The Threenager Phase – Who knew?


Me to my three-year-old daughter: One second, Daddy needs to get one thing and then we can go.

My daughter: Damn it, he always takes so long (with an eye roll).

I’m sorry – what?!

Not only did she just say “damn it,” but she used it correctly. Secretly, I laughed because I knew it was only a matter of time before she said something like that and honestly I was happy it was a mild a curse word, but, at the same time, seriously? 

Everyone always talks about the Terrible Twos – watch out when your little turns two, everything will change. I was ready for it, watching for it, but two came and went with no real Terrible Two phase. My husband and I high fived each other because our child was proving to be the angel we thought she was (first-time parent syndrome) and moved on. Well, what no one tells you is that three is a game changer. This is when the tantrums, mood swings (high highs and low lows), “why” questions, and mimicking the good and the bad (watch out, threenagers are like sponges) all really kick in. I constantly find myself with a pair of eyes and ears on me, hence the “damn it” with an eye roll – whoops.

I thought it was only me. Did I do something as a mom? Why was three so much harder than two? Boom, threenager phase. It is the phase I did not hear much about until I was in the thick of it and then other moms would say, “Ohhhhh, three was harder for me than two.” No one warned me – I was not prepared.

My daughter turning three had some amazing milestones. She began having more opinions, working on her emotions while gaining a voice that helped her express her feelings, likes, and dislikes. And on the other hand, my daughter began having more opinions, working on her emotions while gaining a voice that helped her express her feelings, likes, and dislikes.

The once simple task of getting dressed could turn into a meltdown because why does she have to wear pants when it is 50 degrees outside or she did not really want the scrambled eggs she just asked for and the plethora of “why” questions really began rolling in. 

Three is the year so many developmental changes occur. Many times, my sweet adorable toddler morphed into a puddle-of-emotions-threenager because she sometimes cannot fully express what she is feeling and other times truly just wants to push the limits and all my patience. 

As my daughter is about to turn four, I think back over the last year. Yes, we have had some trying days, but she has grown up so much from three to four. Some of the things she says I have to do a double take – they are witty, intelligent, and thoughtful. Other times, my child has spent time in her chair in her room taking a second to regroup (aka having a time out).

To all the moms out there, the threenager phase is real and can be hard. Do not be fooled if your child comes out of the Terrible Twos unscathed. Take some deep breathes when need be, have wine on hand, and, at the end of the day, try to enjoy watching your child really grow up this year. It is pretty awesome.


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