Hug your child when you feel *least* like hugging him -- when you're angry, furious, frustrated, feel violent. Hug him, breathe, close your eyes, and meditate on some timeless moment (for me, the first time I held her after she was born). I am not always able to follow my own advice, but when I do, I find it's magic. Not only does it help me to calm myself down (and calmness is contagious), but it also reestablishes connection between me and my dd. IME, this age range is all about connection: children this age are experimenting with what disconnecting from you feels like, and it's our job as mamas to keep "collecting" our kids and re-opening a strong connection.
It's not a discipline book, per se, but I a book I've read this year that has helped me enormously is Hold On to Your Kids
. One of the things that makes this age difficult is that we're moving beyond a lot of the AP stuff that applies to babies, e.g., babywearing, BF, co-sleeping -- not that many families aren't still doing these things at 3, but these modes of attachment alone no longer fulfill a 3yo's need for connection. We have to find new ways to help the connection, the attachment, evolve and stay strong. Hold On to Your Kids is all about what "attachment" means, beyond the baby years.
Also? Babysitters, grandmas, maybe nursery school. It has been a relief to both my dd and me to escape the intensity of our relationship for a few hours here and there. She had a 13yo friend/babysitter (who has, alas, moved away
) whom she absolutely adored, and we've done a few mornings a week of nursery school this year, too. It has been tremendously helpful to us during this difficult phase to cultivate other strong relationships for my dd with adults other than us, her parents. She has really thrived from spending some time with these other important people in her life.
I know the "This too shall pass" mantra works for a lot of people, and I won't disparage it. But to me that feels like trying to escape the present, rather than embracing it. It's bee more helpful to me this year to try (try!!) to be grateful for the present moment, no matter how difficult. IME, the more difficult things are, the more opportunities I have to learn and grow.
Wishing all the best to all the other mamas of threes!