Caring for vs. Catering to My 'Threenager'


We are currently living with a threenager.

A threenager, if you were wondering, is a 3-year-old with the drama and attitude of a teenager. Like this, for example.

There are temper tantrums, very opinionated opinions and whining. So much whining. Somebody stop the madness.

To be honest, I’m finding it difficult at this stage to find the balance between caring for Brenna without catering to her.

She’s a smart cookie, and she’s learned quickly that she gets some specialized attention.

She knows that many times, bigger kids (which tends to be most kids) often accidentally hurt her, so if there is any contact at all with another child, she’ll cry foul – even at the slightest bump. One time, I even caught her simply anticipating a bump from Connor as he bounced around on the couch, and she cried out “OW!” before he even touched her.

The most frequent “buts” that come out of her mouth play off her physical limitations: 1. “But it’s HARD.” and 2. “But it’s HEAVY.” And it can be difficult to decipher what is actually too hard and too heavy, and what she is merely trying to get out of doing.

The girl likes to be coddled. And with needing to give her extra food and drink, frequently cover her with a blanket when she is too cold, put ointment or medicine on her skin, and any other care, she is has become S.P.O.I.L.E.D.

She cries if I pick the wrong outfit. And then she cries later saying she is hurt. Is she actually hurt, or is she being as dramatic as she was when I chose a pink shirt over a striped shirt? Your guess is as good as mine.

Clothing choices are not to be taken lightly…

We’re battling, this threenager and I. And spring break this week really didn’t help. That’s a whole lot of togetherness with someone whose automatic response to you trying to leave the room is “I wanna come with!” And whose automatic response to anything she doesn’t like is dramatic wailing – from the wrong pair of shoes to a dinner that doesn’t include summer sausage.

I’ve been in quite the rut lately, and I blame the lack of sleep and the constant whining. I apologized to Connor the other day for my frustrated behavior, and he asked, “Why?” Well, I told him, sometimes being a mommy is hard.

“Because of taking care of Brenna… when she is crying?”

Nailed it.

Please, someone, tell me this stage doesn’t last long. Anyone??

This post originally appeared on Blessed By Brenna.

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