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#2 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 06:11 PM
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I hear you mamaduck! I remember the worst was when we were in the grocery store and my dd lost it. She pulled down the display of bananas and when I picked her up and told her we were leaving she said she was going to pee on me and then did! So I sat there, pee soaked, and holding a screaming, biting, kicking 3 yr old and just kept saying " I love you, I love you, I love you...' while passersby kept saying 'SOMEONE needs a good spanking.' Sheesh. we survived lol!
Hang in there. Just remind yourself how much love you have for him. They are trying so hard at that stage to figure the world out, kwim? I do remember I ended up never taking her out, except to the park, but never shopping or anything like that. And I always tried to have another adult with in case she lost it at the park or while walking. Someone to just support ME and letting me know I was doing a good job and it was fine that I didn't want to spank, kwim? I have many fond memories of sitting on the grass holding her, or standing next to her while she clung to various buildings railings, water pipes, etc and just telling her I loved her.
Sending you s and
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#3 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 06:32 PM
 
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I can relate also. The screaming is sooo annoying. I said to my mom today that Julia even wakes up in a bad mood! My mom said she's like her father that way...I agree! Everything is hard...naps, eating, putting toys away. I try to let her make some of her own decisions like do you want lunch or nap first? She'll agree to nap and then cry for food...or she will want lunch and then not eat! ARRRGH! I can't take the nursing, either. I thought at 3 she would hardly ask but I swear she asks all day. I love cuddling with her at night cause we co-sleep but it wears me out cause she wants to nurse all night and flick my breasts! We'll get through this somehow!:
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#4 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 09:26 PM
 
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread
I am feeling like such a bad mommy today because my 3 year old son is just driving me crazy - I love him to death but I feel so bad when sometimes I just don't like him
I know a lot of it is the age/stage he is at and like all things this too shall pass - but sometimes I feel so conflicted. I try so hard to be calm and gentle and then I just lose it and I am short with him and mean
I know in my situation my son acts out when he needs me and his baby sister needs me too - His needs usually take the backseat because he's older and 'usually' can be more patient and he also understands more than a 7 month old baby - but I tell ya, today I just about lost my mind when awoke from his nap screaming and woke his baby sister and then continued to be hysterical for another 30 minutes for a completely unknown reason? (sigh)

Good luck Mama's, I comiserate with you all!
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#5 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 10:23 PM
 
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OMG. Have they all lost their freaking minds ? I feel better knowing its not just mine. Holy crow. He's got a new sister and all, but this moaning and whining is really driving me up a wall. ANd he just lies around, going "mommmmmeeeeee.....i neeeeeeeed youuuuuu". "Honey you need what ?" "I donnnnnnn knowwwwwwwwww".

Can they be bored already ? Yikes. RainCityMom, a friend of mine gave me a really good idea. Every now and then, when they are both needing me, I throw ds an emotional bone by saying to my baby "Reilly, I know you really need me right now, but Kieran needs me too, and its his turn for me to take care of him. I will get to you as soon as I can". I let her cry a bit, even if she is hysterical, and focus on him. Then I will ask him if it is okay if sister gets her turn. Sometimes he will even say "Reillys crying for mommy now". I think it is good for him to hear that sometimes he can come first and it doesn't have to be a major catastophe to get my atteniton.

Anyway, hang in there. I stay outside as much as possible just because I don't have to clean the mess. We live outside. My poor 4 month dd is having to learn to nap everywhere but her bed, the poor thing. Its making her a good sleeper tho ROFL.

((hugs))) to you all
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#6 of 39 Old 05-30-2003, 11:19 PM
 
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You know, I do not know if it was here or not, but somewhere some one told me once after discussing the *terrible twos* and how they were not in an AP child but the person said it is the 3's that will kill ya....
I wish I knew who said this b/c they had great advice....lol...darn mammamush brains...

Just want to say I am right there with you all and my ds wants nothing to do with dh and it is all me 24/7 too Mammaduck. Some days I feel really burnt out after all the giving I have done for the past 3 years I never thought I would have to continue such huge amounts of *time* at this age...kwim?
Some thing have definatley gotten easier but somethings I really ahve to use mindful parenting with and make sure to make extra time for him to be able to handle things on his own, but of course with me right beside him...lol..

