November 7, 2011

Tyrannical Threes

Before I had kids, and even while Audia was a baby, I had heard plenty about the "Terrible Twos." Enough so that I braced myself for all hell to break loose and prepared for the worst. Maybe it's because I was expecting the worst that the "Terrible Twos" didn't really seem that bad. Sure, we had our days of testing and we had quite a few nights of refusal to go to sleep or stay asleep, but overall the twos just did not seem that terrible. And maybe because of that, because I was over-prepared for the twos to be terrible and they weren't, or maybe because I had heard the threes referred to as the "Terrific Threes," or maybe because our daughter has never done (and probably will never do) things 'by the book', or maybe a combination of all of these things, the "terrific threes" are simply not. They are, instead, the "Tyrannical Threes." This isn't to say that Audia is a tyrant all the time. Nor is it to say that she's a tyrant at heart. She's not. She is truly a sweet, loving, hilarious, engaging, and lovable little girl. However, she is also very smart. A little too smart. And, as I've said from day one, she is also very strong-willed. And increasingly independent. And extremely curious. When you combine these things with the typical ego-centricism of any 3-year old, you essentially get a mini tyrant or dictator. She truly believes that she should have a say in whatever goes on in our household as well as in what anyone around her should happen to be doing at the time. And obviously, this cannot be the case, nor do I let it be the case. This, of course, is met with fierce opposition by the mini tyrant. I see flashes of her teenage years and am admittedly terrified. I've read my share of parenting advice both via books and the web, (and continue to do so....any recommendations? I'm all ears!) and of course testing at this age (and really, at any age between 6 months and 5 years) is typical. The problem is that our strong-willed daughter doesn't just test things a dozen times. She tests things hundreds of times, waiting for just one slip-up by one person. And then she starts testing it all over again. I try so hard not to get mad about repeating myself for the fiftieth time because I know that really she is just trying to figure out how things work. Even her teacher mentioned that while most kids her age just ask "why?" Audia has very specific and detailed questions. Which is wonderful. I love that she is so interested and curious and inquizitive. But it is also exhausting. All I can do is hope for "Fantastic" rather than "Fearsome" Fours......