Maybe Threenagers Aren’t the Ones Who Need an Attitude Change


threenagersMy three-year-old recently had a bike-a-thon at her preschool. She was SO excited leading up to the day, even practicing multiple times each week and politely asking for donations from her grandparents.

The morning of the event was so exciting; she literally could not contain her excitement. Then, as I dropped her off with a kiss and said I would see her in twenty minutes for the big event, she started to cling. This is not her usual behavior, so I thought she just needed an extra few minutes. After that time had passed, she was no closer to letting go of me, so I did what every preschool parent does… bolted and left her for the teachers.

When they emerged from the classroom for the bike-a-thon, she was still visibly upset, and upon seeing me, it just got worse.  

They were taking a class photo, and she was going to miss it!  I tried bribing, cajoling, reminding her of her enthusiasm, threatening to take her home, basically anything I could think of.  

She missed the class photo.

I started pushing her harder to join her friends.

Next, everyone lined up to roll out to the course and they were taking more individual photos. One smiling kid after another, and then there was mine. Tears rolling down her face, and she wouldn’t even get near her scooter. I was having major FOMO; she missed all the photos! She wouldn’t be in the yearbook for bike-a-thon!

The rest of the event was not much better, including the popsicle treat.  Then she went back to her classroom, calmed down and told me she would see me at pick up. Just like that, it was over.

When I picked her up and asked how her day was, I was baffled by her response. “It was great, Mommy. I had so much fun at the bike-a-thon, and I did four laps!”


A few days later, she told me she was sorry she got upset, but she had just needed a little extra Mommy Time.  It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t her problem that day. It was mine. I am so disappointed in my reaction, my need to be part of the crowd; I missed what she really needed – me.

It would have been nice to have a smiling toddler picture in a goofy bike helmet, but, in the end, she would have been most happy in my arms cheering on her friends.  

The threenage years have been rough in our house, after a relatively easy going first few years.  Slowly, but surely, I’m realizing it’s just as important for me to slow down, think about my words, and treat my threenager how I’d want to be treated.  



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