SO like the rest of you just hoping this too shall soon pass and we will be 4 before you know it and things will come to be calm once agian....lol...uummmm.....right?.....

Free To Be~
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"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
~John Holt 

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#7 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ARGH! He took a 30 minute nap this morning at 11:30. I hoped that would be early enough and short enough not to interfere with bedtime, but still get him through the afternoon with some semblance of sanity.

Well, he was still grumpy and miserable all afternoon, and then awake and crazy until 10:30.

I have to burn the midnight oil just to get a few minutes to myself.
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#8 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 01:32 AM
 
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Ladies, I hear ya!!!!! I was the one who posted about having a grumpy 4 year old. LOL, three was so full of crankiness!!! She actually has gotten better at 4, I guess we were going through a rough patch when I posted. Still, I've learned the hard way not to blow my top at her when she's being frustrating. We still have our moments, like the other day at a birthday party. She FLIPPED out when I told her it was time to go home (may have been a sugar crash from the cake) and I have now learned to just carry her outside or to a secluded room and let her freak out. Quite a feat, as she is tall and 40 pounds and I'm only 5 '1"! Anyway, there's light at the end of the tunnel! I think they realize at three how much they want to be independent yet they still can't do everything and it's too much for them to handle. Probably why they nurse so much (although I'm not an EB mom so I wouldn't know personally)! They still need their mammas to reassure them it's ok, I guess.

~Melissa
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#9 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 03:00 AM
 
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i really must show this thread to dh, as he has been implying for weeks that dd's behavior is a result of my own *issues*, and that she NEVER acts that way when she is just with him. grrrrr..she is 2.5, but sounds a lot like these 3 yos. and i feel a lot like the way you guys sound. lately, when i tell her i love her, i wonder, am i reminding her, or me? because it can be hard to stay in touch with that love when the 5th tantrum of the day begins at 7 am. and i am never, never "allowed" to be a passive audience, she will repeat herself about everything (louder and louder) untill my response is satisfyingly enthusiastic.
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#10 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 07:27 AM
 
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Oh, dear - this was me a few months ago LOL. If you look it up, it was about my 3.5 year old (she must have been a late bloomer, as she was OK at 3, but once she got to 3.5...oh, my goodness...).

We still have our moments (doesn't everyone?), but all in all, things are a lot better - this doesn't last, I promise!

I would suggest reading 'Liberated Parents, Liberated Children' - it is by the same authors as 'How To Talk So Your Children Will Listen...' (Faber and Mazlish). It has some great ideas about how to deal with your kids and help them express themselves more appropriately (even if it is a long learning process for them) - and how to give yourself permission to express your own anger/frustration in a way that isn't damaging to your children...

I think all mothers of 3 year olds need that!
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#11 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 07:27 AM
 
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as a former daycare worker, and a current ECE major, i can honestly say that the "terrible twos" are NOTHING compared to what a child is like at 3 years old! 2 years old is usually just where they start getting really curious about everything, but 3 is when they really start pushing the limits of their parents. i really feel for you, because 3 is the age i'm dreading more then any other with my future children. it's really a very very hard age to gently parent your way though, because the child is being SO difficult, what with testing their limits and all. i wish i could tell you a magic formula for making them be all sweet cuddles again and all, but all i can tell you is to persevere and soon they will be a nice 4 year old who KIND OF understands limits and LOVES cuddling again! and it just seems SOOOOOOOOOOO worth that bad year of 3 to me when i see all the love that parents get from their darling children.
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#12 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Carolyn -- I remember your post a few months ago! I was thinking of it actually, when I posted this. And at the time, I remember thinking --- oh, no! Not too much longer until we're there too.

So -- after being up until 10:30, he had a major tantrum at 5AM that lasted 45 minutes!!! Joy-joy-joy!
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#13 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 11:25 AM
 
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Your original post, Mamaduck, could have been written by me 1.5 years ago, except I wasn't nursing him.

Some thoughts:

1. The yelling every word thing: we came up with the phrase, "calm voice, nice words", and used it like a broken record. Of course, YOU have to use "calm voice, nice words" too for this to work! Whenever Ben would yell, or whine, whatever, we would say, "Calm voice, nice words, please". I'd try to hold him, kneel to his level, and say it in a soothing voice. It REALLY worked well for us. Even in the middle of a tantrum I would say it to him over and over and over. Even while carrying him out of the mall, kicking and screaming, wrapped around my back while 6 months pregnant, I would murmur it (sigh...). But it did, slowly, work.

2. The somersaults before bed/no nap/won't fall asleep thing. We discovered that all of this came from Ben not having enough sleep. He was only getting about 8 hours a day at one point, but we didn't realize it. He'd take a really short nap (like 30 minutes) and then not go to bed until 10:30pm or 11, but have to get up at 7am for preschool. Once we instituted a 7pm ritual (bath--even just splashing in the water--it made a big difference. Sadly, THAT went out the window when DS2 came along a few months later, but by then much of the sleep issues had been resolved.

3. The mommy only 24/7 stuff--is it an issue when you leave the house? Does your 3 year old fuss for 5 minutes and then settle down with DH? If so, maybe leaving for your peace of mind would help. For me, being in the house but inaccessible drives the kids nuts sometimes.

Good luck to you! You've been through this before so you know it's a phase. But it's so hard when you're going through it!
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#14 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 11:41 AM
 
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My 3 yr. was the sweetest most easy going child. Where has she gone? Why is she stomping her foot and jutting her chin in the air and STOMPING off shouting, "NO NO NO NO!!!" Why would my pleasant, calm, cooperative baby PUNCH me because I have to put her down to clean up the mess that she made THROWING her dinner at her sister because she was being so contrary to her sister that her sister stuck her tongue out at her!!!! And wasn't speghetti her favorite food last week? Now she throws it at her sister because she does not like it anyway. And she told me, "you are not my friend anymore" and informed me that I "cannot come to her birthday, EVER!!!" When did she learn to put her hands on her hips like that? And she put her tooth brush in the toilet because she did not want to brush...then peed on it...on purpose. I honestly only left the bathroom for 10 seconds. She wanted to brush her teeth!!! That's why we got out of bed after being just about asleep because, "mom, we forgot to brush my teeth!!! MOM MY TEETH!!!! MOMMMMMMMMMMY WE HAVE TO BRUSH MY TEETH!!!!! YOU SAID WE ALWAYS HAVE TO BRUSH!!!! So tooth brush loaded, I hear the kitchen sink dripping. I come back and the she is sitting on the toilet. Where is the your tooth brush honey? "um I'm not know? tee hee tee hee." Claire. where is your tooth brush?" She points down between her legs and laughs-I swear- like "bwaaahaaaahaaaa!!!" auck.....
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#15 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 07:21 PM
 
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Oh, Mamaduck - I feel for you - I really do. I remember looking at dh over dd1's head when she was in the middle of her difficult phase, crying and saying, 'I just don't know what to do' over and over again... (edited to clarify that it was ME crying, not dd1 - she was tantruming!)

And she'd long since given up her naps (so she and I were used to that!) and she was sleeping through the night, so I didnt' have to deal with lack of sleep on top of it all.

I did think of one thing about the naps...when dd2 gave up her naps, she'd occasionally be grumpy in the late afternoon. So I'd nurse her in the living room, with her sister playing right there. If dd2 was tired enough, she'd nod off.

But usually there was enough noise around that when I unlatched her 5-10 minutes later, she'd generally wake up. It was enough sleep to keep her going until bedtime, but not enough to screw up bedtime...would that be worth a try?
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#16 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 09:00 PM
 
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Oh, boy! I'm glad I found THIS thread! I've been trying to figure out how my normally sweet, loving ds can turn into a demon-child right before my very eyes! I am expecting in September and not as full of patience as I would like to be. Often his tantrum feeds one of mine! But, then I remember that I am the adult and ONE of us has to get it under control. These are exhausting days.

The thing that fries my cookies the most is the hitting. I've been wondering if it's that I'm hormonal and more sensitive to "threats" (not that hitting from a 3 year old is a realistic threat), but it just feels like it pushes a deep-rooted, primal button. My first instinct is to fire back and that is not the parent I want to be, so I grab his arms and put him on a chair/bed/floor and take a step back. Recently, I plunked him on the couch, locked our front door and then locked myself in the bathroom. That made him REALLY mad! He couldn't get outside and couldn't get into the bathroom. I know he felt abandoned a bit, so I try to use that time very quickly (within 3 minutes) to get myself under control so that can just hold him through whatever meltdown he's having.

I recently had a good suggestion given to me about hitting. A woman I know acts very surprised when her son hits her. She acts shocked and says "You aren't allowed to hit.", then turns away. No yelling, hitting back, angry words, etc. She says it really works because her son realizes that he crosses a boundary. I have yet to try it, though. My husband has been dealing with the hitting thing. I explained this to him last night and we haven't had a chance to try it, though I'm sure one will show up soon.

It's so encouraging to know that I'm not the only one going through this, that I am doing many "correct" things and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So, thank you to you all for sharing your experiences.

Best wishes to all.
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#17 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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wow, we are dealing with a lotof the same stuff. I think I will try the marshmallow weaning method!!! teehee My good friend says that by age 4 they are totally changed and really really want to please you, I can't wait for that!
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#18 of 39 Old 05-31-2003, 09:40 PM
 
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I don't have any advice but wanted to say that I was thrilled to see this thread because my almost-3-year-old does the same things and I was beginning to wonder where I went wrong!!! Now I can see that it IS normal (so I haven't been lying to myself LOL)
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#19 of 39 Old 06-01-2003, 12:13 AM
 
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No advice as I am not there yet. Dd is 23 months and I have to say after reading this I'm a little nervous. How much more tumultuous can she be? I haven't even gotten through "no" yet, she knows what I'm saying but keeps right on...

Sometimes I wonder if I should be more firm. I don't yell, we don't spank, tap or anything else physical, any explanations (which are given) seem to be lost on her...so what am I doing? Consistent removal and redirection, gently explaining things and much much babyproofing/securing the environment.

I hope to be where you all are soon, am I doing this right?

Jen
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#20 of 39 Old 06-01-2003, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jen -- so sorry to scare you! I am surprised to see how many responses, really! I thought this was mostly just a hard age for *me.* While I am relieved, I still think that we all have our own unique "buttons" and that maybe this age isn't hard for everyone! Maybe you'll breeze through.

If not -- I do remember that it does end eventually.
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#21 of 39 Old 06-01-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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The biggest problem for us is tantrums - the majority of Audra's tantrums are because SHE doesn't even know what she wants which makes it impossible for me to help her. An example - I will ask her if she wants to do something and she starts whining and crying saying she doesn't want to do it so I say fine, she doesn't have to and then she says she DOES want to do it and proceeds to have a tantrum no matter WHAT I do Does anyone have advice in this situation? This is our biggest problem with her - the only other problem we really have is she doesn't LISTEN i.e. we tell her to stop doing something REPEATEDLY and she KEEPS DOING IT!
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#22 of 39 Old 06-01-2003, 04:56 AM
 
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oh mama,.am I glad I found this thread!

My three year old, aside from what everyone else has said, has started doing this sneaky thing now...when his little brother (3 mos.) is sleeping he goes up to him and pretends he is trying to cuddle him, but REALLY he is trying to wake him up. It is so annoying because when I catch him doing it he runs away and does this little dance and -then does it again!

And the constant .mommeeeeeee, mooommmeeee. sometimes he even whispers it in my ear, a little tiny mooommmeee! AAAGGGHH! from the backseat of the car- moommmeee...Because, you know, I can only understand my name at *the most* annoying decibel possible.

Oh, and what is up with the weird food things. "I want raisins!" Ok, I'll get you some raisins...."Not that bowl, the green one!" Oookay..."Thaat's not enough raisins!" When you eat all of those raisins, you can have some more. ..Commence throwing the bowl of raisins across freshly vacuumed floor and throwing body down all the while screaming... you know...."mooommmeeee!!!!!"
I find that in these situations its best to stand my ground. Don't succumb to the dark side. Eventually I will hear, "i guess I could have some raisins..."
Sheesh, sometimes I wonder where I messed up so bad. I find that going back and looking at baby pictures helps me remember Why I ever decided to do this...

((hugs)) glad to know I'm not alone.
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#23 of 39 Old 06-01-2003, 10:16 AM
 
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No advise Shari M. Sorry, I't like looking in the mirror. I like what mamaya said, I try to stand firm. Which sometimes works sometimes not, but I feel like at least I have a plan....

Thanks you all you mamma's for this thread. I have laughed and teared up a bit. WOW. We are busy mamma's!!!!

Thank's mamaduck for giving me a safe place to say...AARRRGHHHH!!!!!!
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#24 of 39 Old 06-02-2003, 02:13 AM
 
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My dd will be 3 in 3 mths and I these posts are so amazingly close to my dd, it is eery! I was really feeling like my dd just is a negative person and will maybe never fit in and that I have brought this on, partly anyway, for losing it with her a lot lately. When she hit 2 and started the "terrible 2's", I kept saying to myself "just another year, just another year..." and then about a month or 2 ago, it seemed like everything was getting better... until now! This absolutely sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She screams and throws tantrums (always has, but more so now), she is SO into negative emotions- her eyes light up when she plays pretend with her doll where she eats all the dolls food and the doll cries. She snatches toys from other kids, she nurses all day long, and half of the night. She asks me 5 million questions over every little, tiny thing. Sure it is great that she wants to knwo so much, but damn if I don't go crazy explaining my every movement. If I say "look at the pretty pink clouds", she says "Why are they pink?" "How did they get there?" "Who put them there?" "Why?" "Who is God?" "Why can't I touch them"..... on and on and on.... Aaaaagggghhhhhh!!!!!!
SHe is so pessimistic and she keeps pushing and pushing. And I am so with you ladies on the nap/bedtime issues. I try desperately to time her nap (or keep her up) so that she goes to bed no later than 9:30, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.
I love her dearly, but I just can't wait to get away from her! And I hate that! She is so clever and just darling, but driving me up the wall!
Thank you so much for this thread, none of my friends have kids quite like mine (most are younger though), and I was really thinking this would last forever. I am praying it won't!
Sara
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#25 of 39 Old 06-02-2003, 04:12 AM
 
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Yep, every mom that I know with a 4 or 5 year old has been patiently commiserating with me and saying things like, "3 and a half is hell" and "3 and a half sucks!" but that "4 is actually fun!" Let's hope it's true! Things do seem to be mellowing out as we come into the home stretch on our way to the 4th birthday, but all of this sounds soooo familiar.

I think they get really caught and frustrated between the uncontrollable desire for independence and the desperate clinging to babyhood ~ and so do we as mothers. My daughter bursts into intense, sad tears when I start singing any of her old "baby" lullabyes as she is drifting off to sleep. Which is sweet and strange, especially since we are still nursing and cosleeping, it's not like there has been any big changes in the bedtime routine, or that another baby has come along to take her place, but deep in her heart I think she knows that she is leaving babyhood, and in those tender moments she grieves.
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#26 of 39 Old 06-02-2003, 04:29 AM
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I think 2/ 3 year olds get easily frustrated and don't understand why things are a certain way. They are loud and annoying because it's the best way they come up to communicate. And it usually makes an impression...

Also they get bored so easily! We should help them have more fun! That's what we do around here! Get some games you can play together!
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#27 of 39 Old 06-02-2003, 02:31 PM
 
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Oh boy oh boy...I feel like all of you are reading my mind. Nanner....I can especially relate to you. When my dd isn't snatching toys from her sister or stripping all of her clothes off and screaming at the top of her lungs, she is asking me 8 gazillion questions about every tiny nuance of every tiny thing I say or do. AAGHHHHH. I try and try to be patient but I just want to yell!!! I don't know!! I don't know why Pete's(our neighbor) car is in the driveway. I don't know why that bird flew into the grass. I don't know why that spoon just dropped on the floor....you get the point.
It's just comforting to know I am not alone.
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#28 of 39 Old 06-03-2003, 09:08 PM
 
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Just to share..

The kids know it's hard too.. I have a 4 yr old (5 in Aug) and a 3 yr old.. One day Z was particularly crabby.. I said poor boy.. It's soo hard to be 3.. He just sort of whimpered and put his head on my chest.. My older son came over, and patted his arm gently, and said.. Don't worry Z... 4 is MUCH easier... ( i about fell on the floor laughing...


So just remember mom's... According to my kid.. 4 is much easier...

Warm squishy Feelings....

Dyan

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#29 of 39 Old 06-04-2003, 01:18 AM
 
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That is SOOO sweet!!! Wish I'd had that advice, myself, many months ago!!!: I shall pass that on to my fellow Mommies-of-Three-Year-Olds.

~Melissa
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#30 of 39 Old 06-04-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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That is totally sweet! I love it when kids try to comfort each other.
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